By Sarah Titus
Paris, known as the “City of Lights,” is another popular destination within a weekend’s reach of Urbino. The efficient means of transportation around the city, and the delightful atmosphere of a place that has roots centuries of years old make for a perfect weekend.
The Eiffel Tower, standing strong and tall much like its inhabitants, represents the modern thinkers of the time when it was designed and built by Gustave Eiffel in 1889 for the Exposition Universelle. This was to commemorate the French Revolution’s 100th year anniversary. Although it is a magnificent structure, the Eiffel Tower does not just provide beauty to the city. The tower served to take part in the first radio transmissions, as well as telecommunications.
For students looking for an inexpensive hostel to stay in right in the heart of the city, the 3 Ducks Hostel is a good option. This hostel is only a 10-minute walk from the Eiffel Tower, making it an ideal spot for students wanting to tour the main attractions of the city. It is also right across the street from an authentic restaurant called “A La Tour Eiffel,” which has a variety of delicious French dinner meals. The salad, named “La Tour Eiffel” after the restaurant itself, contains a generous portion of lettuce, boiled eggs, cheese, and ham, which costs 13 euro.
As for tours around Paris that are both quality and inexpensive, the company called CultureFish! Tours does a wonderful job at showing you the majority of the icons of Paris that you came to see for yourself. The “Heart of Paris” is a walking tour that lasts about 2.5 hours and takes you to the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, Revolutionary Guillotine Square, Sante-Chapelle, Love Lock Bridge, Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and Champs-Elysees. On the tour you will also see the Ile de la Cite, which is one of two remaining islands within Paris. This island, surrounded by the Seine River, is where the center of Paris is located. The tour guides are friendly, willing to answer any questions, and speak English. The tour doesn’t cost a specific price, but you definitely should tip your guide with an amount you deem fit depending on the quality of the tour. This tour will not only educate you about the histories of these amazing sites, but also about the culture and the people who call Paris home.
For those wanting to visit the Louvre, it is important to plan a sufficient amount of time to tour the museum. This museum is home to works from some of the greatest artists including Raphael di Santi (from Urbino), Leonardo da Vinci, and Michelangelo- just to name a few. The museum is huge, but there are plenty of museum staff located throughout the halls to point you in the right direction of the artworks you wish to see. Of course, da Vinci’s Mona Lisa always has a crowd around her, but it is amazing to actually see this original artwork hung up for all the world to admire. No matter where you move within the room she is housed in within the Louvre, her eyes appear to follow you.
The Arc de Triomphe is the monument that stands tall, looming over the end of the Champs-Elysees. For those wanting to see a magnificent view of the city but want to skip waiting in the line for the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe is an alternative to get a bird’s eye view of the city.
Transportation to and from Paris from Urbino will cost approximately 130 euro in the summertime. This includes the bus to Pesaro, train to Bologna, and flight to Paris. However, these prices can drastically vary depending on when you book the flight and how quickly you want to reach your destination. The metro passes to travel underground throughout Paris are only a few euro and aid in the process of getting around the city quickly and efficiently. Plan to spend about 30 euro per night for a bed in a hostel near the Eiffel Tower and the other main attractions due to the convenient and safe location. Taking a tour is definitely recommended as the guide will be able to tell you about the sights you are seeing; a ‘free’ tour lasting about 2.5 hours will let you see just enough of the city so you can gain your bearings and decide what you want to visit more thoroughly for yourself. It is suggested to tip your guide 10-20 euro as a student, depending on their enthusiasm and quality of the tour. When it comes to dining in Paris, it is easy to find a sit-down restaurant that costs 20 euro for not that much food. For those on a traveler’s budget, there are grocery shops selling premade sandwiches and other snacks. An entire meal from a grocery shop (sandwich, snack, and drink) will only cost about 7 euro, and you can eat your lunch on the steps overlooking the Eiffel Tower. Traveling to Paris from Urbino is a relatively quick journey abroad that is ideal for students and travelers eager to learn about a new country, language, and culture while spending time in Europe.