I slept pretty well in the hostel, all things considered. Maybe it was the migraine or the migraine medication, or maybe vacationing with my dad had prepared me for this, but I slept soundly through the loudest snoring you could possibly imagine. Seriously, the only reason I even know about it is because in heard it when I woke up to go the the bathroom. It was like a pissed off mother grizzly bear.
When I left at 4 in the morning, I know I woke everyone up because I all three snorers stopped. But I had slept in my clothes and I was out of the room in less than 3 minutes, so I don’t feel too badly.
The walk to St Pancras was nice. The weather in London (and Paris) has been lovely, if a little rainy. it’s been warmer than Istanbul, which is all I care about. I can deal with a little damp.
i was feeling wide awake and well rested, even. Since my trips had all been so close together, I hadn’t had time to plan for aris like I had for Istanbul. Fortunately, Alec and Alice had lent me a guidebook for Paris and I was planning to do a little research on the train.
That didn’t happen. I think I was back asleep before I even hit my seat. I remember nothing of the train ride. I woke up as we arrived at Paris Gard du Nord. I had no idea where the train station is (in relation to Paris proper), where my hostel was, or where to go. I wandered around for quite a while trying to get euros and a metro pass, because none of the machines in the station were compatible with my credit card. Here, your card has to have a chip rather than a stripe.
I got on a subway that seemed like it was going towards the city. The first thing I wanted to do was find somewhere with wifi that I could sit down and eat breakfast, and figure out wheAndy hostel was.
I got off one stop before Ile de la Cite, thinking it would be easier to find a cheap cafe off the island. It was close enough to walk to afterwards and start knocking items off my list: Notre Dame, Saint Chapelle, the Conciergerie, and the Memorial des Martyrs de la Déportation.
The place I stopped for breakfast may have been more of a bar, it’s hard to tell. But they had espresso and croissants, so I was happy. I was the only patron there, so I chatted with the only employee. He was a nice French man who had lived in California and New York for a few years. He told me that I absolutely had to see Versailles while I was here. I had been on the fence about it. I mean, I definitely want to see it, but since I’m planning to take several more trips to Paris soon I wasn’t sure if I’d see it this time.
as it turns out, he lives near the palace, so we might meet up on Saturday. He offered to show me around.
after breakfast, I set out for Sainte Chapelle. When I had been home in Brighton I had finally received my international student ID, and not a moment too soon. Student discounts don’t exist in Turkey, but here in France they really like art students. My admission to Sainte Chapelle was free, so I sprung for the €4 audio guide.
It was gorgeous. I had been blown away by photos of this place when I learned about it in At History, and it did not disappoint in real life. Unfortunately, it was undergoing some restoration. They’re working on different sections of it until 2014. You could see windows that they had already worked on, and windows that they hadn’t… the difference was monumental. I can’t begrudge them the work, even if the scaffolding was a little intrusive. I’m glad I got to see the restored parts of it at all.
the Conciergierie has mysteriously been closed for a few weeks, but it will be open again on Saturday. I was a little disappointed I couldn’t see it while I was right there, but I suppose I’m lucky that it will be open during my trip at all.
Notre Dame was excellent. I was really hoping to be able to climb up to the top, but it didn’t appear to be a possibility. Again, I sprung for the audio tour. The history of these places is so fascinating. I love gothic architecture.
I wish I wasn’t so tired today. My bag isn’t big, but carrying it around hasn’t helped at all. I went to see the Memorial des Martyrs de la Déportation, which was pretty intense. It’s the first holocaust memorial I’ve been to. I took an art history course about the history of antisemitism in art, and a history course about the holocaust in film. It was really bizarre and moving to be in that space. I can’t imagine what Poland is going to be like.
i checked into my hostel in Montmartre. All I wanted to do was sleep, but it was early and I was in paris. I took some time to rest and regroup, do some writing, and decided to just head out for dinner in the area. It’s a pretty neat arrondissement. This is the place where most of e artists and impressionists lived, and some of the streets here make me really think of the impressionist cityscapes of Paris.
After asking at reception where a good place might be to eat, I set out for dinner. I figured tonight could be my night to have a good French meal, take it easy and have a good nights sleep. I haven’t seen the people in the other beds in my room, but based on my ugh age I’m guessing they’re both girls. Based on my two previous hostel experiences, this is a good thing.
I’m not sure which French restaurant I set out to find, but I’m really happy with the one I ended up at. The escargot was so good. I’d been craving it basically since I left Kansas City 47 days ago, and the payoff was great. Unfortunately I was too eager to eat it and burnt my mouth a bit, but I don’t even care. Totally worth it. I had duck for my main and creme brûlée for dessert.
It was early for dinner but I was hungry and tired. I was the only person in the restaurant when I arrived, but e before long a dinner crowd began to appear. Two ladies were seated next to me and speaking in English, and soon we struck up a conversation. Zuma, a French lady, and Barbara, a Vermont/French lady, were awesome. Although they were having appetizers while I was having dessert, we had such a good conversation going that we left at the same time. The women took me on an excellent walking tour of Montmartre, which I hadn’t had a good chance to look around yet. I saw the fabulous Eiffel Tower for the first time, and all the charms and beautiful cafes that Paris had to offer.
if I wasn’t sold on Paris before (and I was admittedly tired and cranky, not sold) this little tour completely changed my mind. I think I get it now. Paris is beautiful and I cannot wait for tomorrow.