Brussels is known as the capital of Europe because it is in the heart of Europe and it is really easy to travel to a lot of countries. There are buses that you can take to Paris or Amsterdam for 12.50 Euro, which is an AWESOME price it’s almost what I pay to go to UofT and back from where I live. So I’ve decided to go to Paris during our statuary holidays, All Saints Day.
We decided to go to Paris Wednesday and come back on Saturday, unfortunately with the bus trip we were really there for only 2 full days. However, we made the best of it and we tried to see a lot of things. I’ve visited Paris before, thus I knew a little bit the city and where to go (weirdly enough people thought like I knew really well the city, I was asked for direction 3-4 times…). Nevertheless, the metro (English: subway) is really well made and it is really easy to navigate through the city even if it’s your first time there. Wednesday evening we decided to see Paris at night, personally I think it’s when it’s the most charming because of all the lights. The Eiffel Tower has 2 types of lights, there is one where it is all the time illuminated then there is one where there are a lot of lights blinking like if a million people on the Eiffel Tower are taking pictures (that’s my favorite one). Walking in Paris at night is special, very different and almost magical just like in the movie Midnight in Paris.
In Brussels I met a Parisian student in exchange in Brussels, who worked in Versailles and because he was going home for the holiday, we were extremely lucky to have a private guide show us around Versailles the next day. I learned a lot, he showed us several fountains and buildings, and he explained that Washington DC architecture was influenced by Versailles. The castle and the property is very big and I was really amazed by how they maintained the park so well, the hedges were perfectly straight and some were cut in shapes of rectangles using…wait for it… helicopters!! how cool is that? We were also lucky with the weather, it was so sunny that we really could enjoy every minute of the park, the castle, the Petit Trianon, Grand Trianon, house of Marie-Antoinette and Grand Canal. The castle is spectacular especially the ceilings, I did my best to capture some pictures of the remarkable rooms.
Walking around I really felt a weird sensation because so many important people were walking, breathing, talking, touching the same things as me in the past; Travelling is almost like talking with those of another century (René Descartes).
(picture below) À TOUTES LES GLOIRES DE LA FRANCE (ENGLISH: To all the glories of France)
Here are a few pictures of bedrooms
The next day we went to see the famous cathedral Notre-Dame the Paris, who is well-known because of Victor Hugo. It was beautiful especially the stained glass, however what I didn’t like about it was that everything was commercialized, you went inside you had to pay to see things, to light a candle was very expensive and they had a souvenir shop. Nevertheless, I liked the 2 guestbooks they had in which people, residents or travelers left messages. There is also a beautiful bridge that is filled with locks left by lovers behind the cathedral. Unfortunately it started to rain, therefore we decided to go to the Louvre a bit earlier than planned instead of walking near the Seine river.
France’s motto Liberté Egalité Fraternité (English: Liberty Equality Fraternity)
Hotel-Dieu is a hospital, it has a nice name “Hotel-of-God”.
In France ex-president Sarkozy had a great idea, he made all the museums in France for people under 26 free. This gives a great opportunity to young people and students to visit museums and learn new things. The Louvre has a lot of art sculpture, paintings and work of arts. It is for a non-art/history student sometimes overwhelming because there are so many beautiful things to see and learn. I truly believe that to really enjoy the Louvre one has to visit each room for at least one day. The most well-known painting is the Mona Lisa (la Joconde) and there’s always so many people around that take pictures. Fortunately, we decided to go to the Louvre the entire afternoon until 9p.m., it was great not only because there were less people but also because we felt like we were in The Da Vinci Code.
After the Louvre we met other Canadian and Belgian students from Brussels, it was nice and funny to meet new people from Brussels in Paris. We had a great time, sadly there isn’t enough hours in a day and we had to leave the next day.
Before we took our bus in the morning, we saw the Arc de Triomphe (English: Arch of Triumph) near the Champs Elysées. On it and beneath it are all the names of the generals and wars fought.
Until next time,
P.S. special thanks to my friend who travelled with me and to our Parisian friend, who was so kind to show us around his home town.