My first experience going abroad without my family was during year 8 of secondary school. I was 13 years old and was on a trip to the French capital with my school. We were able to choose between going to Paris, France or Madrid, Spain, and I chose Paris because, at the time I thought myself quite the master (well, mistress) of the French language. That and the fact that I went to France every year (as mentioned in the previous post) and rather loved the country but had never visited the capital.
We spent 5 days/4 nights in the country, travelled by coach there, around and back, and visited quite a few popular tourist spots of Paris: the Eiffel Tower, Sacré Cœur and Montmartre, Palace of Versailles and went on a boat ride along the Seine river on a Bateau Mouche. It was also my first real taste of real tourism – busy crowds, long queues, hundreds of photos – all in the sweltering heat of July’s summer sun. Mix that with teenage hormones, girlfriend drama, fallouts, make-ups and new friends and you have yourself a regular school trip, just a little more French.
Though at the time it had no significant impact on my long to travel, it definitely made me want to continue my study of the French language and, on looking back at the trip, has made me realise how many places we didn’t visit – Notre Dame cathedral and the Louvre, for example.
I hope to revisit Paris and go to the various places we didn’t have the chance to visit in 2007.
A bientôt, Paris.