Exhausting is one word that comes to mind when describing my three-day journey to the heart of France and back. Casey, Alyssa, and I almost missed our train on account of the long line at the London station's coffee shop. The cold and rainy weather followed us from England and greeted us again when we arrived in Paris late Thursday night. Our taxi driver (who knew about as much English as I know French) got lost while trying to get to our hotel. And although I just completed my last semester of French, my foreign language skills (or lack thereof) completely failed me. During our first day of exploration, I made the mistake of wearing my cute but less-than-comfortable grey flats, which resulted in an extremely sore pair of heels for the rest of the weekend. And, until we got used to it, the metro system caused us more confusion than I'd like to admit.

But even with all of these minor setbacks, exploring the City of Lights was, for lack of a better phrase, truly awe-inspiring. And completely worth every little bit of travel anxiety.

On day one, we said a few prayers within the beautiful walls of Notre Dame, oohed and aahed over impressionist paintings at the Musée d'Orsay, and took twenty million photos in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Luckily, Saturday brought sunnier skies and calmer weather. We lit a candle in Sacré-Cœur Basilica, wandered through Père Lachaise Cemetery in search for Oscar Wilde's tomb, stopped in at Shakespeare and Company, and celebrated Bastille Day with gelato and fireworks.

Throughout the weekend, our meals consisted mostly of bread and cheese, but Casey was brave enough to order escargot (and even finish it off).

I ate a different pastry every morning, but they all had one ingredient in common: chocolate. Truth be told, our daily coffee run was the secret to keeping us going all day long—a mocha for Casey and a cappuccino for me. Alyssa, who's not a coffee drinker, managed to run on bread alone. I swear, that girl is a machine.

Souvenirs were purchased for our loved ones and a few were kept for ourselves (including a glass Coca-Cola bottle for Casey's collection and a Paris snow globe for mine). Our many adventures that filled the long weekend were so great in number that I simply could go on forever. Some were scary, others silly, but all invigorating. By the end of the last day, we pretty much considered ourselves pros at navigating large cities. (Okay, well, Casey and Alyssa caught on pretty quick with the help of a few maps. As for me, well, I'm still just as clueless as when we began.) Before heading back to the UK, Alyssa and I ordered a couple glasses of rosé wine at the train station and toasted our wonderful weekend.

As much fun as our Paris excursion turned out to be, the moment that we stepped back into our much smaller and beloved Oxford, all three of us felt a sense of relief... And the familiar feeling of returning home.