Ah Paris – the land of high fashion, old and beautiful architecture, croissants, and people. Lots, and lots of people. I booked a trip to Paris with only one goal in mind: visit Disneyland Paris. Anything else was extra, and to be honest Paris was so large it overwhelmed me. I didn’t spend much time in the city because after Disney there was only one day left to explore, so perhaps I didn’t give Paris a chance.
With that said, I don’t see myself returning anytime soon.
Maybe it was the absolutely insane central train station where I had to wait multiple times to get onto a train because people were crammed so tight into the doorways the train doors struggled to shut, and when I did manage to get onto a train my backside was pressed up against the crotch of a complete stranger like a sardine in a can – maybe it was the endless tourists that flooded the streets – or maybe it was the aggressive seagulls that tainted my view of Paris (I’m not kidding, these birds were SAVAGE.)
One may never know why I didn’t fall in love with Paris like all the other souls in this world.
In all honesty the train situation was so unreal I couldn’t stop laughing. I literally thought I was in an episode of punk’d. There is no way that kind of train cramming can be legal. I had locals laughing with me because I just couldn’t stop. My first mistake on this trip was spending the night in the airport the night/morning of departure. I did this when I traveled to London in October, but I physically cannot do this ever again. I didn’t sleep at all, so our first day was spent sleeping.
The view from our Air B&B was great though.
We chose a place near the Eiffel Tower because this was where we were catching a shuttle to Disneyland from. Come to find out this area of town is very touristy and quite frankly it was ugly. I loved the view from our flat though. After we slept for over thirteen hours, we woke up the day after we arrived and spent eight hours at Disneyland Paris. Read more about that here.
The day after Disney we had until around 1600 to explore the city, so to maximize time we bought tickets for a hop on, hop off bus. This allowed us to briefly see all the main attractions of Paris. We only got off the bus at two spots: The Louvre, and Notre Dame. I did enjoy the island where Norte Dame lives, and wish I’d had more time there.
Other notable stops on the bus were the opera house, where the inspiration for Phantom of the Opera originated (ok that was cool), Moulin Rouge, and the Arc de Triomphe. Learning Hitler and his troops marched around this Arc was an interesting piece of historical knowledge.
Everything was so rushed and fast while exploring Paris, I feel like there is a chance my first impression was skewed, but I also know myself and I know I don’t like big cities. I would like to have had time to find a small neighborhood cafe on the outskirts of the shopping and tourists to enjoy a croissant with coffee, alas I had a date with a crammed train to get to the airport to pick up a rental car for the second half of my trip to France.
More on that in my next post.
The morning before we toured around on the bus was quite nice, and we walked to a local bakery for croissants and coffee. On the way we passed an outdoor market where I bought two apples. The man that sold me the apples spoke broken English, enough to ask where we were from. I always tell people I’m from Canada, and he was delighted by this.
France and Canada are homies.
Next to the bakery where we bought breakfast there was a Starbucks. I haven’t bought a Starbucks since I moved to Europe last January, but I was in need of reliable coffee. It was the best decision I had made in regards to coffee all week. We enjoyed our Air B & B view with quiet stillness the morning before rushing off for the busy day of sightseeing.
The slow, quiet moments are what I long for when traveling. A lot of the travel I’ve done the last year has been very fast and rushed. It’s the name of the game when you go somewhere once a month with only 5-6 days to do so (including two of those for travel.) I have learned I am better off visiting one place on these trips, but I never do that. I always think I can cram something else into the trip which ends up leaving me exhausted and never really letting my nervous system calm down.
I learn a lot while traveling, like what I do and don’t like, and I look forward to traveling after I am done working in Germany when I can truly soak in the places I visit. Perhaps these teasers are just to let me know where I’d like to return. All in a days work.
Q: Have you been to Paris? If so, what did I miss (aside from like…everything.)