Aidan and I went to France two weeks ago for a quick weekend in Paris. Paris is one of those really iconic cities that I wanted to see for myself and see if it lived up to it’s hype. Plus my friend Maegan is living there so we got a chance to visit with her.
Our first day there I had a lot I wanted to squeeze in and see and Paris is pretty notorious for long lines to get into places but we really lucked out with short wait times everywhere. We went straight from the airport to the Paris Catacombs which is completely bizarre and creepy but also really interesting. I didn’t realized how far below ground you have to climb down on the round staircase but it’s super far down there. Then you walk through piles upon piles of human bones for way longer than I expected also. We only waited one hour in the cold to get in and it was worth it.
Next we headed see Notre Dame and walk a bit along the Seine and what used to be the locks bridge but sadly is now just a bridge (the locks were weighing it down too much so they were removed and the bridges edges were replaced with glass not long ago). I have now seen quite a few beautiful churches in various places around the world so I wasn’t sure how wowed I would be by Notre Dame but it really was quite beautiful and enormous inside. The outside is pretty nice as well and it’s cool how it is right on the river.
From Notre Dame we were able to walk to the Louvre. There was absolutely no line outside the museum and we were able to go in for free with our European youth cards! We went straight to the Mona Lisa but it’s a bit of a letdown honestly because you can’t get very close to it at all and it’s such a small painting it’s quite hard to really see. We saw a lot of other really impressive stuff and spent more time in the rest of the museum.
We met up with Maegan and some of her friends for dinner and to go see the Eiffel Tower sparkle! It was so fun to have them tell us a bit more about Paris from the perspective of people living there. It is a really cool city but also super expensive and posh.
The next day we went straight to Versaille. Unfortunately since it’s winter we did not spend much time in the gardens. I know if I get a chance to go back in the summer I would rent a bike and see a lot more. The Palace itself we also got into for free with our European youth cards! (getting them has definitely paid off). The place is pretty massive and cool to see. After what felt like forever in Versaille we headed back to Paris.
Our hostel in Paris was cheap (well for Paris anyways) and well located, but pretty grimy and we spent as little time there as possible. The second night we saw the Arc de Triompho which was pretty incredible. Then Aidan’s cousin who lives in Paris was able to come into the city to meet up with us for a drink. It was really cool to meet her and she was really sweet.
Later in the night Maegan took us to a club on a boat on the Seine with electronic music which was really fun. We slept in the next day and then back to Spain it was! It was a really quick trip but we saw a lot and I did really like Paris but next time I would love to go in the summer!
Just two days of work in Spain and then the schools had a fall break so we were off to Portugal. Unfortunately on the train to Barcelona Aidan realized he left his Passport at home in Zaragoza and had to turn around before meeting me in Portugal the next day.
I flew into Porto and made my way to a really cool hostel. The first night I met a lot of people there to hang out with and someone shared food with all of us! We chatted late into the night because the hostel had a warm wood stove in the common area.
The next day I set out alone to explore Porto. I saw a lot of the old part of the city which is absolutely gorgeous and still maintains a bit of griminess. I rented a bike for just €1.75! I biked along the water down to the beach and the big city park and then back through some nice residential areas. I ate enormous mussels and then wandered some more before going to meet Aidan at the bus terminal! It was good to have him arrive. We got a really good dinner, I had a bacalao sandwich which is a pretty fishy fish but interesting.
The next day we walked around more and walked over a famous bridge to get some good views of the river and city before taking an incredibly short flight (about 34 minutes and cost €14) to go to Lisboa. We met up with Julia at another really cool hostel and headed out to have her show us Lisboa. We went up to a neat lookout and got some rooftop views of the city. That night we went to a famous club on the water until late. Lisboa is larger than Porto and has a different vibe to it but I enjoyed both.
The next day we went out of the city to a small town to see a famous monetary, some monuments, and a new artsy neighborhood that has been developed just outside the city. Honestly I could have spent more time in Lisboa. Next time I’m in Portugal I would love to go in the summer as well and check out some beach towns!
So that was it and now I am back in Zaragoza for a bit (happily at home). Next trip will be over winter break which is actually sneaking up on us! Here are some pictures Paris and Portugal. Until next time, besos.