From the top of l’Arc de Triomphe
I travelled to Paris from June 3 to June 6 of 2014. It’s crazy to think that I’ve only been home a little over a month.
We arrived in Paris after a more than depressing weekend in Dublin, Ireland. I had expected to love Ireland and instead found the city dark, lifeless, and not my cup of tea. I was so worried that I would feel the same way about Paris. The creepy guy hitting on me on the train from the airport didn’t help either. A little mix-up on finding the apartment, getting groceries, and making pasta, we went to bed for a well deserved night of sleep in the first non-hostel bed in a week. We went to bed early so we could sight see to our hearts content.
Paris stole my heart.
Palais de Versailles
1. Seeing the first up-close view of the Eiffel Tower (see below). The blooming roses while walking along the Seine were incredible.
2. Lighting a prayer candle in various cathedrals, most notably, Notre Dame.
3. All the stained glass (Saint Chapelle, museums, more cathedrals).
4. Walking through the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles. Really just all of Versailles. Seeing Marie Antoinette’s quarters etc. The grounds are gorgeous and the palace is breathtaking. See above.
5. Seeing Monet’s Water Lillies at l’Orangerie. I sat there for about half hour and just basked in the glory.
6. Crepes, coffee, ice cream, etc. in the Luxembourg Gardens and Tuileries Gardens, both of which were gorgeous. We sat with snacks and people/duck watched in the sunshine while giving our feet a break. (S/O to Anna for putting up with my slave-driver ways. I like a fully packed day…)
My tips: Definitely get a Paris museum pass and a Paris Visite pass for the public transportation services. We got the three day version and it made it so much easier to get everywhere because we weren’t worried about being efficient with the swipes, just with our time. With that pass we didn’t feel guilty giving our feet a break and taking the metro for only one stop. The Paris museum pass lets your go in a bunch of places as much as you want. Also, museums are a great time to get some time apart. If you find that you and your travel buddy need some time apart, say that you’ll meet back at the entrance in a couple hours.
Museums: We visited a lot of museums wherever we went in Europe. In Paris, the main ones that we hit were le Centre Pompidou, Musee D’Orsay, l’Orangerie, and le Louvre. The Louvre (see above) was wayyyyyy too overwhelming for us. It seemed like there was no way to possibly get around, and I mean simply that everything was impossible to find. We saw the Mona Lisa, so that was cool, but other than that I was just stressed the whole time. I loved the Musee D’Orsay. There was so much to look at and see. The Centre Pompidou was really cool and I absolutely loved l’Orangerie (but I also love Impressionist art, so that’s sort of a given).
Pont d’Arts with Notre Dame in the background
The language and people: as I mentioned before, I got hit on by a really, really creepy guy on the way into the city from the airport. Other than that, everyone was very nice. I have 6 years of French experience and could communicate, but most of the time if I asked a question people would switch to English. My accent must be really bad. Oops!
Cathedral de Notre Dame
What I wore: I’m going to do a post soon about everything that I packed on my Europe backpacking trip, but basically I wore Sperry’s, jeans, and either a long sleeved or short sleeved top the whole time. The last day we were there, I wore a dress because it was really sunny and warm. I was very comfortable but a scarf is the way to go. That thing was great to put over my hair when it got misty, wrap around my shoulders if I got cold, tighten around my neck when there was a chilly breeze. When it gets too hot, they easily wrap up and hang on your purse or go in your purse. I had bought a couple in London, and the versatility was awesome. Scarves are the best. See below!
I took about a million pictures, but I chose a few to highlight in this post. They were all taken on an iPhone 4S and edited with the mobile app Afterlight.
So, a month (nearly a month and a half) late, Paris, je t’aime. I can’t wait to visit again.