As you can probably infer from the title of this post, I spent my first Saturday in France exploring the City of Lights.

ESSEC student council had organized a river cruise on the Seine in the afternoon, but many of us decided that instead of spending the morning in our rooms we would go down to Paris early and explore. Even though it was in the high 90s with ~88% humidity, we did not let that deter us. I went with a group of other international students pictured below.

  • Top 2 [Left to Right]: Kenny (Sydney, Australia), Sam (Toronto, Canada)
  • Middle Row: Ami (Paris, France), Me, Charlie (Rugby, England), Ariella  (Rome, Italy), Ariel (Louisville, Kentucky, USA), Urbain (Slovakia) 
  • Front 2: Izzie (Rugby, England), Jessica (Columbia)

We decided the best way to go was to visit the monuments furthest from the boat trip first, and move closer, so the first thing we visited was Sacré Cœur and Montmartre. For anyone not familiar with Sacré Cœur, it is on the top of a huge hill, so you have to climb nearly 300 steps to reach the Basilica. It is a beautiful church, but if you pay the €6 and climb the additional 300 steps to reach the Dôme like I did, you get to see a stunning panoramic view of the city.

After Sacré Cœur we went back down the hill and went to a grocery store where we got 1.5 liter bottles of water for €0,20! This was the first of several trips to get more water because it was hot! 

Once we were all rehydrated, we headed to l’Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Elysées. We did not spend much time at the Arc de Triomphe (just long enough to take a few pictures) before heading down the Champs-Elysées.

The Champs-Elysées is certainly one of, if not the, most famous shopping streets in the world. It is full of chic boutiques and the flagship stores of brand names like Louis Vuitton. Besides stopping for lunch, none of us bought anything.

After lunch, we met up with everyone else for the river cruise. From the river boat we saw many of the main attractions of Paris: the Louvre, Pont Neuf, the Eiffel Tower, and Notre Dame.

After the river cruise we had a few hours before everyone was meeting up again at a bar near Sainte Michael, so everyone dispersed. In the case of my group, we continued down the Champs-Elysées toward the Jardin du Luxembourg and the Place de la Concorde.

As we went to meet back up with everyone, we walked past the bridge that used to be known as the “Locks of Love” bridge. Sadly, they have removed all locks from the bridge because it was hurting the structural integrity of the bridge. So now there is glass so no one can place locks on the bridge.