I returned home from Paris yesterday evening but was kind of tired so I didn’t get a chance to update you until today. I will start from my arrival in Paris, which went relatively smoothly. Brian and I took an earlyish flight and landed in Paris around 10am. We made our way over to the hostel whih took a little while and checked in around 12pm, but they were cleaning our room so we just left our bags and went out on foot to explore the city. We didn’t really plan on doing a walking tour the first day but ended up running into a lot of major attractions including the Moulin Rouge, Arc de Triumph and even the Eiffel Tower. We also had a nice lunch of crepes, mine was filled with chicken and cheese and was okay but traditional savory crepes are made of buckwheat and ours weren’t. But it was still good.
Brian and I went back to our hostel in the evening and got to see our room which was a pretty standard hostel room and nothing to brag home about. We had kind of a quiet restful night because we planned to get up super early to try and go up the Eiffel Tower. Unfortunately the next day it was raining and pretty nasty so we spent the day in the Louvre and saw the Mona Lisa, Napoleon’s rooms, he crown jewels and tons of other really famous works of art. But I swear you could spend months in the Louvre and not see everything. What was also really sweet was that because we have our Permisso Sogiournos(residence permits) we got into the Louvre for FREE:) We also got into a lot of other stuff for free or for a discounted price, which really helped us conserve money in an extremely expensive city.
Anyways, after the Louvre we went to the Hard Rock Cafe since we were missing American foo a little bit and because I love collecting souvenirs from all the Hard Rock’s I’ve been to throughout the world. It was a good meal and later we got desserts crepes with nutella from a cart on the street, which were amazing. I think I had at least some sort of crepe every day we were in Paris lol. But we didn’t actually eat that much. We mostly just had coffee and pastries for breakfast in the morning and then just had one major meal a day and maybe a snack or two. After the Hard Rock we wandered around and took some more pictures before heading back to the hostel. We rested for a little while then went out when it was dark to get some amazing pictures of Paris at night, which is definitely something everyone should see at some point in their life. You can check out some of my pictures in the photo gallery.
That night we were kept up by this annoying group of teenie boppers that moved into our floor in the hostel. So the next day we switched our room and it was much better after that. But we had planned to get up early to try to go up the Eiffel Tower because we didn’t get to yet but it was raining and cloudy so we skipped it because we couldn’t get very good pictures. We actually never ended up going up the Eiffel tower because on the days it was actually sunny and nice(Monday and Tuesday) it was ether closed because of the wind(Monday) or impossible to wait in the long line because only one of the lifts was working(Tuesday). Brian got some pictures of the queue which I swear must have had 200 people in it. But we did get some great pictures of the city from on top of the Sacre Coeur( aka Sacred Heart) church, which is located at the highest point in Paris. We wandered around a bit on Sunday and this was one of the sites we went to. We also wandered over to the Notre Dame cathedral for pictures and walked over to the Musee D’Orsay, which was unfortunately closing by the time we got there.During our wandering we came across Laduree, a rather famous macaron shop and we each got one macaron because they are super expensive. Mine was chocolate banana and was really good. The French really know how to make good pastries and desserts. It was one of my favorite things about France.
Monday was a beautiful day, one of the first one taht Paris had had in weeks because it had been raining in PAris for three weeks straight before we had arrived and our first couple of days were not all that great weather-wise. So we decided to go on a free walking tour, which is something I would suggest to anyone, even if you aren’t a college student and can afford a real tour, because I think the tours are way better than pre-paid tours. You can read more about free tour in the Travel Tips section of this blog. The reason I say that is because the tour guide really work to get your money and sometimes when you pay for a tour the guides don’t really care if you enjoy yourself because they already got their money. I really enjoyed the tour and our tour guide who was quite a personality lol. Even though we had seen a lot of the sites before going on the walking tour, we got a lot of the history behind Paris and it was very educational as well as entertaining.
