One of my favorite weekend trips so far was to Paris with my roommate from the U.S., Reece! I flew in Friday afternoon and had the best weekend. I’ve spoken on here before about how traveling and seeing my friends from home has been a highlight of my abroad experience and this weekend was no different. We had a weekend full of girl time and giggles and here are three tips and tricks if you ever find yourself in Paris:
- Students and residents of the European Union get free access to most of the museums and galleries in Paris. We went to three different museums during our time in Paris, the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, and Musee de L’Orangerie. The best part is that we didn’t have to pay to access any of them. I didn’t know about this trick until one of my classmates told me right before I left. All we had to do was bring a form of identification and something to prove we were living/ studying in Europe. Reece brought her Danish ID and I brought my university student ID plus my residency papers that Siena gave me when I first arrived. Most of the time this was also a major time saver because we didn’t have to wait in line anywhere to buy a ticket. All we did was go through security, a bit of waiting in line but not too bad at all, and then head straight for the area where you normally would get your ticket scanned. Simply tell the person there that you are a student in the European Union, show them your identification, and walk on through. Without this, we wouldn’t have been able to go to all of the museums that we did. It worked out perfectly because it was a pretty rainy weekend, the perfect time to hit all of the museums and galleries that we could!
- There are many places and lookouts with good views of the Eiffel Tower, but we found the best spot was if you go through security as if you were going to the top of the tower. Inside that area is a park, much less crowded and with a lower chance of pickpockets/ people selling trinkets. We walked around the park area and found a bench with the best view of the entire tower. There was virtually nobody around us, especially compared to just outside the gates of this area where you are constantly being sold souvenirs. We set up camp and waited for the first sparkle of the night which happens just about ten minutes after dusk. This was something I will remember forever, we had so much space and time to take pictures, and videos, and take in the moment. Of course, feel free to head to the top but I will talk more about that in my next tip!
- Instead of climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. The view from the top of the Eiffel Tower is said to be the best in the city but I disagree slightly. One thing missing from this view, the most famous landmark in Paris, is the actual Eiffel Tower. However, if you climb the Arc de Triomphe instead, you get a very similar view of the city, this time with the Eiffel Tower as well! Both views and experiences are amazing but if you only have time for one I highly recommend climbing the Arc de Triomphe instead.
Those are my top three tips for your next trip to Paris. One of my favorite weekends so far. As cheesy as it might sound, virtually nothing beats a girl’s trip to Paris. I miss it already!
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My name is Willa Thomas and I am originally from San Diego, CA. I am a biology major on the pre-nursing track but chose to study business and economics while abroad to learn something new and broaden my horizons!