So we thought, Paris in two days. How hard can it be? Turns out, it’s next to impossible.
All I can say is we did all that we could. Which also means that no, we probably didn’t see the obscure thing/your favorite part of the city/that one secret cafe everyone cool knows about it. We didn’t really get to know the city, but I feel that we successfully completed “Paris: A Beginner’s Guide.”
Our hotel was close to Gare de Nord and Gare de L’Est (two train stations), which was great for early morning trains to London (like we did today) but unfortunately was not great for going into town. We were about 20 or 30 minutes from city center by metro.
But … just for the record, I love metros. You never know what you are going to get: the cute baby gurgling at you from across the aisle, the really good violin player who is just busking for a few extra dollars, or that one window that gives you a fun house mirror reflection (I kept having to remind myself that there were people around so I probably shouldn’t make all of those crazy facial expressions I so enjoy).
Sure, you get the occassional creeper/homeless man, or claustrophobia-inducing packs of people (sometimes you are so smushed up against your neighbor that you permanently acquire their stank on your clothes). But still.
Gina, on the other hand, does not like metros. She hates not being able to see the light, which is totally understandable. Therefore, going everywhere on metros is not her cup of tea. So we tried to maximize our time in the city and minimize our time on the trains.
On our first day in Paris, we walked from the Louvre to the Eiffel Tower. From the outside, the Louvre is just plain massive. I had no idea how big it was. We got lost just trying to find the glass pyramid.
Once we successfully took several touristy pictures by it, we wandered along the Seine River, passing buildings we wouldn’t really understand until the next day on our Sandeman walking tour.
Then we spotted it.
There it was, peaking out over the tree tops, appearing and reappearing between low rooves: The Eiffel Tower.
When we finally reached it, it truly was awe-striking; this huge, metal structure that we have all seen a million times in movies/postcards/posters/calendars. It’s iconic. I felt like I was meeting a celebrity, and I didn’t quite know what to say.
Gina and I just sat beneath it and looked up observing all of its parts and pieces up close. We decided to save walking to the top for when we returned with our significant others. Gina and I love each other, for sure, but we felt the walk to the top was for real lovers.
The next day, we walked around for 4ish hours on the Sandeman New Europe free walking tour. We saw all the major sights on the Axis of Paris, and we saw the Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe, the Montmartre Sacre-Coeur Church (from a distance), and many many more that I should know but have honestly just forgotten their names.
My favorite was the Bridge of Artists (Pont des Arts) that connects the Lourve to the Institut de France (the building that preserves the French language from the evil English). It had all of these artists working on different paintings down the middle, and the sides were covered in small locks hooked to the chain link edges. Couples put the locks there to “lock in” their love; they precede to throw the keys into the Rhine to show that their love is forever.
I was torn between thinking the “lock in the love” concept was gaggable and thinking it was kind of adorable. I suppose it’s a little bit of both? (I’m leaning more toward vomitous to be honest.)
Overall, Paris really was beautiful. However, this trip has taught me a vital lesson: I am not a big city person. I would love to live in the outskirts of a city, so I could go in when I like. But, I don’t think I could live in one and have to deal with the smog/crowds/crazy shenaniganry (a Jessie word) of a large city on a daily basis.
The other problem is that when we have limited time to visit a place, big cities are just harder to conquer. We can’t see it all in one day.
But I digress. After our walking tour, we decided to head to the inside of the Lourve. We arrived with two hours to see it all before it would close. Oh dear.
Now, I should say from the outset that Gina and I are not really art people. I love to look at it, but I don’t appreciate it as I should. I even told Gina that I feel guilty sometimes being in these amazing art museums, when I can’t begin to know the significance of the various works. So we definitely didn’t do the Lourve justice (when Gina read this she said Lourve justice sounds like a bad dance move…hee hee).
We wandered through the various exhibitions that we found interesting such as this makeshift city made from Palestinian and Israeli stones. We found the armless wonder of Venus de Milo. And of course, we stumbled upon the Mona Lisa. (That’s sarcasm. You can’t stumble upon the Mona Lisa in the Lourve. There are about a million signs wither her face on them and large, child-like arrows to lead the herd of cattle who have come to see nothing else.)
To really understand the craziness of the Mona Lisa, read Gina’s post. But it was kind of just like the pictures I have always seen only … smaller. It’s practically 8 x 10. It was really cool, but I couldn’t get within 10 feet, so I couldn’t really study it, you know? And I think I elbowed several elderly people and squashed some small children to get that close. (Collateral damage, you know.)
After the Louvre, we ate some dinner in a nearby French bistro where the wine was literally cheaper than the water. Oh, France.
Today, we are on our way to London (we had to get up at 6:30 a.m., so if this post is particularly snarky, you know why … me + mornings = not friends).
We can’t believe that we are on the final leg of the trip. We are back where we started! We leave the day after tomorrow. That feels weird to even type. And I will be honest with you folks, we cannot wait to be back in America. For now, we are just excited to be in an English speaking country (small victories).
With love from the most romantic city of all: Paris!