By Ely Schosek
After two busy days in London, the group of Springville-Griffith Institute students and chaperones packed up their belongings early to get to St. Pancras International train station to catch their Eurostar train to Gare du Nord station in Paris.
Before the train departed, the group was given a chance to purchase lunch items to eat aboard the train during the nearly three-hour ride to Paris. Adam took an interested group of students and parents across the street to the adjacent train station known as King’s Cross where Harry Potter was filmed, specifically known for “platform 9 ¾.”
The train took the Chunnel, which is a tunnel that goes underneath the English Channel, but that was only about 30 mins of it. The rest of the time gave the group a chance to see some of the English and French countrysides.
Upon their arrival in Paris, the group was given some free time and a chance to explore the Latin Quarter after dropping their bags off in their hotel rooms. The Latin Quarter is a tremendous example of the cultural diversity that can be seen in Paris and other cities like it.
This was pretty much the majority of their afternoon leading up to dinner at Drink Doctor Restaurant. For dinner, the group had beef bourguignon which is similar to a beef stew with white rice and vegetables and a dessert of chocolate cake but this cake was richer than that from the previous night in London.
Walking through the different parts of the various cities gave the group an excellent chance to see the architecture. Some of the tour guides referenced the buildings built in the 19th and 20th centuries to be “new,” while buildings of that age in the U.S. are seen as more historic.
As they walked along the Seine River and around the city of Paris, the group saw some of Paris’s most famous monuments such as the Notre Dame Cathedral on the Île de la Cité and the Île Saint-Louis.
A few people even ventured to the Île Saint-Louis to try the berthillon, unique ice cream only made there. Most of the island is a rich residential area but the berthillon makes for a special treat. Berthillon is pretty much a cross between ice cream and gelato with many different flavors to choose from.
Other significant stops in Paris included Place de la Concorde, one of the major public squares in France; L’Opéra, the opera house made famous in part by “The Phantom of the Opera”; the Panthéon; Luxembourg Gardens and Les Invalides. Their guide, Janice, who also happened to be the head of all the Parisian tour guides, knew just about everything you could want to know about any of these places.
Of course, the group had to see the Eiffel Tower. They had a chance to take pictures from the Trocadéro, the name for the area across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower. They would have numerous more chances to take pictures of and with the tower over the next few days.
Later that day, the group would take a riverboat cruise down the Seine River and see the tower light up along with a multitude of other famous Parisian monuments.
Janice took the group through the Palace of Versailles, a castle built by Louis XIV, the Sun King.
After their visit to Versailles, they took a bus back into central Paris and got a chance to visit the Fragonard Musée du Parfum which translates to a perfume museum. They learned about the different types of perfume and how it is made along with the history before they got a chance to test out the products and possibly purchase some.
Following their visit to Fragonard’s, they had some free time to explore the Galeries Lafayette, an upmarket French department store chain.
A dinner of savory and sweet Flammekueche at Flam’s was served one of the three nights in Paris; another dinner featured une galette complète with ham, egg and cheese followed by un crèpe with chocolate.
The next day, the group visited La Basilique du Sacré Cœur de Montmartre, also known as the Church of the Sacred Heart. They spent the morning exploring the area of Montmartre and the afternoon walking through the Louvre Museum.
During their time in Paris, the group had the chance to get some unique views from above the city, including from atop the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower.
They also had a chance to walk the Champs Élysées, one of Paris’s main streets, where the Arc de Triomphe is located and full of many high-end stores.
During their few days in Paris, the group was able to see all the things you think of when you hear “Paris” but they also got a chance to explore and visit some of the lesser-known pieces of French history.