The second I got off of the train in Paris I could tell that we weren’t in England anymore. Sure Paris and London are international cities, just like NYC or any other big American city, which means that there are certain universal similarities between them which may not reflect the culture of the country they are in. And I admit that I spent only one full day in Paris, and have seen no more of France than what I saw during that day. However, there is a distinctly different vibe in Paris than what I experienced in any of the other places to which my travels brought me. Ireland was different but still very relatable to England, and Copenhagen was also distinctly different from England but in a way that felt somehow more familiar and quaint than Paris.
With our hundreds of pounds of luggage in tow, we were greeted at the train station by a whole line of soliciting taxi drivers who somehow knew that we spoke English. This whole scene became more intimidating when a train station employee walked up to us and gave us a very earnest warning to avoid them and take a different set of taxis, and then again when the man at the currency exchange counter told be to “be careful” worriedly as I walked away. The pervasiveness of pickpocket warning signs throughout the city and maybe even the language barrier helped to maintain this vibe to some extent for the next couple of days. It’s not a bad vibe just very different. Either way, Paris is amazing. We did as much as we could of it in one day. We got a map from the hostel lobby, circled the places that sounded important, decided the best route between them, and started heading in that general direction. We walked because we wanted to see the city and out of a general lack of money and desire to figure out another public transportation system. And our plan panned out pretty well except for—needless to say we walked at least 11 miles that day (I did the math).
In order, we hit the Louvre, the Champs Elysées, the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Bastille Monument. We then trekked back North to meet our good friends (and fellow study abroaders) who had booked an Airbnb for the week and played cards before heading out for one last bar trip together. Overall it was an amazing end to an amazing travel week which was an amazing end to an amazing study abroad experience. If that makes sense. I am so grateful for the opportunity to explore and do so many unbelievable things.
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<p><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);">Samantha Loria is a junior Molecular Genetics/History double major at the University of Rochester in Western New York. She is an Irish Dancer, loves music and learning from all kinds of people and is going on the adventure of her life at Oxford University! She plans on soaking up all the culture, knowledge, and nature that she can handle and here, in this blog, she will seek to pass along all of the wisdom that she encounters, the emotions that she feels, and the incredible sights that she sees on this great journey. Come, explore, and learn!</span></p>