…My mom was always the person who planned our trips and organized everything that we would do while on vacation. Due to an issue with her passport, she was not allowed to get on the plane with us. My Dad and I found this out roughly 15 minutes before our boarding time. We took all of the necessities from my Mom’s luggage, said our goodbyes, and flew out with nervous looks on our faces. This string of inconveniences turned out to be one of the best experiences for me. I saw Paris differently now that our days were not filled with tours and sightseeing. We were always out and about but not necessarily looking at the most popular monuments. I came to appreciate the little things in Paris. The small details and overlooked beauty fueled my appreciation for the country of France, and here they are.
The first thing that I noticed about Paris was the food. It was absolutely exquisite. Make the most of your time by trying all of the different food that Paris has to offer, and adept travelers know to stay far away from American cuisine. The dining experience is slower-paced and those who have been there will know that you don’t eat just because you are hungry. The relaxing music and engaging ambiance lure you into the moment. Dinners are formal and traditional, but breakfast and lunch can be a complete change of pace.
While in France, you can have breakfast the way you want, but make sure you swing into a bakery and grab a jambon et fromage baguette (the best ham and cheese sandwich you will ever have). Traditional French breakfasts or just stopping by the market are also completely acceptable options. Outdoor markets in Paris make grocery shopping something you will enjoy. Every piece of produce tastes almost as good as it looks, every piece of food is fresh and blemish-free. No matter how you choose to eat, French cuisine will always be something to remember.
The architecture in Paris completely blew me away. People always told me about the fascinating buildings, but you have to see it to believe it. The architecture is rich no matter where you walk in the city. There are the beautiful castles and elegant cathedrals that you expect to see. However, some of the most impressive things are the bridges, statues, and even the apartment buildings.
Wherever you walk there are relics displaying the innate craftsmanship that humans possess. Trying to navigate Paris is always a bit slower because you spend time marveling at every little thing in the city. Even the most practical and seemingly mundane structures tell a story just by looking at them. Everything is in such good shape despite being a few hundred years old. Make sure you stop and appreciate the small details and the lesser-known landmarks. There are always hidden jewels in Paris.
As somebody who lives in America, you don’t get to witness history on such a deepened scale. The country is simply not old enough for people to really understand what history looks like. Most of the buildings erected in Paris are older than the United States itself. Everything is so well maintained that you can barely tell it is over 300 years old. Some of the best historical marvels were the palaces. So many different lines of royalty lived in and around Paris and their palaces are all quite different.
Each Palace tells a story but The Palace of Versailles definitely takes the cake. It is only a short train ride from Paris and the whole experience is unlike anything else. If you are someone who is into the foreign greenery then the gardens at Versailles will surely satisfy your curiosity. My only tip is to see and learn as much as you can while you’re there because the time goes by faster than you can imagine. It is amazing how much time and effort was put into the art that is displayed throughout the city.
Some of the pieces in Paris were the entire lives work of the artist. The type of emotion expressed in the old paintings is something you can’t get with modern art. Visiting the Louvre is a captivating experience, but some of the coolest art pieces are not framed in galleries. Stumbling upon marvelous pieces of art while exploring Paris is a rewarding feeling. Make sure you are keeping your eyes peeled in the palaces and cathedrals for some awesome paintings. Appreciate every moment in Paris because you will be on the plane home before you know it.
When the last day of my adventure in Paris arrived I noticed something about the young people. It was near the end of their school year and the students were always celebrating. They would often have picnics at the park or be partying on the banks of the river. It made the bustling city seem slower and closer to home. Everyone was so happy and relaxed. The kids in France seemed so relatable and fun to hang out with. Any person who goes to France will notice that everyone is naturally happy.
The Nice program is the perfect way to test my original judgment. I can really get an understanding of what the French kids do and how they think. I have never become friends with somebody who lives such a different lifestyle to me. Visualizing France from the standpoint of a resident is one of my goals for going back this summer. It will be a truly eye opening experience. Anyone planning to stay in France for a reasonably long time should also try and make foreign friends.
5) The Language
The final reason why I want to go back is to grow in the language. I was supposed to take Spanish going into high school but I switched to French after my trip. Keep an open mind when visiting because you will also fall in love with the language. French is very elegant and exciting. Traveling to France could inspire you to pursue French as a student, or as a hobby. Taking French was one of the best choices that I have made. France is a beautiful place to visit and learning the language will make your returning trips much more enjoyable. Going back with Abbey Road will not only be lots of fun, but I will gain academic benefit from the trip. The program guarantees that I can experience everything in the top 5 again. This time, however, I have an entire month to explore! Going to France is something everyone should do, and I am excited to be presented with this opportunity once again.
Austin Eisenman, Student Ambassador, Nice 2019