We enjoyed our free tour so much we decided to book a Montmartre tour given by the company running the free tours and it was pretty cheap around 11 euros and it included a glass of wine at teh end which was nice. Our tour guide was different for this tour but possibly more entertaining. She was a theater major as opposed to our free tour guide who was a history major so she was very dramatic and theatrical and of course a little bit weird, but very fun. I enjoyed the Montmartre tour a lot and Brian and I met a lot of cool people on the tour. After the tour had ended a bunch of us decided to go to a little hole in the wall Paris pub where our tour guide went frequently. It was a nice night and we got to meet some cool people.
The next day we didn’t feel like getting up particularly early though and had a lazy morning. This was supposed to be our last day and we took a long walk out to the Eiffel Tower where we sat on the grass and enjoyed the sun like real Parisians. We also got crepes again at this little crepe and tea shop. These crepes were made with traditional buckwheat and I got egg and cheese in mine. After that we stopped at a little shop and got eclairs, mine was vanilla flavored and Brian’s was cafe flavored so they weren’t the traditional eclairs and weren’t that amazing but were still good. We also got baguettes for snacks on the night train. Then we walked along the Seine for a very long time, so basically we were walking all day and were very tired. We went back to the hostel and got our stuff and made it to the train station with 15 minutes to spare. Unfortunately we arrived at the wrong train station and neither of us noticed and then we had 15 minutes to get across Paris during May Day when half the roads were closed for demonstrations and parades and whatnot.
So as you can guess, we missed our train and the cheapest option for us was to take a flight out of Charles de Gaulle at 5:30pm the next day. So we booked the flight and found a relatively cheap and nice hostel on hostelbookers.com. Unfortunaetly check in closes at 8pm and it was now bordering on 9pm and we again had to travel across Paris to Montmartre where our hostel was. Luckily the staff took pity on us because we missed our train and because we booked online so they agreed to meet us. But then, as it tends to ahppen, when things start to go wrong, everything goes wrong and the subway services were interrupted. At that point we were tired and the hostel was waiting for us to arrive so we caught a cab and actually ended up sharing with another person because all the people trying to use the metro were now all on the side of the road trying to catch cabs to Montmartre. This actually worked in our favor because a 13 euro cab ride became a 6 euro cab ride, which was only 3 euros per person so it was all good. We fnally made it to the meeting point and the hostel staff showed us up to our apartment which was amazing. I don’t know why we didn’t stay there the whole time because it was a really nice apartment hostel with an amazing view out over the city. The beds were comfortable andf I got the best night’s sleep that I got since I arrived in Paris, it was clean, the other people staying there were all really nice and it had a large flat screen tv. We ate dinner and watched some House before heading off to bed.
The next day(our official last day in Paris) we got up late then got ready and checked out, dropped our bags off in a locker in the nearest train station for safe keeping them wandered around the shopping areas and ended up chillin’ in St. Germain’s church for about 45 minutes to kill time and rest lol. I ended up buying a copy of Le Petit Prince in a back alley bookstore:) We had a nice slow lunch and I got a omelette which was good but nothing to write home about. Then we had our last coffee in Paris before grabbing our bags and heading off to the airport. We had a very smooth check in and flight home and everything was smooth sailing once we got back to Milan as well.
All in all, Paris is one of my favorite places of all time and I can actually see myself living there. We didn’t encounter any rudeness there at all and I was very sad to leave although I was pretty exhausted and just wanted to be back in my own bed by the end. I think it really helps when you try to speak a little french and I did, although I’ve forgotten almost everything since high school and a lot of Italian leaked into my “French” when I was trying to communicate. But we didn’t have any problems, even when we wandered into back alley book shops. I could see myself living there:)
Anyways, now I am back and have to get back to studying and going to classes and stuff so my updates won’t be nearly as exciting. But you can check out hte pics from my trip in the photo gallery and on facebook and I will probably be uploading more in a couple of days when I get them from Brian.