(aka The Views of Paris! I’m attempting to use some of my French!)
Today I got a bit of a late start (thanks to staying up late to watch SYTYCD on my computer….it was Vegas week!). I started by heading to the Marches de Puces de la Porte de Vanves, the street market a few metro stops away from my hostel. I was really excited to go to a Parisian street market, especially one with antiques instead of just food/flowers that as a traveller I can’t really enjoy.
The market was really cool and had a lot of interesting things. I’m sure there were a lot of great finds for collectors but most of it was too big for me to take home or out of my price range. I did manage to find some pretty brooches for only 3 euros.
From there I took the metro up to Montmatre to see the Basilica de Sacre Coeur. Hint: if you’re planning to check out Sacre Coeur, take the metro to Lamark Calaincourt. It’s halfway up the hill and saves you a lot of steps. The view from the top was really pretty and the church itself was gorgeous. You weren’t allowed to take photos inside and this church seemed a little less touristy than Notre-Dame. I bought a cross pendant for myself (I’ve been looking for one for a while now) and marvelled at the impressive architecture.
I walked through Montmatre and really loved the cobblestone paths and outdoor cafes. Parts of it are very touristy but they’re also adorably French. I really wanted to buy some prints of drawings of famous Paris sites but there’s no way they would have made it home without being bent, so I settled for smaller sturdier ones.
I walked down the hill, into the skeezier part of Montmatre to find the Moulin Rouge. Let’s just say…not impressive. It looks pretty boring from the outside, and kind of run down. I took the obligatory photos but really wasn’t wowed by it. My roommates were telling me they knew people who had recently seen a show at the Moulin Rouge and apparently it’s well worth it. I was intrigued….but the cheapest ticket is 100 euros. I wasn’t that intrigued!
I stopped for lunch at a nearby cafe and then walked down to the shopping district at Saint-Lazare. Along the way I stopped at a bakery to buy macarons, which I had never tried before. They were good, but not as great as I was expecting. And then I decided to see a movie! I found a cinema that shows English movies, they had a discount student price, my feet hurt, and I didn’t have a ton on the itinerary until later. I feel kind of lame that I saw a movie by myself, and while I was in Paris no less! But, I enjoyed myself! I saw “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and I really liked it. Great movie (I’m partial to funny old people with English accents) that shows some of the beauty of India and I got to watch it in the world’s tiniest theatre. I swear my room might be bigger than this place…
From there I visited Printemps, another department store like Galeries Lafayette. They have pretty much the same selection and layout including the rooftop terrace and separate buildings for menswear and home decor. I shopped around a bit in the area and then took the metro to the other side of the Seine.
My favourite part of the day was walking along the Seine towards the Eiffel Tower and just soaking in how beautiful this city is. It was sunny and everything was kind of perfect. I’m definitely going to miss those walks!
I walked back to Rue Cler to pick up dinner. I got Chinese again (don’t be mad Pamela! It’s the cheapest thing!) and my bill was $8.88! The lady and I remarked how lucky that was. I also got gelato and despite not being in Italy, it was the best gelato I’ve ever had!
I went back to the Eiffel Tower with my dinner and ate it picnic-style on the bench. I got to read my book and watch the sun set behind the Eiffel Tower. The best part was when a couple came up and tried to ask me for directions in broken French. When I began to answer the guy remarked, “Oh! You speak English!” I confessed that I was from Canada but I love that not only could I give them directions but they thought I was a true Parisian!
As the night went on, it got chilly and I had to go buy a chocolat chaud and wrap myself in my scarf. The football game was also on so people were screaming in front of a TV set just next to the park in front of the tower. I didn’t realize how popular the tower was at night. Lots of people were lying on the grass and many of the groups were drinking pretty heavily. I guess the grass by the Eiffel Tower is an alternative to a club or house party….
Finally, after waiting till 11pm, the tower was lit up and there was a little light show. I was kind of expecting more from the show; it just twinkles for a few minutes. Nonetheless, it was impressive and I’m glad I stuck around to see it. But as soon as it was over I ran to the metro!
Tomorrow I leave Paris for Nice! I’m sad to leave Paris but excited for Nice. I don’t have any official plans in Nice so we’ll see what a quick google search and some spontaneity gets me up to!