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I’ve wanted to go to Paris ever since I saw Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen take on the City of Light in 1999.  The fashion, the history, the culture... I love it all.  

I traveled with my friends Nikki and Carley. We had planned this trip pretty far in advance since it was Carley’s birthday weekend. After yet another early Friday morning flight and a long layover in Birmingham, we made it to Paris in the early afternoon. We took the train into the city and found our accommodation, the Perfect Hostel, which was, indeed, perfect. It was one of the nicest hostels I’ve ever stayed at. We had our own room—complete with floral wallpaper and a balcony with a beautiful view. The free breakfast included croissants, baguettes, juice and café au lait. How cool is that?!

View from our balcony

After a quick, much needed nap, we met Nikki’s friend who is studying there for the year at Saint Michel. We had dinner at a cute restaurant, walked around the lively area and stopped for Nutella-flavored gelato. Then, we went to see the Eiffel Tower (what else would you do on your first night in Paris?). It’s even more beautiful that I thought it would be. We sat on the lawn and watched it light up on the hour. 

The next morning, we walked to Moulin Rouge and Montparnasse Cemetery. The cemetery was fascinating; the caskets were above ground, and some of the designs were very extravagant. For lunch, we bought baguettes, brie, prosciutto and grapes and ate at the Tuileries Garden. It was a delicious, relaxing meal in one of the most beautiful landscapes in the city.

Then, we went to the 
Musée de l'Orangerie nearby and saw beautiful impressionist paintings. My favorite pieces were the rooms of Monet murals. We also got free admission into the art gallery since we are EU students! That night, we walked along the Seine and decided to go back to the Eiffel Tower and actually go to the top. We waited in line for nearly 45 minutes, but it was worth it. It was so cold, but the view of the city was incredible!

The next morning, we wandered around the city and stumbled upon a street filled with specialty food shops. We found everything from cheese and rotisserie chicken to fruit and croissants. Of course, we bought more baguettes and brie. We also got Carley a raspberry tart for her birthday. On our way to Saint Chapelle, we stopped to see the Opera House. I wanted to see because I was in The Phantom of the Opera in high school. The building is gorgeous; there are gold statues on top, columns in the front and architectural details along the sides. We finally got to Saint Chapelle, a chapel filled with stained-glass windows. 

We got crepes and went to the Arc de Triomphe at night.  We climbed the tall, narrow spiral staircase to get the top, where there was another amazing view. After that, we went window-shopping along the Champs-Élysées and got crème brûlée to celebrate Carley's birthday at midnight. On our final day, we went to the Louvre, Luxembourg Gardens and Bercy Village. The Louvre is huge; it would easily take an entire day to see all the exhibits. I can now say that I've seen the Mona Lisa! I also loved the statues and flowers that lined Luxembourg Gardens. We sat by the central fountain and admired the gigantic palace in front, too. Bercy reminded me of Ashton Lane here in Glasgow. There are several bars in a row, and there are beautiful lights everywhere. It has a cozy, trendy vibe. 

The next morning, there was a strike, so the trains weren't running as often. Luckily, I made it to the airport just in time to board! I got back to school and went to the weekly screening for my film class. Going to school after traveling is exhausting, but hey, it's worth it!

I loved my trip to Paris and can't wait to go back. I may not have toured the city with French boys on mopeds, but I’d say my trip was just as good as the Olsens’!

Lesley Siu graduated from American University in May 2013 with a BA in Film and Media Arts and minors in Marketing and International Business. Originally from Hawaii, she loves photography, fashion, travel, social media and everything Parisian. She has interned at GLAMOUR magazine in New York and Washington Life Magazine in DC, but her proudest accomplishment is founding Her Campus American in 2011 while interning in Melbourne, Australia. You can usually find her reading a magazine, enjoying a hazelnut latte or posting a photo on Instagram... and sometimes, all at the same time. Follow her on Twitter: @lesleysiu and visit her blog.
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