At 10:30 Kate and I departed from the new London St Pancras train station for a eurostar trip through the chunnel. Wow, the spell-check did not like that sentence. Anyway, we arrived in Paris and navigated the metro system quite simply. It was really easy to get to our hotel in the Marais district. And man, Paris felt like a whole other world. A beautiful, magical world.
Our hotel was quaint, tiny and secluded in the middle of everywhere. And yet – as we learned the first night – not so much off the beaten path. I did not sleep in Paris, and that was not because I was out until dawn. It was because every high heel and vespa traveling down the Rue St-Paul echoed like a shot in a soda can.
After an amazing sandwich (they don’t screw around with bread there) we set off to explore. We walked down to the Ile St-Louis and Ile de Cite, and stopped into Notre Dame. I’ve seen pictures. But seeing it in person – it was amazing. And I am not a religious person, or even someone who necessarily believes in god, but it’s a very interesting and beautiful place. It has an almost inexplicable – essence, I guess. That sounds cheesy, but I hope it gets the point across.
We wandered for about an hour looking for a place to eat, and ended up at a small cafe off the beaten path. The food was not so good, but still the atmosphere was perfect.
Wednesday Kate was not feeling so well, so we decided to do our own things in the morning. I fit a serious amount of sightseeing into one morning. I navigated metro delays to get over to see the Eiffel Tower from the Trocadero, and got a great photo. Then I walked up to the Arc D’ Triomphe, and then caught a glimpse of the Champs Elesee (I clearly cannot spell French words). Then another trip on the Metro up to Montmarte.
I hiked up to see Sacre Couer. The view from up there was incredible. Beautiful. The whole city, out there, with that amazing architecture and winding layout. The streets of Montmarte mirrored the city, twisting around, leading to dead ends of French graffiti that was probably saying something lame but, by virtue of being in French, seemed almost sophisticated.
After an hour up there, I headed over to the Louvre, and saw the biggies – Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo. Kate and I were to meet near the pyramid at 1:30, but due to a bit of a time confusion, we met up at 2. We walked more, and settle back into the hotel with amazing chocolates. I stepped out later for my best meal of the trip – french onion soup and a good glass of wine.
Thursday we got breakfast and then split up again to wander – this time I spent most of my time on Ile St-Louis. I hope to stay there the next time I visit Paris. Then, after a bit of an adventure attempting to get to the train station on time, we got out of the City just in time to avoid the labor riots.
I loved Paris. I am already listing out what I want to see when I go back.