Well, here we are. I’m lying in bed in my little Parisian apartment for the last time. It’s so strange how something that was once so surreal is now something so familiar that leaving seems impossible. I can’t possibly fully express my gratitude to everyone that has helped make this opportunity possible for me.
Today was my last day in Paris. This past week in particular was the nicest way to end this most exciting adventure! On Tuesday, I finally made it to Versailles and got to stroll around the breathtaking gardens and château of Louis XIV. This is a perfect day trip – or even after-school trip – on a warm, sunny day, and let me tell you why: Sunbathing is relaxing in and of itself. But, when you put sunbathing against the backdrop of an endless labyrinth of ivy and ponds centerpieced with gold-plated fountains, it’s a bit better than usual. Plus, when you’re ready for a break from the sun, you can take a walk through the immense home of Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette to really see how lavishly they lived! The Hall of Mirrors – or what I’d rather call the Hall of Chandeliers – is a must-see.
After finals this afternoon, everyone in the IES Abroad Paris program gathered together for dinner at the Restaurant Pharamond. This restaurant is especially unique because it showcases authentic Belle Époque architecture complete with skinny, twisting staircases, bizarrely shaped chandeliers and the original wallpaper! Not to mention, the food is deliciously and authentically French.
After dinner, my roommate and I moseyed over to Montmartre – my favorite quartier in the city – for one last time. There truly is nothing like viewing the city from the Sacré-Cœur basilica just as the sun is going down. The way the city’s lights and the ethereally lit Tour Eiffel complement the azure blue-colored sky in the evening is sure to leave you speechless.
Finally, to end our last night in Paris, my roommate and I made the trek from Montmartre over to the Tour Eiffel. “This is our thing, you know?” she said. “It has to be the last thing we see before we go.” And she was absolutely right! We climbed the Tour Eiffel to the second story and remained there, gazing at the panoramic view of the city until well after midnight. Although the view from the Tour Eiffel is stunning, I definitely prefer my view to include the beautiful structure. Paris has uncountable things that contribute to its beauty and ethereality, but for me, the Tour Eiffel will always be Number One.
After munching on Nutella crepes, we headed back to our apartment to finish packing. It’s now 2:07 in the morning and I can’t seem to be able to sleep, even though we need to be up and on our way to the airport in four hours to catch our extremely early flight. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to find the perfect way to express my love for this city with words, so I’ll put it simply:
Thank you, Paris. Thank you for teaching me more than I ever thought possible in just a span of six weeks. Thank you for providing me with more baguettes, cheese and chocolate than I ever could have asked for. Thank you for letting me practice your wonderful language and better learn to communicate with your people. Thank you for letting me live here to experience the most authentic version of you during such a unique summer. Lastly, without sounding too sappy, thanks for letting me love you, Paris. And thanks for loving me back.
Until I see you again, Paris: Au revoir! I’ll miss you more than words can say.
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<p>Hi, there! My name is Sophia Raymond and I'm studying Public Relations and Marketing and Indiana University. Curiosity may be what killed the cat, but it's what fuels me! I'm a writer, designer, and visual arts creator, and I'm an absolute nerd for 20th century history (currently binge-watching CNN's Decade series). Usually, you can find me rock climbing, painting, or snuggling with my adorable Irish-doodle Sookie, but this summer I'll be studying abroad in Paris to further my French fluency and explore Europe! Life is a beautiful thing, and I plan on making the most of it.</p>