Lessons I learned while in Paris for two days:
- There is no limit to what buskers in the French Metro will do to get money, including getting on the train and singing/playing music in order to get money from passengers, all the while making it impossible to hear your friends.
- I appreciate the London Underground’s ease of understanding transportation much more now. I also appreciate the amount of stops we make compared to the Metro.
- I also appreciate CCTV. I feel a lot safer in London, and everything is also much cleaner.
- Quite a few people jump the barriers in the Metro to avoid paying.
- Paris is full of wonder, and there is history around every corner.
- French food is the best. i.e crepes, baguettes and croissants
- It’s really hard to understand people if you don’t speak French, but they all make an attempt to speak English. If you go to America and don’t speak English, few people will try to make it easy for you (therein lies our problem).
- Everybody says “hello ma’am. goodbye sir.” and is super polite to each other.
- Old men are not afraid of catcalling when you walk past them.
- Certain hostels aren’t so bad.
- There is no way to describe the beauty of the pink, orange and purple sky on an early train ride home to London.
Anyway, so there I sat at 11 pm in Artsy Paris, our hostel in Paris, listening to my roommates for the night annoy me. I was hating them more than usual, and they knew that. All jokes aside though, I didn’t make it to midnight Friday evening because I was exhausted from the day’s adventures. Let me take you through them.
We (the seven of us coming to Paris for the weekend) left Wembley at 11:30 and headed to London Luton Airport for the night. We took the tube to the train station and topped up our cards for the trip. Turns out topping up wasn’t right and although we got through the first gate, we couldn’t get through the second. So there was some money down the drain for another ticket. We then sat in Luton until it was our turn to head to check-in……..4 am with the flight departing at 7:10. So there was no sleep involved. After getting ready to head through security, everything turned sour. I had the worst experience of my life at Luton and never want to go back. So the lady decided to throw away practically all of my personal toiletries because the gallon sized bag that wasn’t full was “too big” so now I have to spend a ton of pounds on new lotion and face wash and conditioner, and my stuff was not cheap stuff from America, so naturally, that made me want to cry. But then as I went through security I had the most thorough pat-down of my life. Excuse me ma’am, but is pressing in-between my boobs and practically putting your hands down my pants appropriate? Don’t think so. After this experience, I made sure to press the very poor security button a few times and swore to myself I would never fly out of Luton again. So then for the next few hours, I decided to let that poor experience eat at me until I felt awful, but then a very kind man who sat next to me on the flight made me feel better by showing me that good people exist. After arriving in Paris, the first thing we did was find a creperie and sat down to eat. Nutella and banana crepe anyone? Num. Afterwards, we walked all over Paris in an attempt to find our hostel, which we finally did. After checking in and putting our bags down, we made our way to the Eiffel Tower, passing the Asemblée Nationale and other things. The Eiffel Tower is such an amazing structure to admire. Of course we got the view from the Trocadéro and took pictures over there. We then hopped on the Metro and headed to Notre Dame. There was a creepy man trying to talk to people and a pigeon lady outside who made me think of Home Alone 2. I admired all of the gargoyles, and the only thing that made me think of was Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame. After the outside distractions, we headed inside. I can’t describe how beautiful the inside of that cathedral is. The stained glass was filled with beautiful images, and the architecture inside was spectacular. They were prepping the cathedral for a mass that was to happen on Saturday, but even though it was busy, I loved walking around. After we left the cathedral, we walked to the Pont des Arts, the bridge where everyone places their love locks. That was one of the most beautiful sites to me because each lock has a story behind it, and that makes my heart flutter with happiness. One day I’ll go back and leave a lock with a story. I swear it. Anyways, we then headed to The Louvre because it was free on Friday night. Of course we saw the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo, but I can say Mona didn’t impress me like every other piece of artwork did. It wasn’t that spectacular. Sorry. After we explored the Louvre for a bit we headed to our hostel so we could pass out and wake up early for our second and final day in France.
After little sleep, we started our day with typical French breakfast foods and made our way to the Palace of Versailles. I was absolutely in love with everything that the Palace had to show. The history that spans every room is so spectacular. I saw all of the bedrooms and studies and fell in love with each room. The sun was peeking out through the clouds, so I was hopeful for some good weather, but instead, as we exited into the gardens, it started hailing. I braved a hailstorm for a photo in the gardens. But, as soon as the hail had started, it stopped. So there was that. However, due to the inclement weather, we were unable to visit the Grand Trianon and Marie Antoinette’s estate. That just means I need to go back there with my significant other one day. 😉 Really though. I will be back. We also stopped at this creperie afterwards and had the best crepes ever. Peach and ice cream for me….and I loved each and every bite. After Versailles, we headed back into central Paris to visit the rest of the places on our list. We headed to the Champs-Élysées to explore the street. We stopped by the PSG store, and it was already filled with Beckham things (Go Beckham!). I also tried my first set of macaroons at Laduree. OHMUHGOSH, I am in love. I have to say, vanilla, chocolate, coffee, and strawberry were my favorite….but I just wish I had some now. Anyway, we then saw the Arc de Triomphe. After that, we headed to the Moulin Rouge because I really wanted to see it since I’m in love with the movie. That was all fine and dandy until my friends decided to take me to a sex shop. That was…different. We then made our way to Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, otherwise known as the church on the hill. It had such a beautiful view. I do wish it wasn’t so foggy because we really could have seen more, but I loved it all the same. After that, it was time to find Shakespeare and Company because I really wanted to see the beautiful bookshop. We weren’t sure where it was because the street wasn’t on the map, but it is literally right across the street from Notre Dame. Once we found it, I did not want to leave. It was filled with beautiful books and first editions of books I had always wanted. There was also a guy playing the piano upstairs, and he was so great. I could go back and live in that building for days. I miss it already. Before we headed back to the hostel, we got a last crepe. All in all, the weekend in Paris was not one of my favorite weekends though. But as much as I enjoyed my time eating in France, I can still say that Paris didn’t win my heart like London has. London will forever be my favorite place in the world. And that’s my take on things.