Archive | January, 2013

An American in Paris

9 Jan

Finally, I am updating my blog, sorry for the wait.

I just got to London a couple days ago and only now am I able to chronicle my French adventures. I won’t tell you everything, cuz that would be boring, but I can give you some highlights.

If you, like me, enjoy meandering through old grave yards, next time you are in Paris you should stop by Cemetery Pere-Lachaise in the 20th arrondissement. There are even some famous people buried here, but even so, all of the graves are really quite beautiful.

Nobody famous....

At the cemetery

One piece of advice: Never go to the Tour Eiffel on a weekend, even if it is mid winter, the lines will be torturous. However, obviously this is an un-missable site. I went there around 9 pm and climbed to the 2nd floor (it is A LOT of stairs) and it was amazing. The Tower is definitely at its best during the night. Sadly, I didn’t get any pictures of it…

In 10 days I managed to see most of the city and I can easily say that my number one favourite place was the view from Sacre Ceour as the sun sets. You can see the whole city laid out before you and you can watch the Eiffel Tower light up.

Sacre Ceour

It might be a lot of steps up to the church, but it is definitely worth it. My second favourite part of Paris was going into Notre Dam during a night time service. I am not a religious person, but the magic of that beautiful building plus the angelic singing brought tears to my eyes.

As for spending New Year’s Eve in Paris, I don’t particularly recommend it, unless you have heaps of money to spend. Not that my night wasn’t awesome in it’s own way, but it had it’s rough bits. Plus there are no fireworks in the city, which in my opinion is quite lame.

Where I rang in the New Year-let down

Where I rang in the New Year-let down

 

I stayed in 2 different hostels while in Paris, the first and best was walking distance from Sacre Ceour and had a fabulous atmosphere. I met a great crowd of fellow backpackers. I definitely recommend Le Montclair Hostel. The next place was rather awful even if it was dirt cheap.

French food: I can’t say much about…I haven’t really had any. I do know croissants though. You can buy them anywhere and every single one is delicious. You can also buy crepes on every street corner. Other than a mountain of baked goods, I mostly ate frozen dinners and McDonald’s hamburgers. It might be embarrassing, but that is reality for those of us with little to spend.

Mmmmm

Mmmmm

I hate to say that I can’t last very long in museums, so it was impressive that I managed 2 hours in the D’Orsay (which is a wonderful museum). But I spent only 30 minutes in the Louvre, just enough to see the Mona Lisa….but if anyone asks, I saw all the important things.

Another bit of advice: if you are going to Versailles, which you should, go on a nice day. When I went it was cold and rainy, so I didn’t really get to wander the gardens as much as I wanted too. But even so, the palace is quite awe inspiring. Honestly, it’s a bit dreadful that anyone every spent so much money on a house…

Mary Antoinettes bedroom!

Mary Antoinettes bedroom!

One our last day in Paris, after my insistence, my travel buddy Bridget and I headed to number 8 rue de cherche midi, home of Poilane bakery. I read a fascinating article about the bakery in the New Yorker shortly before leaving for this trip and decided that I had to go there. I hate to say this, but I was massively let down. Although the shop is absolutely gorgeous, the goods are not. The croissants were a bit stale and he famous bread wasn’t that great. I might have been anticipating it too much, but still, if it is supposed to be the best bread in PARIS, it is supposed to be excellent. It’s similar to how the famous macaroons at Laduree are not that delicious; definitely not worth  €1.75…

Bread!

Bread!

I have always dreamed of Paris and thought that it would be perfection itself. Honestly though, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Don’t get me wrong, it is an amazing city, full of amazing things, but it, like anywhere else has its short comings. Maybe it is because for years I have built up Paris as the most amazing city in the world, of course nothing is that great, but still.

Don’t get me wrong, I had an amazing time and met some great people (incidentally I met zero French people…); it was an excellent beginning to this 5 month adventure.

Next time I go to Paris I will bring tons of money so that I can really live it up and experience the best that Paris can offer.

PS Don’t take a bus from Paris to London, it’s 10 hours long…

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