I’m feeling a lot better about Paris after a truly gorgeous day here…though my feet beg to differ.
I got a nice early start and actually found a Metro station close to my hostel. I took it into the centre of the city and decided just to walk from there. In hindsight, I probably should have had a better plan for the day. I thought my map might be helpful but it didn’t have a ton of landmarks/neighbourhoods labelled on it. But now that I’ve kind of got a better feel for the city and the Metro system, I’m sure some google-mapping of addresses will help me out for the rest of the week.
I started walking down the Champs-Elysees and was immediately taken aback by how stunning this city is. It really feels like you’re walking back in time to some magical little town with the most gorgeous architecture. Everything is very fancy – especially the people! All of the ladies are very put-together in the perfect outfits. Almost all of them wear heels, and almost all of them smoke.
I walked down the street, snapping photos of palaces and museums (names of which I can’t remember). Even the bridge was photo-worthy! After walking for a bit, I saw a sign for the Eiffel Tower and figured I might as well check it out. I walked through the streets and even stopped on the famed Rue Cler to check out the fruit stalls, cheese and wine shops and bakeries. I bought a crepe and it was delicious! I felt very French! Eventually I made my way to the tower!
The Eiffel Tower is gorgeous! I got to walk down this long park and admire it from a bunch of different views. As you get closer, it starts to lose its magic but it’s still very impressive. When you’re close enough you can see the stairs winding up and the little yellow and red elevators taking people to the top. The line to get up to the top was ridiculously long! Literally hundreds of people were waiting to go up (though the line for the stairs was considerably shorter).
From there I walked along the Seine and other great streets of Paris. It was really nice just to see all the Parisians and the cafes and shops. Everything looks so much more beautiful in Paris. I made my way to the Arc de Triomphe. It was really cool to see in person after having seen it in all the movies. This one was actually more impressive the closer you got because you realized how ornate it really was. There are names inscribed on the inside of the arc and beautiful artwork. It was nice just to sit there and admire it for a while.
Next I planned to visit the maison de Victor Hugo, Place des Vosges. Victor Hugo is the author of Les Miserables and the tour of his house/museum and surrounding gardens is supposed to be really nice. Bonus: the tour is free! So I started off to what I thought was the house. Turns out, it was just a fountain in the middle of a round-about on a street named after him. But his street is pretty cool. It has a lot of beautiful (read: expensive) clothing shops. So, basically, I window-shopped my way in a big circle practically back to the tower.
I saw the Eiffel Tower from the other side and stopped at a small park there. It was really nice just to sit there and read my book on the grass while staring up at the Eiffel Tower in front of me. There were kids running around, old ladies sleeping and a guy playing the guitar. Basically it was Parisian paradise.
I headed back to Rue Cler to get fix-ins for a picnic! I had seen some other families on the grass in front of the tower and I was inspired. I picked up wine, a pain au chocolat, raspberries, blueberries, and weird dumpling things. It was really nice! I got to enjoy my food while people-watching and admiring the tower. A guy named Marc came to ask me for a lighter and then sat down to chat when I said I didn’t have one. He was nice enough and harmless, but his choice in topic was a little off. He was telling me how people from Europe believe in romance and free love. He wanted me to take advantage of being young and beautiful instead of staying faithful to my boyfriend (imaginary, but he didn’t know that! The heart necklace helped). I laughed him off and he left without pushing the creep factor any further. After that, I started falling asleep while reading my book. And as fate would have it, I managed to get a bit of a sunburn. I’m so pale it’s ridiculous! Thankfully, it’s not too bad and I will be lathering up with the SPF 50 tomorrow!
I came back to my hostel, did some work, watched some bad TV, chatted with my housemates. Our internet here sucks but one of the guys has the password for another wifi in the area which is helpful.
So tomorrow, I plan to visit the Palace de Versailles! I’m hoping to be able to figure out how to get there via train but their website wasn’t too helpful. Hopefully someone at the Metro station will be able to help me out!