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victorious Jun 15th, 2006 06:43 AM

That Paris trip report
 
Hi yall I'll go ahead and warn that this is a REALLY REALLY long one. So you know my prespective I was alone and I'm 24 love to go to clubs and bars but since my time in Paris was all during the week I didn't party that much but still had a great time but because I was still a little jet lagged it was tiring too.

I arrived into Paris by train from London. It was around 10:00 ish and tried to take the bus to my hotel but got on the the 65 bus which goes right to the Bastille but I got on the one going in the wrong direction by the time I realized this I was about a mile from the train station. Then I find out that the bus going to the Bastile was out of service. Being too cheap for a cab I decided to walk back to the train station. In hind sight I should've taken a cab I didnt' realize just how far I was from the train station. Also I was carrying 40 pounds of luggage and the neighborhood while not really bad wasn't filled with tourists either and I always feel vulnerable when I'm walking around with heavy luggage by myself. But it was a fine uneventful walk. Lesson learned take the metro to the hotel or a cab and take the bus after youve oriented yourself to the city a little more.


I stayed at the Daval Hotel. It's in the Bastille neighborhood. I think it's a really lively neighborhood. When I got off the metro it was almost midnight. But people were out and about eating and drinking outside at the many restaurants that are in the neighborhood. The room was 68 euros for a single. The shower is really tiny but I managed. The elevator is tiny too. The maximum said three but only two people could be comfortable only without luggage. I actually walked right by it thinking it was a broom closet and not an elevator. The best feature was the French balcony. I loved getting up in the morning opening the French doors and looking out onto the street.

The next day was a fairly nice Wednesday.

After giving visa a small workout on Rue Rival I was off to the Louvre. And it had been one of those nail biter will it go through moments too. Yíall know what Iím talking about, but it went through which is good since I donít know French for ďYour card was declined go away.Ē

I didnítí realize how close I was to the Seine. Thatís when I saw the Eifel Tower for the first time and I knew I had arrived. It was one of those Kelly Clarkson ďA moment like thisĒ moments. I walked along the seine and marveled at my good fortune. I get to the Louvre but it takes me a good minute to figure out where the entrance is. Look for the glass pyramids yall.

However on Wednesdays after 6:00 there's a discount so I decided to wait and headed for the Arc du Triomphe. From the Louvre I walked up the champ de elysse which I definitely recommend. It's so...Paris. I donít if itís because there were so many people in town for soccer game between England and Barcelona or what but there was a line to get into the Louis Vouttan store so if yall just gotta have an LV bag from Paris bring a book cause the line was kinda long. Now this isnít a long line at the register this is to just get into the store. I didnít know if I was walking past a store or a nightclub. There were the sidewalk cafes and restaurants the whizzing traffic the exclusive designer shops like I said it was just sooooo Paris.

I decided to forgo paying like 8 euros or so to go to the top of the Arc du Triomphe and opted for the Sacre Coeur. It overlooks Paris and offers a fantastic view for free!

After Sacre Coeur I found myself in the neighborhood to the east of Sacre Coeur versus the picturesque neighborhood west of Sacre Coeur. Very different nieghborhoods mostly African immigrants with markets and lots of hustle and bustle. In Europe in general neighborhoods with lots of immigrants are great places to call home there's stores with phone booths to call home for a relatively low rate. Beats paying a bazillion dollars a minute on your cell.

I did the Louvre the next cause I was so tired that I didnt' go back that night for the discounted rate. Oh and if you're in Paris on a Friday night it's free for those under 26. It'll be super crowded I assume but nothing beats free.

I liked the Louvre. My fav at the Louvre? No not the Mona Lisa. I found her to be rather plain and hardly impressive but seeing the Mona Lisa is still something you should do Just have a glimpse say that you were there and saw the most famous painting on earth. I'm sure there are those who disagree about her being plain and unimpressive and that's ok. And if you read the Da Vinci Code or even the Rick Steveís guidebook for Paris itís explained why sheís so famous but itís still beyond me. I really liked the statues and the Napolean rooms. I've always had a thing for sculptures. All in all I really liked the Louvre and appreciated it's less famous exhibits more than anything. And I love the pyramids. Oh and have your walking shoes on the Louvre is unbelievably huge.

