Being in Paris has felt like walking through mud. It’s impossible to move quickly here. It’s bizarre to think about how much I got done in Istanbul in the same amount of time. Then again, I’m tired now. I also know that I’ll be back here someday very soon, so there’s less pressure. In Istanbul it was, if not once-in-a-lifetime, then last-chance-for-a-very-long-time.
I feel like I have learned a lot for my future visits. For instance, today I learned how wacky French keyboards are. Since I jet off to Berlin tomorrow, I was trying to confirm my flight details. It was too hard to get to on my iPad with the hostel’s slow wifi, so I paid €1.50 for a half hour of Internet on their desktops. I spend a good 15 minutes of that simply trying to figure out how to type “@”.
It’s actually a very good thing I double checked my plans today, because I realized that I still had yet to book a flight back from Berlin to London. I don’t have a place to stay yet either, technically. I’m planning to just crash on the floor in the room of some students from my class. What’s the worst that could happen?
I hit the ground bright and early today. At 8:30, when I walked out the door, most things in Paris haven’t opened yet. I set off to see some stores per the recommendation of my friend Ann, and make it to a Paris Walks tour of the Left Bank/Latin Quarter by 11:00.
The stores, of course, weren’t open when I arrived. Fortunately, there was a really sweet cafe next door. I had a coffee and sat on the streets, doing some sketches. I’ve been feeling like Paris is one big tourist hive, but this was finally a place that felt a little local. I couldn’t understand the conversations, but everyone greeted and seemed to know one another who came and went while I was there.
The stores were nice and the clothes were very, very French but just a little out of my price range. I saw one shirt with the horizontal navy-and-white strips and a big red bow that was adorable and not too expensive, so I thought I’d take some time to think about it and maybe come back later.
I arrived at the meeting point for the Paris Walks two minutes late and they were nowhere in sight. I realized later that I actually had a very outdated brochure, and there wasn’t even a walk at that time.
I hadn’t brought my guide books or my maps today. I was planning to do the walking tour and then head to Versailles. Now I had no idea what to do or where to go.
I went to a cafe that advertised wifi and ordered a coffee. After I sat down, I was told that they actually didn’t have wifi. This meant that after said coffee and croissant, I had to go to another cafe and buy something else to try to get some Internet access.
I was eventually found a place with Internet and, as it was about lunch time, it didn’t works out so badly. I found out that the tour I actually wanted to take was at 2:30, which was about 2 hours away. The Conciergerie has reopened that day, and since it was nearby the meeting point for the tour, I decided to head there.
It’s pretty sweet being an art student in France. Tickets are free everywhere.
The Conciergerie was really interesting. It just sends chills down your spine to walk through it. The recreation of Marie Antoinettes cell was good, but I thought the chapel built where she was kept was better. And of course,the courtyard where all of the executions were done… Wow.
I went back towards Notre Dame to wait when I saw people on top. The building. When I went before I had assumed you couldn’t go up because there were no signs about it and I didn’t think I’d seen anyone up there. However, there were hundreds of people in line on a Saturday afternoon. It’s one of those things that must be best to do right as it opens. I’ll know that for next time, when I go with my sister.
The tour I had been interested in was of the Left Bank. It was a good tour. The guide was funny and informative, and bore an uncanny resemblance to a friend of mine from Kansas City.
By the end of the tour, I wasn’t feeling so well. It had been creeping up to me all day. Maybe my stomach isnt used to all of the rich french food. It was early, but I decided it would be best to have dinner and head back to the hostel.
As I was returning, I passed a store I hadnt seen before. I think I had been leaving so early and coming back so late that it had just always been closed qnd shuttered. It was a small, cluttered antique or vintage store. It was only open for another 10 minutes, but I stopped in. Among the odd piles of knicknacks, I found the most amazing dress. It is vintage and made in France. It was much cuter and much cheaper than the shirts I had been looking at earlier. The condition is like brand new, I wouldnt be suprised if it had never been worn. It has vertical blue and white stripes, red buttons, a red belt, and a little petticoat. I love it. There was a cute spring jacket as well, but I have neither the money nor luggage space for any more purchases.
Thats the end of my trip to Paris. I didnt see as much as I had wanted, but I have a pretty good idea of how to be more efficient next time. I hope the wifi is better at the next hostel.