When I found out that I was going to get the chance to go to France, I was very excited. I'd never been out of the country before and here I was about to travel across the world.
We departed from the Philadelphia International Airport at 6 PM and arrived at the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris at 8 AM the following day. The flight was about seven hours.
After leaving the airport, we went to check into the first hotel, Citea, which was located on the outskirts of Paris. We then took the Metro to Paris where we saw City Hall, Notre Dame, the Louvre (the Mona Lisa was very disappointing), the Seine River, and other tourist attractions. We also walked through the Latin Quarter where we wound up eating dinner.
The next day, we took a tour bus through Paris. We drove past the Opera House (from which the opera house from The Phantom of the Opera was based), the Place Vendôme, the Tuileries, the Coniergerie, Les Invalides, the École Militaire, the Champs de Mars, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Champs-Élysées. We ate a dinner of boeuf bourguignon et gratin dauphinois (braised beef and scalloped potatoes), which was really tasty.
The third day, we traveled to the Loire Valley where we saw the Chartres Cathedral (it was Palm Sunday so we had to be quiet when we went inside; instead of palm leaves, they had olive branches), and the Château de Chambord. Afterward we checked into the Pierre & Vacances hotel (it was gorgeous with its mini water mill and glass balconies) and then walked to the restaurant across the street for dinner.
The next day, we went to visit some of the castles in the Loire Valley like the Château de Chenonceau and the Azay-le-Rideau, which were both huge and beautiful. We then traveled to the Troglodyte Village where we toured a cave and learned how mushrooms are grown and snails are cultivated inside. There was also a restaurant inside which we ate dinner in. We had mushroom and tuna spreads, white beans, their famous bread, and of course escargot (it was surprisingly good; it tasted like garlic).
The next morning, we went and checked into the Hotel des Ormes (the hotel of Elms; it was literally in the middle of nowhere) in Bretagne. Then, we headed off to St. Malo where we visited the Church of St. Vincent, the tomb of Jacques Cartier, and sampled their famous Salt Butter Taffy. Then, we ate a dinner of Galettes (the smaller, less sweet version of a crepe; was filled with egg and ham).
The next day, we traveled to Normandy where we visited the Arromanches museum and got to dip our toes in Omaha beach. We then checked into Hotel Séjours et Affaires (the hotel of Stays and Business).
The last day, we walked through a part of the city of Rouen. We go to see the place where Joan of Arc was burned in 1431. We also ate McDonald’s for lunch. At the very end of the night, we returned to Paris and took a Seine River Sightseeing Cruise. We got to see the Eiffel Tower light up and then sparkle. We then returned to our hotel and prepared for the flight back to Philadelphia.
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