The city of lights brought so much joy, excitement, and memories over the course of our stay there, which was the perfect setting for us because it was Paris Fashion Week. Being in Paris was always a childhood dream of mine (and Audrey Hepburn escalated my obsession), so anything I saw or did absolutely astonished me.
Our trip continued on Thursday, when we left Paris for half the day to visit the iconic Château de Versailles. Let’s just say after spending several hours there, we’re all ready to move in! The decor, architecture, gardens, and everything in between was mesmerizing. The history was even more fascinating, and I’m so glad we snapped the praised picture in everyone’s favorite room, “The Hall of Mirrors.”
We then returned to Paris to visit to Montmatre, a famous retail location in the city. The view alone is worth the hike, where you get to see the entire city and the magnificent church, Sacré-Cœur. There were several vintage shops, handmade boutiques, and so many neat finds.
Afterwards, FASA (Florence Abroad Student Activites) organized a boat tour on Paris’ Seine, which allowed us to see a city from a whole new perspective. Famous points included Notre Dame, Musée d’Orsay, The Louvre, and of course…the Eiffel Tower! As mentioned before, this city has always been a dream of mine to visit, so let’s just say when the tower started sparkling I may or may not have been able to control myself.
Friday started off with a private store visit to Hermès, before the doors even opened (no big deal)! We learned the history of the French-based luxury brand, the origin of classic Birken and Kelly bag, and how they’ve kept the exclusivity of their brand dating back from 1837. A pinch me moment, that’s for sure!
We then continued with what I like to call tradeshow hopping. We visited five trade shows in just one day and learned a great deal about the industry! We started off at Paris sur Modes, Premiere Classe, and Don’t Believe the Hype, where we were able to look around, speak with the different brands and learn their stories, as well as do research during our class projects!
Our final destination was Tranoi, which we visited at two locations, Carousel du Louvre and Palais de la Bourse. The energy was really vibrant and welcoming, and we were able to get some great research and learn about global businesses in such a realistic way.
Unfortunately, Saturday brought us to our last day of our academic trip, but we ended on a high note with another concept store visit, as well as a visit to the Pompidou. We started off at the Pompidou, where we had a guided tour learning about modern art. We were able to learn more about abstract pieces of art, as well as in depth analyses of pieces, including a bunch by one of my favorites, Pablo Picasso! Plus, check out this view.
Our last stop together was to visit Merci Concept store. It has such an electric energy, selling everything from clothing and accessories to stationery and home deco. It was such a neat way to send our amazing week together off on a high note.
After the conclusion of the academic trip, we had the opportunity to independent travel, so my friends and I decided to stay an extra couple of days to explore and see more of the city. On Sunday, a group of us decided to go to Disneyland Paris and spend our day at the Happiest Place on Earth. I think we can all agree that this will go down as one of our favorite study abroad days! It was a day of nonstop fun, no worries, and lots of laughter. Plus, the park had some of Disney’s best rides; including Tower of Tower, Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster, Space Mountain, and Indiana Jones.
So after a week of traveling and exploring two incredible cities, our trip came to a close on Monday. There is so much to do in such a limited amount of time, so my friends and I decided to squeeze in some of the things we missed. There is no way I could leave Paris without seeing the Notre Dame Cathedral. The medieval Catholic cathedral was just as spectacular on the inside as it was on the outside.
Last up were Champs-Élysées (aka the Fifth Ave of Paris) and Arc de Triomphe, which were definite must sees. While we got our last glimpse of Paris and the luxury, glamour, and beauty of such a historic city, we were also extremely excited to return home to Firenze for some well deserved rest!
Au revoir, Paris. I look forward to the day that we will meet again!