PARIS, FRANCE—Moving to a new city or state can we very intimidating, but moving to a new country can have you feeling a whirlwind of emotions. Although, being very excited to begin a new chapter in my life living in Paris, I was a bit overwhelmed with the thought of learning a new language, adjusting to a different culture, and figuring out how to live a new life in a place I had only ever seen in photographs.
I have never pictured myself living and going to school in a foreign country, I always imagined myself visiting France when I was older, possibly married with children, but not as a 21-year-old embarking on a new adventure alone. I had my doubts if this was the right move for me, but a little voice in the back of my mind told me to just go for it.
To prepare for my trip, I read several books and did my research on the famous City of Lights, but books and Google can only help you so much. The real adventure begins when you first arrive at the airport, after your 9-hour flight, and you don’t hear people speaking English anymore. I somehow made it to my new apartment with 6-months worth of clothes stuffed in my suitcase and was in complete shock; I was actually in Paris! After getting settled in and recovering from my terrible jetlag, I decided to use my first week there to visit all the “tourist” attractions and become more familiar with my new home.
Having grown up living in both Florida and California, I visited Disney World and Disneyland at least once a year. Therefore, it only seemed fitting to cross another Disney park off my bucket list and visit Disneyland Paris. Walking into the park, I felt like I was back in America because it is almost identical to the parks in Orlando and Anaheim. All the employees spoke English, food menus were in English, even the audio for the rides was in English. I enjoyed being able to experience the same attractions I loved at the other Disney parks and also being able to see and ride different attractions that only Disneyland Paris has to offer. I highly recommend visiting Disneyland Paris, if you are ever in Paris because it is definitely one of my favorite places in Paris, thus far.
Next on my list, was of course, the famous Eiffel Tower. Standing right in front of something you had only seen in pictures before, is absolutely mesmerizing. I wanted my first visit to be at night because I wanted to see it light up, I also figured that maybe at night it would be less crowded, but I was wrong, it was still insanely crowded. After sunset, the Eiffel Tower sparkles with flashing lights for a couple minutes on the top of the hour. I stood staring at the famous landmark for at least 30 minutes just in awe. I honestly could have stayed there all night.
Continuing on my list of well-known landmarks, I visited the Arc de Triomphe, which translates to the Arch of Triumph in English. The Arc de Triomphe was built in 1806 to honor the Grande Armee of France who had conquered most of Europe. The detail in the architecture is simply amazing, pictures do not even do it justice. My only downside was that it was more crowded than the Eiffel Tower, so if you visit be prepared to fight the crowds and wait for the right moment to take your picture. Right across the Arc de Triomphe is the Champs-Elysees where all the famous high-end shops are located, like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Cartier. There are many Parisian cafes located there and it is also the famous street that the Bastille Day parade runs along and the finish of the Tour de France race.
These landmarks are just a few of the many treasures Paris has to offer. I still have several famous locations to visit including the Notre-Dame Cathedral, Louvre Museum, and the Palace of Versailles. Besides the well-known places Paris has to offer, there is so much more to discover in this beautiful city. There are cafes, shops, markets, and incredibly designed buildings around every corner. If you’re in Paris and don’t have time to hit all the sights you want to, simply walking and exploring the streets of Paris is absolutely breathtaking, nonetheless.