While I was studying abroad in Switzerland during January 2016, I had the spontaneous opportunity / sleep-deprived decision to take a weekend trip to Paris, France with four other girls in my group. When I say “spontaneous,” I mean that we booked the flight to Paris and the hotel the day before we left. Getting to Zurich airport from Fribourg was truly a challenge since we had the smarts to book both our departure flight in the early AM.
Note to self, one thing to note about trains in Switzerland: don’t catch a train to Zurich airport at 12AM!
We boarded a train to Zurich from Fribourg that we thought would get us straight there–supposedly a four-hour train ride–only to find out that trains stop around 2AM! We spend 2 hours waiting at the main train station in Zurich until about 5AM before we caught the train for the last hour of travel to the airport.
I realize that I should have taken pictures at the train station, but at 4AM with only three hours of sleep, I was NOT concerned about saving travel memories!
Touch down in Paris was great–minus the sleep deprivation and jet-lag. Getting from Charles de Gaulle Airport was also not that bad. We committed a wallet-sin by taking a taxi to our hotel in the center of Paris. I think the views on the way makes up for it, right?
All five of us stayed at Hotel Eiffel Villa Garibaldi–two girls in one room, and three in another. Split into two or three ways, the hotel was pretty cheap for one night in the center of paris (i.e., like 30 USD cheap). The hotel rooms were definitely small, but we tried not to spend too much time in the room anyway.
The girls and I planned a packed itinerary that included seeing the Eiffel Tower (in the day time and a night), the Love Lock Bridge, the Notre Dame de Paris, the Louvre, and many other places that we didn’t even get to in the head-spin of a weekend.
After grabbing a morning–and fitting–breakfast of spaghetti at one of the local cafes down the street from our hotel, three of us set to visiting the Eiffel Tower and wandering around central Paris.
The Eiffel Tower in the day time, and during its wintery off-season, is not as sparkly as one could have imagined, but it was a beautiful sight to see that was devoid of large groups of tourists. The girls and I were able to get great shots of the tower and with the tower.
After taking various shots of the Eiffel Tower (maybe too many?), the three of us met up with the other two girls and decided on the daunting task of taking the Parisian metro. With only one of us speaking at least intermediate French, we made our way to the Notre Dame de Paris.
The Notre Dame Cathedral is stunning with a backdrop of the Parisian city, especially at night. When we visited, the wait to get into the cathedral was only a mere minutes, and walking inside the cathedral was a breeze. Time pasted so fast while we were in the cathedral that when we left night had fallen.
With the city lights and a little misty fog, the girls and I navigated Paris in the dark using a paper tourist map! We visited the Love Lock Bridge before grabbing dinner at one of the restaurants across the street form the cathedral.
After the bridge and dinner, part II of our adventures included a freak sudden storm, a ferris wheel, and navigating the streets of Paris at night to catch a view of the eiffel Tower all lit up.