• Samantha Dawn

Road Travels: France

I believe we are meant to do specific things at our own pace, with our own timelines. Turning 26 has brought me into a new quarter of life. I am 100% at ease with myself, I have come to accept myself and I have really embraced who I am. I feel I am living my most authentic life and that's so powerful.


Traveling to Europe was just the best way to start my second quarter. We did a lot of stuff and I had to turn this blog post into a three part journey. I am back to blogging once a week, so expect a lot of travel posts for the next while because my traveling doesn't stop at Europe.


Here's the breakdown for the next three posts:

Aug 1 - Aug 6: France Aug 7 - Aug 11: Tuscany Aug 12 - Aug 17: Sorrento and Rome


When I refer to we, I mean my family, I traveled with my sister for the first leg, then met up with my parents for the last two.

 

Aug 1 & 2:


August started really relaxing. We had a super easy day because I was packed and ready to go. I got my nails fixed at Avalon, I spent some time relaxing and making sure the house was clean. At 2pm, my mom drove us to the airport and we boarded the plane to Montreal.


I had never been on an international flight and Air Canada really feeds you. I don't care what people say, airplane food isn't that bad. You also get free wine! Fun things we realized, we boarded the plane at like 6 pm, but because of time zones, we arrived at 6 am in Paris, so in about four hours I watched the sun set and rise. What a start to this trip.





Once we arrived to Paris, we found the train and made our way to Gare du Nord. Once we were at Gare du Nord, we walked to Gare de l'Est which, is super close to one another. We stayed at Holiday Inn Gare de L'Est and it was a perfect location because it was close to the metro and train station.

We weren't able to check in, but the kind man at the desk held our bags and once he saw I was using Origins, he said he could get us into a room at 11:30am.


We had about two hours at this point so we decided to get breakfast at McDonalds to use the wifi (which is bad) and figure out how to get to Montmartre. Here's the thing about google maps, it brings you to the location the fastest way, not by the scenic route. That being said, WE CLIMBED SO MANY STAIRS ON 1.5 HOURS OF SLEEP. Maybe if I had had more sleep, this would have been better, but it was a lot of stairs. Totally worth it for the beauty, but tiring and sweaty. I really enjoyed this as the first thing I did.



After we walked back to our hotel and checked in, I took a nap. I've never had a better nap in my entire life. I thought I had slept through the night. Luckily we did not and we woke up to go see Champs Elysées, l'Arc de Triomphe, and the Eiffel Tower.

Abercrombie & Fitch had a very elaborate store entrance. It was ridiculous. Gossip Girl made Champs Elysées sound cooler than it was. It was really nice, but I am not going on vacation to shop, so it was cool to see, but I got really excited to go to Ladurée, I got two macarons and they were very tasty.



Once we were done with the Champs, we walked to l'Arc de Triomphe and we climbed it. It was a better climb than the morning climb.



The views were incredible and so beautiful.



After the Arc, we walked a lot and found a bus to take us to the Eiffel Tower. Which we saw from Trocadéro, the perfect place to see the tower.





At this point we realized we had not eaten lunch and walking towards finding a metro stop, we had to stop for supper because we had no energy. I'm going to never ever refer everyone to this restaurant, but we stopped at Champs de Mars, the food was subpar, the water was so expensive and the waiter we had was the biggest butt hole I have ever met. That being said, we ate there, left and never went back. We found our metro stop and headed home for the night.


Aug 3 & 4:

On August 3rd, we headed towards the Palais de Versailles. We took the train to get there and walked to the palace from the train station, which was about 10 minutes. I cannot stress this enough, the security line isn't that bad as long as you pre-purchase tickets. If we hadn't pre-purchased tickets, I can only imagine how badly the day would have gone.


Versailles was a dream. The palace itself is really beautiful and I can appreciate the beauty of it, but the real magic of it, is the gardens. Absolutely pristine and gorgeous, the gardens were so magical and made our day. We spent about an hour in the palace and four hours in the gardens. The gardens are very big, so we rented bicycles to get around which was so fun! Highly recommend a trip to Versailles.





That night, we went back to the Eiffel Tower to see the light show and it was magnificent. Before the eiffel tower, we stopped to have champagne and desserts.




On our last day in Paris, we visited the Louvre, an Eric Keyser bakery, musée d'Orsay, Notre Dame (the outside), and Palais Garnier, then we saw Galerie Lafayette.


My favourite thing that day was Palais Garnier, the Opera house. It was actually the most beautifully breathtaking building in Paris and you should all go.






Paris was incredible, in total, we walked 50km. I really loved my time here. That being said, after three days in Paris, it was time for something new.


Aug 5&6:

On Aug 5, we took a taxi at the early hours of the morning and flew to Nice. I was asleep for the whole flight, I can't remember a thing. When we got to Nice, it was much easier to get a taxi to our hotel, so we got a taxi with a very nice man who gave us the details of Nice, which was appreciated.


We stayed at Hotel Cresp, a hotel that is located on the third floor of a very old building. That morning, we got breakfast at the bakery right below our hotel as we were early. The hotel was a block away from the ocean and had recently been renovated. The hotel hallway was older, but the room was clean and had the best pillows. Got a great nights rest.


We got our room at 9:30am and headed to the beach. The beach is rocks, so we got chairs and lounged all day. At around three, we went back to the room, changed and explored Nice. I got the best gingerbread cookie gelato and some herb de provence. We hiked up Castle of Nice, which was amazing.





On our last day in Nice, we went for a guided tour. We started off visiting Cannes for forty minutes, we saw Fragonard, and then we headed to the village of Gourdon, which is in the mountains and where you will find the best chicken sandwich ever! We finished the day at Saint Paul de Vence a quaint little fortified village.




I am going to keep this ending short, next week there will be another blog post about my adventures in Italy.


Thanks for reading,

Samantha

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