Due to the events of my trip to Prague and Paris back in August/September of 2011, I feel that Paris got a bum rap from me. Therefore, I am revisiting my memories with a different perspective. I do love Paris. I love the buildings. I love the hustle and bustle of a metropolis. I love how the women are dressed so wonderfully. I love the little cafes and the innumerable crepe carts, boulangeries, and brasseries. I love the Seine and hanging out on a bridge and watching it go by. I love Montmartre. I love the Louvre. And as cheesy and cliché as it is, I do love the Eiffel Tower not just as a structure but the history of it.
If you ever get the chance to go, as touristy as it sounds, you really do need to check these places out:
The Louvre: Amazing art. In order to not get art overload, pick the pieces you want to see most and check those out. Don’t stop too much on your way to them or else you will get seriously side tracked. Seriously. Definitely make time to see Napoleon’s apartments in the Louvre. They are stunningly not humble. This is a place you want to get to early in the morning because by 11am it’s a zoo, especially if you plan on seeing the Mona Lisa. Get up early, get a croissant and coffee to go, and get in through the mall under the Louvre to beat the line at the pyramid. Just remember: The Louvre is insanely big. You will NOT see everything in one day and if you try to, your head will explode.
The Sacré Cœur and Montmartre: Again, this is a place you want to visit in the early morning because it stunningly white and beautiful in the morning. I’ll admit that I wanted to visit this area because of the movie Amelié. Oddly, there was no man pretending to be a statue when I arrived at the top. Or Nino. Shucks. Be wary of artists drawing your portrait as you enjoy an espresso at a cafe in Montmartre: they will schiest you. Just tell them to go away because they will convince you that if you don’t like it you don’t have to pay them, which is untrue. Don’t even start downthat road. But do walk around all the quaint streets on the hill. It’s definitely magical. Except for the birds.
Seine/Canals: Ride a bike along them. The locals do everything from picnics, pétanque (or boules), general milling about, long walks, kayaking, and napping along the waters that flow through the city. I had the chance to take quite the nice nap with my friend Thibault next to the St Denis canal and also picnic on a bridge over the Seine one crazy evening. It was awesome to see how the city comes alive at night along the waterways.
Bicycles: There is seriously no better way to get around a city and see a crap ton than on a bicycle. The first day in I did a bicycle tour with Fat Tire Bicycle Tours. It is definitely worth the €30. I was able to get a handle on how the streets worked and where everything was by biking. The rest of my stay I had a Véib’ subscription for a week. Again, the €8 to be able to ride a bike all over the city was totally worth it. Note: the first 30 minutes of riding are free. What I did to get around was ride for 20ish minutes, find a station, check it back in, then check it back out. Ta-da! Another free 30 minutes! I must say though, do NOT ride your bike on the Champ Élysées. That was pretty crazy. Oh yeah…make sure to inspect the bikes beforeyou check them out. There were quite a few that had issues.
- Eiffel Tower: I regret not going up it. That says alot. Be a tourist. GO UP IT! Hit one of the farmers markets (they happen everyday all over the city), get a picnic together, and go hang out on the Champs de Mars (the largest public greenspace in Paris) with the Eiffel Tower and the tons of Parisians and tourists that visit this structure. Built in 1889 for the World’s Fair, it is a great example of what some smarts can do. Also, catch it at night when they turn the lights on. It’s stunningly beautiful. Fall in love with it. It’s hard not to.
This isn’t it for Paris, kids. This is your warm up. Part II is in the works.