“Paris is always a good idea.” Audrey Hepburn
I recently returned from a whole week in Paris, a city that really is as magical as I always imagined. Here is the abridged play-by-play with a photo for each day
Day 1 (Samedi):
I took a bus to Aix-en-Provence in order to join my friend Nicole on the TGV train to Paris. Upon arriving the first thing we saw was Disneyland Paris. Honestly I still don’t know what to think of Disneyland Paris. Then we waited in a line for an hour to buy a ticket to get out of Zone 5 and into Zone 1 of Paris where our hostel was. We finally made it to the hostel around 7pm and found my friend Patty fast asleep in our room in the hostel (to be fair, she had been exploring since 8am that morning). We then successfully found dinner for under 10 euros and proceeded to the Eiffel Tower (and met my friend Jesse there) after studying the metro map for a while. Apparently this is the only picture I got with the Eiffel Tower:
Day 2 (Dimanche):
So Sunday was Daylight Savings but all of us (us = Patty, Nicole & I) completely forgot and my very cheap phone didn’t set itself back on its own. So we all got an extra hour in Paris! But the metro line we were planning to take wasn’t open yet so we had to take a detour to the next convenient metro stop. We did some wandering along the Seine that day where there is always junk to purchase along with more enticing things like antique novels and affordable artwork. We made it to Notre Dame, the main bridge covered in love locks and the Moulin Rouge before returning to the Eiffel Tower to climb 600 steps (it costs 3.50 euros). This only gets you about halfway to the top, when you must pay 6 more euros to take a lift to the very top if you desire. We didn’t end up doing that and honestly I am not that dazzled by the Parisian skyline without the Eiffel Tower in it. After our descent, we walked in the rain on the Champs-Élysées and saw the Arc de Triomph. We bought cheap but delicious falafel sandwiches and delicious macaroons. Then, since it was Patty’s last night in Paris we figured we had to have a glass of wine. We found a charming area in the 6th arrondissement near Notre Dame. Here’s me and Patty en route to the 2nd level of the Eiffel Tower:
Day 3 (Lundi):
This was Louvre day. Because honestly getting to the Louvre, waiting in line, realizing you better eat because you have no idea how long you will stay, and then marveling at all the artwork definitely takes the better part of a day. Nicole and I split up at the Louvre in order to see what we wanted on our own time. We were both there for about 6 hours! After that I met up with my friend of 10+ years, Kaitlyn who is studying in Paris this semester. She ate dinner and I ate crème brûlée in the Bastille area. I fully intended to take advantage of that evening to explore Paris but I returned to the hostel at about 9:30pm and didn’t leave until the morning.
Day 4 (Mardi):
Well Tuesday morning could have been considered a waste of time but I got over it. I wanted to go to the Centre Pompidou (I did a research project on it for 7th grade French class) but first I was looking for it in the wrong place. Then I called Nicole to help me find the real place because I didn’t have a great map. Then I took the metro to the Pompidou only to find that it is closed on Tuesdays. Meanwhile Nicole was in the Jardin de Tulleries having a grand time. By the time we met up again it was lunchtime so we again found lunch for under 10 euros and free WiFi! (Our first hostel didn’t have WiFi.) We enjoyed a relaxed lunch and then went to the Musée D’Orsay which was definitely worth the trip. (Also I forgot to mention before that with our student visas we got to enter all of the museums for free! Holla! It’s nice when things can begin to pay for themselves.) Also we discovered that there is a great view of Paris from the top of the D’Orsay. The museum itself has really cool architecture because it was converted from a train station that was almost demolished in 1970. That evening Nicole and I went out with Kaitlyn to one of the areas of the city that is popular for students. We found a piano bar with a very animated singer who loved interacting with the audience. Then Kaitlyn had to go home so naturally Nicole and I decided to buy some more macaroons before returning to the hostel.
Day 5 (Mercredi):
We were only allowed to stay a maximum of 4 nights in our first hostel in an ideal location, so Wednesday morning we packed up our things and moved on after a sad breakfast of mediocre coffee and pain au chocolat from a vending machine. (I’m not kidding. I should have taken a picture.) Wednesday morning I finally made it to the Pompidou so that was great It’s a museum of contemporary art separated inside the museum into 3 sections within the 20th century. It is interesting to see the progression of art becoming more abstract with each decade. I even found a Lebanese artist whose last name is Abboud! Here is one of my favorites from the Pompidou – an Andy Warhol piece (the face is Elizabeth Taylor)
Nicole and I met up after that to check into our new hostel. The two hostels were honestly like night and day. Our second one was furnished a lot better but it was also like stepping into Australia/American because it was full of Anglo-Saxons. It was a much more social atmosphere and it was in a quaint location on the Canal Saint-Martin in the 19th arrondissement. After checking in and meeting our Australian roommates Nicole and I went to the infamous Marché aux Puces (flea market). Unfortunately after 5pm it is more of a ghost town than a flea market but I still bought some boots for 15 euros! We spent the rest of the evening at the hostel relaxing and getting to know new people, which included being coerced into a pub quiz. But our team won so it was ok. Also my American friend Derek who I’m studying with in Nice arrived on this day but he was exploring all day and didn’t get to the hostel until later.
Penultimate Day 6 (Jeudi):
The new us (Nicole, Derek and I) explored the Parc de Vilette on Thursday while looking for the Cité de la musique (a museum). Unfortunately the museum didn’t open until noon but it was worth the wait! There were instruments exhibited from the baroque period all the way to the 20th century and there was so much to learn about. After that Nicole and I wanted to see the catacombs, since it was Halloween and everything (even though I don’t like Halloween) but the line was so long when we got there that we were told we wouldn’t make it to the last entrance at 4 pm. My question was why was the last entrance so early? Nicole was heartbroken but I was ready for some coffee so we found a café where the espresso wasn’t too overpriced. Then we met up with Derek at the Luxembourg Garden which was fabulous (see picture below)! But chilly…Paris was chilly. That evening the 3 of us went to the Sacre-Coeur Basilica on the hill of Montmartre which was definitely one of my top 3 moments in Paris. The view is beautiful and the Basilica is picturesque. Although a man tried to sell me a Heineken on the steps of the Basilica and I was not having any of it. We then wandered some more and ended up chatting with an owner of one of those souvenir shops who heard me speaking too loudly in French with an American accent. Then that night we experienced the Pitchfork festival! Good times.
Day 7 (Vendredi):
Well nothing much happened on this day because I left on a train at 10:45am. I remember it was raining, because it’s Paris. I had an umbrella, though. Unfortunately instead of arriving back in Nice in under 6 hours it was an 8 hour trip so that was a bummer. The only compromise was that there was an adorable French toddler and his dad in the seats in front of me.
So yeah that’s the summary of my week in Paris! I’m not even going to reread it to catch my spelling/grammar mistakes so I’m honored if you read it all.