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a touristy weekend at home

Sofia Falzoni, Sciences Po Exchange, Fall 2012

Last weekend, my friend Sofia (one of my friends from NU I went to visit in Bologna) came to visit me in Paris and stayed with me for about four days. Now that I’ve gotten used to Parisian life, I tend not to do so many ‘touristy things’ . Especially because, as the end of the semester approaches, I am more and more busy and have less time to take leisurely walks around Paris (like I did in the beginning).

After spending every afternoon this week at the library writing a paper about women in the Italian mafia (in French), it was great to spend time with Sofia and enjoy the weekend. She had never been to Paris before, so we did a bunch of touristy things.

On the first night she arrived, we went ice skating. So they set up this huge Christmas Market in the Champs Elysees, and it is absolutely beautiful. They sell all types of food, chocolate, hot wine, and they also have an ice skating rink! Usually it’s packed with people and little kids on weekends, but we went on a late Thursday night and it was perfect.

On Friday, I had class in the morning so I brought Sofia with me to show her around Sciences Po. She loved it. Because ScPo is located in the wonderful Saint-Germain des Pres, Sofia had no problem walking around on her own and soaking in the Parisianness of the neighborhood (while I sat in Ethics of War for two hours….)

We walked around the Quartier Latin, Notre Dame, Ile Saint-Louis, and walked around the Marais, where we enjoyed some nice cappuccinos while it POURED outside. (oh yeah, it’s been raining a LOT in Paris…. And the sun hasn’t come out in a looong time…)

We walked all the way to the Eiffel tower at night and watched it sparkle.

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On Saturday we went toVersailles, which is about half an hour-40 minutes outside of Paris. We got in for free with our student cards and also got an audio guide! It was beautiful. We were able to take a few pictures before my camera’s battery died. One in the entrance and one in the Hall of Mirrors:

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On Sunday, we got up early and it was SUNNY! Finally. In the morning, we went to the Arc de Triomph and then to the Louvre, and walked in the Jardin the Tuilieries.

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And we saw everyone taking these silly pictures with the pyramid, so, why not…..

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Then, we walked to the Opera. My friend Sofia studies Opera at NU, so we had planned to go see an opera in Paris. So I asked everyone I knew how to get cheap tickets to see an opera, and we went and got last minute tickets at the Opera Garnier, which is one of my favorite buildings in Paris. We waited in line for about an hour, because we intended to get student tickets (which cost 25 euros but you get really great seats), but of course, 10 minutes before the start of the show they announced that they were sold out and we had to get regular last minute tickets.

So we ran to the other line and got our last minute tickets. They cost us 10 euros each. Not bad at all! The view is pretty restricted… the seats are reaaaaaaaally high up, and to the side, so you can only see about 2/3 of the stage. But it really wasn’t that bad, the experience was phenomenal. The building is gorgeous.

Screen shot 2015-02-06 at 1.33.59 PM (I was standing up when I took this picture, but this is the basic view from my seat)

And, on the last night, we went to the beautiful Montmartre to enjoy a spectacular view of Paris at night. My camera was actually dead by then, though, so I couldn’t get a nice picture. But this is the last picture of the weekend (when we stopped by the Moulin Rouge on our way out of the metro).

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It was a wonderful weekend exploring Paris and taking advantage to see all the sights, and to do things I wouldn’t normally do (especially since I’m here year round). For example, I’ve been putting off going to Versailles since September.

After Sofia left, though, it was time to hit the books again…

Until next time!

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