Nearly a month after being in the beautiful and magical city that is Paris, I’m finally writing about it now. It’s hard. How do you describe Paris? If you’ve been there you know, and if you haven’t, well there is far greater literature than this blog that can put words to one of the world’s most beautiful cities. When I was 22 I actually passed through Paris by train on three separate occasions while backpacking through Europe, and I never stopped to explore. I figured the Eiffel Tower wasn’t going anywhere and I already smoked too much and read existentialist philosophy regardless of where I was, I didn’t need to be in Paris. Part of me can’t believe I just let the beauty of this city slide through my fingers, but just as much of me is happy I did. It was so wonderful to experience this place nine years later, with a little more money in my pocket and my boyfriend on my arm.
I think one of the reasons I didn’t explore Paris 9 years ago was because I just wasn’t that into sight seeing at the time. I was much too cool. Well, not any more–The Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame de Paris, Louvre, Versailles. We saw it all and everything, every last thing, took my breath away. I was humbled by the architecture and absolute vastness of each of these buildings. I feel at a loss for words trying to describe everything here, though I can say it reminded me why some people believe in God.
We stayed in three different neighbourhoods throughout our 6 day trip: Le Marais, Place de Clichy, and St. Denis. Not something that I would do again probably–move hotels every couple of nights–but that’s what we did. On the plus side we got to spend time in places we may have never ventured into. Le Marais is beautiful, it was described to me by my well travelled and very cool friend Laura as the place we would live/eat/shop/hang out in if we lived in Paris. And she was right. There were a ton of great boutiques that I didn’t buy anything in, but definitely enjoyed looking through. And the falafel. We were told my many it was the best in the world, and it didn’t disappoint. NB: if you go to Le Marais for the best falafel in the world (which I recommend you do), don’t be fooled by the falafel place with the big sign claiming to be the best in the world. You will know the right place when you see the massive line of people just a few shops down. Our second hotel was in Place de Clichy, another lively neighbourhood. We spent a lot less time here than we did in Le Marais, but the time we did spend was just as fun. There were so many great restaurants on our street alone. And St. Denis. It was an affordable place to stay, but hang out here at your own risk.
While we found walking around the city to be preferable–it saved us money and kept us active–Kurt and I did take a couple tours. There is no shortage of tours in Paris. In fact it’s probably one of most tour dense cities in the world. There is literally every kind of tour for every kind of person. What you chose really depends on your interests, your budget, your level of adventure, and how much of a dork you’re willing to look like. The first tour that Kurt I went on was a Seine River boat cruise. It came free with one of our hotel stays. From here in Canada we didn’t quite know what to expect, but upon arriving in Paris, it was pretty clear. The Seine is lined with these tour companies and it seems like there is a special price for you on every corner. The cruise itself was beautiful and relaxing. We had perfect weather and it was great to see all the beautiful buildings from another perspecitive. The other tour we went on was a Segway tour. Yes, you read right. Kurt has an incredibly odd fascination with segways, and because I’m a lame girlfriend, I’ve never humoured him in this particular fantasy. Until we got to Paris. I had no ego in Paris. I was never going to look as cool as the coolest women in the world, may as well look uncool on a segway. Truthfully, it was a lot of fun. Not fun enough that I’d do it in North America, but still fun. And the smile on Kurt’s face the whole tour was so totally worth it.
Most nights in Paris Kurt and I showed our age by being in our hotel drinking wine and eating cheese (me) by 8:30 and watching the Oscar Pistorius trial because it was the only thing on in English. I’d like to use the excuse that I had a terrible cold for our time in Paris, which is true, but I’m sure we would have found ourselves in the same spot if we were both in perfect health. But one night we did it right. We joined forces with an old friend from Victoria that I randomly ran into on the street and a new friend from California that I had met in Congo the week prior, and went to see Kurt Vile. He’s beautiful and seeing him in Paris with my boyfriend was truly a dream come true.
Like I said earlier, it’s a challenge to describe Paris, especially for an inarticulate hobby-blogger like myself. The three words I’d chose to describe the city of lights? Beautiful. Alive. Cheap. Ok. It’s not cheap at all, that’s a total lie. But it was way more inexpensive that I thought, which was awesome. I was actually going to go on and on here about how to save dollars while in Paris, but I’m tired of writing and I’m certain you’re tired of reading. Another post, until then, xo.