Weekend in Paris

November 6, 2019
Claire Ketzler in front of Eiffel Tower

Today’s blog post comes to us from University of Alaska Fairbanks student & API blogger Claire Ketzler.

I am studying in Bilbao, Spain, but recently went to Paris, France as an API excursion. I spent three days in the famous city, and it was my first time. Here are some highlights!


Spain is the first country I have truly experienced, but now it’s not the only one. Paris was a memorable experience that I am grateful to have. While it’s impossible to see all the sights of such an international city, I and my group explored plenty!


To travel across the country, we left bright and early on Friday morning. Despite missing classes, my teachers were understanding. I made sure to leave extra early; this was a flight I didn’t want to miss.

Luckily it was a shorter trip than Alaska to Europe! When we first arrived in the ‘city of lights,’ we had a bus tour. We were able to view various famous sights of Paris while learning about the history that is engraved into the streets. Of course, we got off the bus for Eiffel Tower pictures!

Like many people, I knew about the grand tower since I was a child. I saw it in movies, books, and any other media. It was surreal seeing an international, famed place. My first time seeing it in real life was surreal. This is because it’s such a big sight and with the sky and the way the building was framed around it, I felt like I was looking at a picture!

The group continued our tour and were granted many more chances to sightsee. Which included Les Invalides and it has a very rich history embedded into its builds. From serving as a hospital, church, and currently serves for French armed forces. Only a history class can pass on the knowledge of all these places.

Les Invalides picture, group shot!

After the bus tour was over, we all settled into our hotel. The hotel was nice and had free breakfast, which is always welcomed! When we were done recharging for a little, we made way to other attractions of Paris. 

The first night I explored the Louvre Museum with some API friends. As an art major and fanatic, I couldn’t look at everything in just one night. Although, I was happy with my time and saw many art pieces. 

To answer a question, yes, I saw the Mona Lisa. It is one of the most profound paintings in the world, and the Louvre Museum is what keeps her. But, I didn’t get any selfies because everyone else in the museum wanted one too! It was another out of world experience to just see world-famed artwork.

All in all, the first day was packed with stories and history. Little to say, we were all exhausted. The cross-country travel and long day knocked us out pretty well. Which is fine, because the rest was well needed for the next day, Saturday! 


For Saturday morning, we all needed to get up early again. Everyone wasn’t quite bright-eyed and bushy-tailed because of last night on the streets of Paris, but everyone survived. On this day, we had an API excursion of a boat tower around Paris.

We navigated the metro of Paris and arrived on the docks. Unfortunately, the weather was rainy and cold. In fact, the entire weekend was, but that couldn’t stop the vibes of Paris. Everyone boarded a large tour boat and we floated down the river.

We saw a few sights from the day before, and then some. Additionally, I heard more French than ever before in my life. Too bad I can’t learn all the languages of the world, at the same time.

Once the boat ride ended, we retreated back to the hotel. Then we searched for lunch and were not disappointed. We were close to many restaurants, as well as creperies! Who can go to France without leaving with a crepe?

Lunch was eaten and then it was time for another adventure. I and a few other friends decided to go shopping and were a little overwhelmed. Paris is certainly an international city and is sometimes hard navigating through giant crowds. After some basic souvenir shops and designer clothes later, we changed course.

The team decided to see the Eiffel Tower again, except right up close! We traversed the metro together and arrived right under the tower. Plenty of people were waiting to enter the garden, but we made it underneath.

Eiffel Tower from beneath, with lights!

 This view of the tower is less seen, and I never saw any pictures from right underneath! It was strange seeing the tower from below, but unfortunately, we couldn’t go up it due to crowds. This will still be a cool story that I can tell the rest of my life. 

After a close-up observation of the Eiffel Tower, it was dinner time. We had some cheese goodness that France can definitely provide. Once again, the group was worn out after the day’s journey and endless walking. The day was balanced out with unforgettable sights and rain. 


This story is coming to an end. The last morning went about the same, with free breakfast and quick planning. I went along with a few people to walk Paris and find a popular bookstore.

The walk was both fun and tiring, like many of our travels. We saw more streets in Paris and fought against some rain. We stopped for crepes along the way, and who is surprised? It is basically impossible to have a diet in this city, and I don’t regret my happiness.

We found our bookstore, and I am a bookworm. Although I couldn’t leave with anything, because I am just trying to read Spanish literature. I still appreciated my time in a new bookstore.

I don’t know if I told my time abroad correctly since there was so much to tell. I want to remember these journeys for when I’m old and can’t travel, not to be bleak! Although, I had a moment while recounting my excursion. In all these pictures I am in my youth. I need to appreciate every day and moment of travel.

All in all? I quite enjoyed my trip, ha-ha. I will be traveling to Paris again with some family, and now I have some better knowledge. The city is impossible to see all in one weekend. I didn’t even go to the Versailles Garden, but there’s always tomorrow! This was a lively excursion, to say the least!


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