I really liked the Pompidou it was neat. I like modern art. And once again there's a great view on the top floor. The fact that I donít have as much to talk about tells you that it wasnít the greatest in the world the Moma in New York is by far way better. And I hate the layout. But was it worth my time and money yes. I still enjoyed it.

The Eifel tower was saved for last. I went to the top floor for 11 euros. But if you want to be cheap you can take the stairs up for like 4 euros 3 and some change if youíre a student. The view on the 3rd floor to me is actually better than at the top because you can see things a little better and you can still see the entire city too. So if money is tight walk up the stairs. I spent so much time up top though. It was the perfect way to end my trip. I took over 100 pictures. The weather wasn't great and it was raining but despite the rain the view is great and there was a long line.

Now I loved H&M. But for something more upscale there's Galeries Lafayatte it has a really fancy grocery and bakery attached. It's like a Whole Foods and Bloomingdales combined. Also thereís Printemps which is like Macyís but the Macyís back home doesnít havenít Armani though so thereís a bit of Bloomingdales stuff there too. There are free maps from the tourist office that has a 10% off coupon but personally the clothes in Paris at least menís clothes and what I saw of the ladies stuff they're like the clothes back home. But at the same time I realize that vacation is that time for splurging getting the overpriced pants or shirt that you wouldnít dare touch back home. All the stores Iíve mentioned can be found in a little area on Boulevard Haussmann in the 9th arrondissement.

If you're into pastries I say check out Galeries Lafayette which is a little more upscale. If anything just look at the really pretty cupcakes I bought one for 4 euros it was ok but at the same time way different and with more layers than an ordinary cupcake. This is the only bit of French food I had. So I'm glad I did it. Other than that I did just like I do in America lived off McDonalds and Burger King so I'm not the one to turn to for advice on that great French restaurant.

Also Paris is not as bad some will make it out to be. It's not that dirty if you're in the city instead of the suburbs. It;'s expensive but worth it. The people weren't rude to me. Every one was nice. In the end if youíre nice to people theyíre nice back. The French to me arenít really arrogant just nationalistic exactly like Americans.

And no Paris wasn't my favorite city in Europe but I enjoyed it and would definately recommend going. You gotta see Paris this is like the most touristed city in Europe. So I say go and see what the fuss is about then form your own opinion.

Terrence


francophile03 Jun 15th, 2006 11:49 AM

Taxis are expensive but (to me) they are well worth the cost for the convenience.

Although Paris isn't your favorite city it seemed like you made the most out of your visit.

Travelnut Jun 16th, 2006 06:28 AM

Sounds like you rebound well when you make a 'wrong turn' somewhere...
Agree with you about Mona and the Louvre (huge!)...
Next time, try some French 'fast food', like the walk-up boulangerie counters...pizza, quiche, sandwiches and more pastries.
The buses are great, once you learn how to use the maps and all. (but agree it can be confusing when you're new).

jamesandi Jun 27th, 2006 10:34 AM

Dude - your trip reports ROCK!!!!!!!
Great little tips! You write the way you speak --AWESOME!!!!!!

amwosu Aug 29th, 2006 02:52 PM

And it had been one of those nail biter will it go through moments too. Yíall know what Iím talking about, but it went through which is good since I donít know French for ďYour card was declined go away.Ē

LOVE IT!!! Thanks for the laugh and the report.

BowenLinda Aug 29th, 2006 04:52 PM

Terrence, oh to be 24 and in Paris! I really enjoyed your report. Not too long by any means, and with a real flair for language. Also fantastic to hear from someone at the other end of the age spectrum. Keep writing.

L


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