My third trip while I am here was to Paris. I left Thursday morning (24/3) from Swansea headed toward London. On our way to London, our train was delayed by about 30 minutes because there had been a fatality on the tracks ahead of us and all of the trains to London Paddington (a major train station in London) had been stopped. When we finally arrived in London Paddington, we had to hurry through the train station and hop on the Underground to St. Pancras International (the international rail station in London). They were announcing the last call for Paris as we were arriving at the gate. We were going to St. Pancras because we took the Eurostar train to Paris. It took a little over 2 hours to get there. Which is actually faster than Swansea to London, which takes about 3. The Eurostar was very cool and went super fast. I think it gets up to a top speed of about 186 mph. This is the train that goes underneath the English Channel and into France.
Our total journey took around 5 1/2 hours. We had to set our clocks forward because France is a hour ahead of the UK. The first night we were there we walked around the area by our hotel and ate. The next day was probably my favorite. We woke up in the morning and went to Versailles. This is a huge palace with lots of
grounds to go with it. It is very ornate. Because I like French revolutionary and imperial history, this was particularly wonderful for me. The palace is over the top with decorations, pa
intings, statues, pools, and gardens. You haven't seen a real palace until you have seen Versailles. We ate lunch on the steps leading out into the main grounds. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. Our next stop that day was the Eiffel Tower. We walked around the base taking pictures and eating our French desserts. After this, we went to the Musee de l'Armee and the Tomb of Napoleon. The tomb is very extravagant. It was great to be there. To end the day, we ate lunch at a French restaurant and sat by the Eiffel Tower at night to see if light up.
Saturday we went to the Louvre (pronounced 'Loov'). This was great! I saw the Mona Lisa, Liberty Leading the People, Hammurabi's Code and much more. This museum was huge. We got lost a couple of times in there. Someone could spend days in the museum. Of course, we got to see the glass pyramid on top of the Louvre! It reminded me of the Da Vinci Code. We got to
spend 3 and a half hours in here, which was not nearly enough, but we had other things to see that day. Next, we went to the Arc de Triomphe (pronounced 'tree-umph'). We got to go to the top of this. The view was absolutely great. Around it is the famous roundabout that you have seen in movies before. It is a colossal figure. After this we went on down to Notre Dame. The architecture of this cathedral was truly amazing. It was also very ornate. We ate dinner in the Latin Quarter that night. After dinner, a couple of us went to go find the Moulin Rouge. It wasn't terribly far from our hotel so it wasn't a bad walk. We also went to Sacre Coeur.
The last day we were there we went back the Eiffel Tower. But this time we actually went up into it. We took stairs (very exhausting) to the first level. The view from here was great. Many restaurants are on this level and there are signs that give a lot of info about how the tower was built and what it has inspired. From here we went to the second level. We took stairs this time too. You have the option to go to the top, but there was a huge line and there is only one elevator, so we started back down. We ate our last meal in Paris at a great French restaurant at which I had a chocolate mousse that was so delicious! We then hoped on the train back to London and got back into Swansea about 11 at night our time.
An interesting tidbit: the time change actually didn't occur over here when the US changed their clocks forward. It happened the weekend we were in Paris, so Sunday morning we had to move our clocks forward again and then move them back a hour when we got back into the UK.