Paris in a day? S’il vous plaît!

After traveling to nearly every destination we wanted to see in Italy a friend of mine and I decided it was time to take our trip to another country. After looking up itineraries and ticket prices online we finally decided to head to France. Most people would try and make this into a weekend trip, or at least two days. But after seeing the inflated cost of hostels and food in Paris we figured we’d take on the daunting task of leaving Florence in the morning and coming back not long after nightfall.

Our journey wouldn’t be for the faint of heart, as round-trip it took two planes, five legs of a subway, three buses, a tram and a LOT of walking to get to where we wanted to go. I was pleasantly surprised by the Ryanair part of the journey from Pisa to Paris, with a great staff on-board that helped give us advice on what transportation to use once we got in the city. They made the initial part of the day a lot easier.

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Our first stop in Paris was the world famous Louvre Museum. Known for its priceless works like the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo, we spent around two hours witnessing all we could before leaving. Getting to see some of these masterpieces I’ve only read about in books really blew me away. I was lucky enough to see a lot of Renaissance art back in Italy, but some of the most renowned pieces of art, even from that era, were kept in this seemingly endless treasure trove of a gallery. If it wasn’t for the abundant amount of people packed like sardines into the vicinity, we would’ve probably been inclined to stay longer. Even with a shorter time spent there than we originally hoped, we still managed to see all of the highlights and the museum in its near entirety.

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Next was the crème de la crème of the day. The part we had been anticipating the most. The Paris Air Show. In its 51st installment, the air show is actually the oldest in the world. There was expected to be more than 300,000 attendees this year and we were lucky enough to be a part of this experience. Seeing jets from every major company and manufacturer, as well as flying demonstrations like an Airbus pulling tight turns and whizzing through the air in seemingly effortless fashion, we had never seen a show quite like this one. Back in the US, I have been fortunate enough to see flying groups like the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds, but the diverse group of planes taking part in this event honestly blew those out of the water. Time was definitely well-spent at the main attraction of our French outing.

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The last spot we went to before heading back to Italy was the iconic Eiffel Tower. The lines were outrageous to go to the top, so we simply admired it from below. Even without the view of the city, this landmark stood as a wonder that was unlike any I have seen before. The craftsmanship that went into such a large piece of metal was truly an amazing sight to see. After walking along the Pont d’léna (Jena Bridge) we headed back toward the airport for our return.

Even though most people would say the trip was too short or we didn’t get to see all of Paris, the day was one of the best I have had this entire trip. The ease of going from one country to another here was something that can’t be experienced back in the US. To me, being able to go somewhere like Paris in a day for such a small cost really represented one of the beauties of this entire six-week affair – the idea that all of this incredible history is in such close vicinity to where we are and it’s up to us to go see it. Until we left Italy I didn’t realize that even though I’ve loved every moment in Florence, there are so many other places I still want to visit. Some of which are just a stone’s throw across the water. If I had to do the trip over again there’s nothing I’d change, except for maybe getting a crêpe or two!

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