9 Things You Should Do In Paris

9 Things You Should Do In Paris

I went to Paris for a couple days over spring break last year, and it was an amazing experience. Here are nine things you should do if you go to Paris:

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Get excited for these activities!

1. The Louvre 

Museum in Paris with a lot of famous paintings.

2. Notre Dame

Notre Dame is a beautiful building with historical statues.

3. Eiffel Tower 

I mean you have to see the Eiffel Tower. I saw it at night when it was all lit up and it was beautiful.

4. Arc de Triomphe

The famous monument that is in the very middle of Paris. You can go on top of it and see the whole city from above.

5. Macarons at Ladurèe

Get the famous, yummy macaroons from the above bakery/restaurant.

6. Bread and cheese

Bread and cheese in Paris is the best bread and cheese you will ever eat. Paris is known for their bread and cheese.

7. O' Chateaú Wine Tasting

The Chateau is absolutely gorgeous- it is a beautiful and large garden, and you can do wine tasting there. Drinking wine while looking at the beauty of nature? Yes please.

8. Mona Lisa

You can visit the real Mona Lisa painting in the Louevre museum.

9. Palace of Versailles

Where the royal family resides some times of the year. It is if course beautiful.

If you ever visit Paris, these are the things you MUST do!

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I Visited The "Shameless" Houses And Here's Why You Shouldn't

Glamorizing a less-than-ideal way to live.
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After five hours of driving, hearing the GPS say, "Turn right onto South Homan Avenue" was a blessing.

My eyes peeled to the side of the road, viciously looking for what I have been driving so long for, when finally, I see it: the house from "Shameless."

"Shameless" is a hit TV show produced by Showtime. It takes place in modern-day Southside, Chicago. The plot, while straying at times, largely revolves around the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. While a majority of the show is filmed offsite in a studio in Los Angeles, many outside scenes are filmed in Southside and the houses of the Gallagher's and side-characters are very much based on real houses.

We walked down the street, stopped in front of the two houses, took pictures and admired seeing the house in real life. It was a surreal experience and I felt out of place like I didn't belong there. As we prepared to leave (and see other spots from the show), a man came strolling down on his bicycle and asked how we were doing.

"Great! How are you?"

It fell silent as the man stopped in front of the Gallagher house, opened the gate, parked his bike and entered his home. We left a donation on his front porch, got back to the car and took off.

As we took the drive to downtown Chicago, something didn't sit right with me. While it was exciting to have this experience, I began to feel a sense of guilt or wrongdoing. After discussing it with my friends, I came to a sudden realization: No one should visit the "Gallagher" house.

The plot largely revolves the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. It represents what Southside is like for so many residents. While TV shows always dramatize reality, I realized coming to this house was an exploitation of their conditions. It's entertaining to see Frank's shenanigans on TV, the emotional roller coasters characters endure and the outlandish things they have to do to survive. I didn't come here to help better their conditions, immerse myself in what their reality is or even for the donation I left: I came here for my entertainment.

Southside Chicago is notoriously dangerous. The thefts, murders and other crimes committed on the show are not a far-fetched fantasy for many of the residents, it's a brutal reality. It's a scary way to live. Besides the Milkovich home, all the houses typically seen by tourists are occupied by homeowners. It's not a corporation or a small museum, it's their actual property. I don't know how many visitors these homes get per day, week, month or year. Still, these homeowners have to see frequent visitors at any hour of the day, interfering with their lives. In my view, coming to their homes and taking pictures of them is a silent way of glamorizing the cycle of poverty. It's a silent way of saying we find joy in their almost unlivable conditions.

The conceit of the show is not the issue. TV shows have a way of romanticizing very negative things all the time. The issue at hand is that several visitors are privileged enough to live in a higher quality of life.

I myself experienced the desire and excitement to see the houses. I came for the experience but left with a lesson. I understand that tourism will continue to the homes of these individuals and I am aware that my grievances may not be shared with everyone, however, I think it's important to take a step back and think about if this were your life. Would you want hundreds, potentially thousands, of people coming to your house? Would you want people to find entertainment in your lifestyle, good and bad?

I understand the experience, excitement, and fun the trip can be. While I recommend skipping the houses altogether and just head downtown, it's most important to remember to be respectful to those very individuals whose lives have been affected so deeply by "Shameless."

Cover Image Credit: itsfilmedthere.com

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Day 3 In Italy: Florence

When you're so used to your hometown, other people's hometown are far more beautiful

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Our final morning in Venice, we boarded a ferry and rode to the other side of Venice where we got on a tour bus and drove for about four hours to Florence.


Your browser does not support the video tag. On the ferry from one side of Venice to the otherBrooke Burney


Upon entering Florence, one of the first things we saw were the Ponte Vecchio. Our hotel was also just adjacent to it so we got to walk across this bridge quite a few times.


Brooke Burney


Soon after we got to Florence, we put our luggage in the hotel and we were off to explore Florence. We went to a small town square and ate and met up at the church that was in that area. After this, we saw Pitti Palace, where there is a secret passageway lining the town where the chief could walk. The street that Pitti Palace is located used to be lined with butcher and leather shops, making the town smell unpleasant. The chief did not like this so he changed these butcher shops into jewelry shops where he was able to purchase whatever jewelry he pleased while it also did not smell up the streets.


Pitti PalaceBrooke Burney


After this, we walked to the Signoria Square where there were statues of some Greek gods and a replica of the statue of David.


Poseidon was under construction :(Brooke Burney


During this part of our tour it began raining, so we spent one or two hours trying to stay dry. Our tour guide had us huddle under a balcony but once that got crowded, we moved to a huge tourist shop where we stayed until it calmed down.


Brooke Burney


After this, we had time to shop and eat but once that leisure time was up, we were guided through the Signoria Square and were given the history of the buildings that stand there and we passed the church in which the Statue of David was originally supposed to reside.


The Statue of David was going to go in that nook on top of the dome, under the golden crossBrooke Burney


At this time it was about 7 PM and we were headed to a cooking school where our entire group prepared dinner for everyone. Some of us were making the appetizer, others making the main course, and rest were making desert. I made pasta, and we made it from scratch which was not as difficult as anticipated and turned out delicious.


Made from scratch pastaBrooke Burney


After dinner we went back to our hotel, however before entering, our tour guide asked if the group wanted gelato. Of course, everyone piped in, except for the four of us girls that went together. Our tour guide told us he would take us to a club if we wanted to and our supervisor was okay with it. So we went to our room, got ready and then we were off to the club that is right around the corner from our hotel. If you want to read about that experience here's the link!

Once we got back, we went to sleep around 3 AM, and we were ready for more exploration tomorrow; bright and early.

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