It is my last day in Paris and France has been an absolutely overwhelming experience. For the first time in my life, I was able to go on a high-speed train from London to Paris. Our entire group visited group visited the Eiffel Tower on our first night. We began by walking along the Seine and making our way towards the park next to the Eiffel Tower. Here, our program director found us a good spot to take pictures and we spent a LONG time taking the perfect photos. Next, we made our way to the top of the Eiffel Tower and were able to see the most breathtaking bird’s eye view of Paris. I want to take a moment to thank our program director, Dr. Merrick, who woke up at 2 AM months before our trip to ensure our group was able to visit the top of the Eiffel tower.
Additionally, we visited the Conciergerie, which has been a royal residence and a prison since it’s establishment in the 6th century by King Clovis. In the 13th century when the Sainte-Chapelle church was built, Saint Louis initiated major renovation of the Conciergerie. In the 14th century, Charles V converted part of the palace into prison cells. During the French Revolution, this site became a major place to hold prisoners with its most famous prisoner being Marie-Antoinette.
I noticed major cultural differences between London, Paris and the United States, especially when visiting restaurants. For instance, when we visit restaurants in the U.S. and split checks, every individual pays for their own meal. In contrast, restaurant bills in London and Paris are split evenly among the group. Additionally, there were a lot less vegetarian and vegan friendly restaurants in Paris than in London and the United States.