Winding Down

Caitlin Hartley
July 9, 2013

This is it. I only have less than three days left in the most magical city I have ever encountered. I am sad to leave. However, at the same time, I miss my family and friends a lot. I think, for me, with this being my first time out of the country and traveling by myself, that six weeks was the perfect amount of time. I was given enough time to fall in love with this spectacular city, and not enough time for me to get too homesick.

Paris, for me, has been incredible. Just these past few weeks have been filled with so much more adventure than I think I have ever experienced in America. I returned to Versailles because just once wasn’t enough. I took a weekend trip to Normandy and fell in love. I climbed up Sacre-Couer. I visited Victor Hugo’s House. I had a picnic next to the Eiffel Tower as the sun went down. I could keep talking about all the things that I have been doing, but I think you get the point. I am so lucky to say that I was able to even get the opportunity to do all those things. Not only am I having the best time of my life, but I am learning. I’ve learned so much about French history and the culture. I have learned so much about Paris and the beauty behind it. It’s wonderful.

I will admit that during my first week here in Paris, I was beginning to regret my decision of taking the trip. I was missing home and it was the first time I had ever been alone. Everyone was speaking in a different language, and it was too fast for me to try and understand. I think I became panicked. I doubted my abilities and I doubted this city that I thought I would love. However, if I have learned one thing from being here it’s that Paris is the best city in the world to be in when you’re sad. Why? Because all I have to do is walk outside, and see the Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triomphe or just a regular old building, and I’m amazed by it’s beauty and it’s history, and what do you know, I’m happy again. I remember why I decided to take this trip. It’s that simple.

Now I don’t know if I will ever live here. The people, I admit, are not as warm as the the people back in the states. However, there is no city comparable to Paris. Last Friday, I walked up La Tour Saint Jacques. It is currently all that remains of a church that was around during the 16th Century. It was closed for ten years for renovations and this Friday was the very first time it has been opened to the public! I cannot believe I was able to experience it, but I am so grateful I did. I walked up all the steps. The tower is precisely in the middle of the city, so when we finally reached the top, and I began looking around me, I began to tear up. I don’t mean to be corny or sappy, but it was beautiful. Everywhere I turned I took in more and more, and knew there was nothing else in the world quite like this. One thing I love about Paris is the absence of sky-scrapers. Not many cities as large as Paris has a comparable view because usually cities are full of tall buildings, and sometimes skylines like that are considered beautiful, which I wouldn’t argue against. However, in my opinion, when I’m looking out over the city, and I can point out the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Les Invalides…etc. I appreciate nothing standing in my way of this gorgeous view. I love how most of the buildings are the same height. I love the large streets and pointing out historical Paris monuments. Where else can you do that?

I will end with a picture of my view after climbing up the dome in Sacre-Couer. How can you not fall in love with this?

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Caitlin Hartley

<div><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Caitlin, and I&#39;m 20 years old, but I will turn 21 this June (when I&#39;ll be in Paris)! I&#39;m super stoked about my trip this summer. I&#39;m a journalism major at the University of Florida and I&#39;m attaining my minor in French Language. I am hoping this trip will really advance my growth in the speaking aspect of the language. I love love love sports. I grew up going to football games with my family. Go Gators! This will be my first trip out of the U.S., but I&#39;ve never been so excited for something in my entire life. I love writing and eating, and I know this will be a great opportunity for me. I hope you will enjoy my blog!</span></div>

2013 Summer 1, 2013 Summer 2
Home University:
University of Florida
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