Paris is full of mesmerizing and enticing wonders and it is difficult to choose what my favorite places and foods were during my stay here in this beautiful city. Some of these things are not available back in Hawaii so it’s something that I will miss a lot. It was definitely a great experience and it is something that I will look forward to in the future if I ever decide to come back to this beautiful city. So here are some of the many favorite things from France.
The one place that I would go to for a quick snack or a cheap breakfast meal is a Boulangerie. These bakeries are literally on every street and they sell such a variety of pastries and bread; some that aren’t even sold in Hawaii. A pastry that I have come to love and would always order is the pain au chocolat. It is pretty much a croissant filled with chocolate. They are sold in many sizes depending on the boulangerie that you go to but all the same it is delicious. Because I loved it so much I bought myself a pack at the local Monoprix to eat in my dorm. I even brought a pack home to Hawaii to share with family (but mostly for myself).
This was my go-to snack when I got really hungry in class. During breaks, I would go to the vending machine and get this all the time. The pack comes in two and it’s a chocolate wafer filled with hazelnut. What’s even great is that while walking around the little shops, my friend and I found a huge candy store and I found that they were selling packs of these kinder Bueno. I ended up buying three packs of nine to bring home. These are really addicting.
Everyone knows what a baugtte is and honestly it was pretty much what I ate during my stay in Paris. I haven’t really tried baguettes from bolangeries or other shops but I have tried to the ones that were sold during lunch at my school and they were delicious. There are different types such as ham and cheese, curry, and bologna and pickles. These things were really big and filling and were at a cheap price. Baugettes are very popular. Almost everywhere I go, I would see someone carrying two to three baguettes with them. I can see why though because you can fill it up with almost anything.
Château de Versailles
It wasn’t just food that I’ve come to enjoy but there are many places that I have visited that I’ve come to love. Aside from the typical well known tourist spots such as the Eiffel Tower or the Lourve, there are so much more places to see. For me one of my favorite places that I’ve visited was the Château de Versailles. This place is about 30 minutes away by train and is such an amazing sight to see. This estate used to belong to King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and it is HUGE. Compared to the ‘Iolani Palace, the Palace of Versailles is probably 10 bigger, not including the acres of gardens and fountains around the palace. They even offer golf carts and bike rentals for visitors because the walk around the whole estate can be quite tiring. At one point, my friend and I rented bikes and pedaled all the way to the other side of the estate near Mary Antoinette’s estate. The gardens are marvelous. It was an adventure getting through some of them because it was like the maze in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Also, what I thought was really amazing was the classical music that played throughout the gardens. It gave such a relaxing, enchanting vibe. This place is definitely worth going to and I would definitely go again.
Notre Dame Cathedral
Another place that I think is worth going to is the Notre Dame Cathedral. Yes, it’s just like the cathedral from the movie Hunchback of Notre Dame (that’s the first thing I thought of when I saw it). I think this is one of the most beautiful cathedrals I’ve ever seen. The architecture is truly amazing. Though the line to get is may be intimidating because of how long it gets, it’s still worth it because it’s free and the lines go by really fast so you would only be standing in line for a couple of minutes. Once you go inside it’s so mysterious and very gothic looking. There are many sculptures and paintings throughout the cathedral and you are able to light up candles to pay respects.
Probably not a place a lot of people would like to visit but I thought this place was by far amazing. The line for this was ridiculously long but luckily my school was able to book a tour prior so we were all able to go get in quite fast. The Catacombs was quite a sight to see. I didn’t realize how deep underground we had to go but it was quite a walk. We descended almost 20 feet underground and a few more after to get to the remains. We learned a lot throughout the tour. We learned that over six billion Parisians from around the 17-18th century was buried there because there wasn’t enough space in the graves above ground. What I found interesting was the fact that there are more Parisian remains that the population of Hawaii.
Though there are many more things that I enjoyed on my trip, these are the few that I really enjoyed and recommend to those who are planning to study abroad in Paris, France. There are so much more things to do and explore in this beautiful city and I loved every second of it. It was fun experiencing new things and exploring so many historical places. It’s something I will definitely do again.
- Allysha Mae Martinez, Summer Study Abroad ESCE