Wednesday, July 29, 2015

5 Days in Paris

The city of lights was not at all what I expected it to be. Sure, Paris may be romantic for some, but I was surprised to find how very commercial it is. I've always romanticized it as this sexy city, and it wasn't really that at all. We couldn't even get decent lingerie--and, trust me, we looked far and wide for it. What was most special to me about this city (and every European city I visited) were the experiences I shared with a great group of girls.

A friend recently said this and it stuck with me, "Paris is not how one imagines it. Many stars need to align for me to love Paris the way I want to," and now, after my own experience, I kind of have to agree. 

We were warned about pickpockets and purse snatchers and holding tight to our things especially around the Eiffel Tower. I didn't feel unsafe there, but we also didn't get too close. A walk along the River Seine at midnight is beautiful, but possibly hazardous. One bartender in Paris loved me because he thought I was Mexican; another hated me because I ordered a latte at midnight. "You want a latte?" Pause. "Now?" Pause. "At this time?"

"Yes, that's what I want, now, at this time," I told him, sweetly. He didn't like that. 

Day 1 went a little like this:
I took the train from London to Paris and then the Metro from the train station to the hotel (went the wrong way on the Metro, with my heavy ass bags, twice). Met the girls at the hotel and went out to explore a while later. We arrived on a day that there were parties, drinking and lots of trash in the streets: Fete de la Musique happens once a year and is a city-wide celebration that began in France but now takes place in over 120 cities. That night I had a Croque Madame (of course) and drank rose (of course, of course) and went to Le Comptoir Général, a bar/club/thrift store/lounge dancehall spot. So fun. 

Day 2:
Popped into a local cafe for pain de chocolat and a latte (don't ask for cafe au lait--they gave me cafe and no lait and then attitude when I asked where the milk was). Day 2 was gray as we traipsed around looking for tea and lingerie. Lots of rayon, lots of neon, nothing remotely sexy. Also, every salesperson looked at us like we were going to steal. I don't get it.

We had Eggs & Co. for brunch and Le 404 (Moroccan--finished off the meal with the most amazing mint tea) for dinner and the sun finally came out after we got rained on at the Jardin des Tuileries. For two (or was it three?) days in a row, we attempted to visit the catacombs, but gave up every time because the line that wrapped around the site was estimated at 2-3 hours long. 

Day 3:
One of the highlights, for me, in Paris was Deyrolle: a taxidermy store and museum of sorts--pictured above, although they have a strict no photos policy. Bought some cool little gifts here (only store I bought anything at this leg of the trip) and met an interesting old American man who told us to have lunch at the mall nearby. Le Bon Marche is not just any mall, though, and their "food court" is anything but a food court. Such a fab market with anything and everything you could possibly imagine sticking in your mouth, including personal-size bottles of wine. We sat on the steps of the mall with mozzerella, tomatoes, salami, fresh bread, and pink wine and as we ate, the cutest little nun offered a smile and a "Bon Appetit!" in passing. 

Can't remember who told us to go to Promenade plantée, stating that it was like New York City's Highline. It's similar in that it's an elevated linear park, but that's pretty much it. We walked up and down, taking in views of the city and then went back to our hotel to escape the heat. We split up that night: two of us went to Experimental Cocktail Club and two of us to a sex club, meeting back at the hotel to recap at the end of the evening. I'd say it was one of the more amusing bedtime convos I've had in a long while.

Day 4:
Desperate for color (almost everything in Paris is brown) we searched out a little cotton candy street called Rue Cremieux in the 12th arrondisement. From there, a trip to Montmartre, where we went to the Montmarte Cemetery and La Basilique du Sacré Cœur. This may have been my favorite day, and the best food day, in Paris. We did lunch at Le Coq Rico (one of CN Traveler's 50 Best Restaurants in Paris) and then dinner near our hotel at La Crêperie Josselin (another of CN Traveler's 50 Best).

Day 5:
We went to the Eiffel Tower and--20,000 Tour Eiffel selfies later--made a failed attempt to visit a magic store. We were thinking tarot, but instead found trick kits and David Blaine videos. This was the day, coincidentally, that taxis in Paris were striking against Uber. We left--we thought with plenty of time--to the airport. A Metro ride that should've been 45-minutes long ended up being three hours long. It got to the point that every time it stopped moving, people were jumping off the train and into the tracks--because it was cooler and much less claustrophobic outside than in--causing the driver to pull into the next Metro station and make all passengers get off and fend for themselves. We couldn't get a taxi or an Uber (duh) and our only option was to take one scary bus and then transfer to a slightly less scary bus in order to make it to Charles de Gaulle. We arrived to the airport two hours after our flight to Prague had left and Easy Jet (worst airline I've dealt with, probably ever) said there was nothing they could do for us or any of the other distraught passengers in line who'd also missed their flights due to the taxi/Uber issue.

We slept in the airport that night, and booked a one-way to Barcelona, and then another one-way from Barcelona to Prague. Almost 24 hours after we missed our original flight, we landed at Vaclav Havel. I have never been so happy to shower in my life. 


1 comment:

  1. Glad to see you are traveling through Europe. Firsthand experiences makes for a wiser person. It will either strengthen or weaken your political beliefs.


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