For study break, I went to London and Paris! These were the top two cities I wanted to visit in Europe so I’m really happy I got the chance to actually make it happen!
London, England 11/20-11/22
London has been my absolute favorite city I’ve visited this semester. I love how there’s sooo many neighborhoods to explore and there’s so much to do without the city feeling really touristy. On our first day, we spent a while walking along the Thames, exploring the area, and getting lost in the Borough Markets. There was so much good food to pick from but I eventually “settled” on fish and chips. Hands down the best cod I’ve had in a long time. The Swan is along the Thames and not too far from the Borough Markets. They had an incredible English Breakfast and I would highly recommend it as well.
We also headed to Sky Garden, London’s highest public garden. It had an INCREDIBLE view of the city and the sunset. It’s also free to enter – but still book a ticket online – which made it even better!
Convent Garden was a really cool and pretty neighborhood to explore at night. In Convent Garden, my friends and I watched The Mousetrap at St. Martin’s Theater. The Mousetrap has by far the longest initial run of any play in history. When we went, we watched the 28,052nd performance of the murder mystery. I would highly recommend this murder mystery.
As much as I love London for not feeling touristy, I had no shame about being a tourist and doing all the touristy things like the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, London Eye, and Tower Bridge. The last picture in the below series is the Millennium Bridge. For any HP fans, it’s the bridge the Death Eaters attack and collapse in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Paris, France 11/20-11/24
We got to Paris at night but the first thing we did was go to the Eiffel Tower. Every hour, on the hour, for 5 minutes, the tower flickers with lights and it’s so pretty.
The next day, we went to the Louvre. Once you get your Danish residence permit, you can actually get into the Louvre for free! We got to the Louvre at 8:50AM, got in at around 10:30AM, and stayed until around 2:00PM. The museum kind of felt like it was just centered around the Mona Lisa, but still a really cool space and environment to be in. After the Louvre, we went to Le Cafe Blanc for lunch and I had this incredible truffle, ham pasta.
The Louvre is pretty close to the Notre Dame so we walked along the Seine River to get there. Even though we couldn’t go inside the Notre Dame, it was still incredible to look at it from the outside. A lot of the area is blocked off for reconstruction so head to the other side of the river for a better view. It was so interesting and sad to see so much damage to such a beautiful structure.
Ok. Now shoutouts to all my Swifties. Since the “Begin Again” MV was shot in Paris, you know I had to find at least 1 scene and I did. Notre Dame is a 15 minute walk away from Square du Vert-Galant where she sat under the willow. #IStandWithTaylor A moment of silence for how Taylor P O P P E D in her AMA performance.
My friends and I really wanted to visit the Sewers Museum but it was closed for renovation when we went to Paris. Instead, we headed to the Catacombs Museum, which was also really interesting. If you visit this museum and don’t buy your ticket in advance, you might have to wait a while because at any given point, there can only be 200 people inside the museum. We got to the museum at 9:45AM (open at 10AM) and we got in at 10:30AM. The audioguide was only 5 euros and I would highly recommend getting the audioguide.
After the Catacombs, my friends and I stumbled across a local bakery Le temps et le pain. I’m still not really sure what pastry I got from there but it tasted incredible. We headed over to Chez Papa for lunch and I got the duck confit with leeks. Chez Papa is literally across the street from Montparnasse Cemetery, so for any big English/literature fanatics, this is where Samuel Beckett is buried.
Paris has a lot of passages which are … passages … with shops inside. We found a cafe in a passage and got some delicious macarons!
I would 100% go back to London and I would honestly stay for an entire week. London is such a fun city to explore and also really easy to get around. Part of the reason why I was so comfortable in London probably has something to do with the fact that they actually speak fluent English. I don’t think that detracts from how great of a city London is though.
I was a little disappointed(??), thrown off by Paris though. Coming into this trip, I had imagined Paris to be a really quaint city, definitely drawing a LOT of influence from Taylor Swift’s “Begin Again” MV. Paris definitely was much more of a city than I expected it to be. Also, Paris is an expensive city. Most of my meals were around $20 if not more, and I struggled to find places that were cheaper. The language barrier was also the strongest in Paris of any of the cities I’ve gone to this semester. Even though, Paris wasn’t really what I was expecting, I’m still really happy I went.