April of 2008, Boot Size 9
My dear readers,
About two months ago I had posted my travel bucketlist, and a commenter (Yay! Someone actually commented!) had found it amusing that I intend to give Paris a second chance…
Oh Paris. You’re so famous for your fashion, your food, and you picturesque city shots. What most people don’t know it is it a lie! A lie I tell you!
For my April vacation I decided to visit my sister who was studying abroad in London, England. In addition to exploring what England had to offer, my father had bought my sister and I train tickets to Paris, France for one day. We’d get up, train in early in the morning, explore Paris (mainly explore the Louvre, our dream museum), and then train back. My sister and I were thrilled. Both of us spoke French (she knew more than I did though), and we planned ahead. Paris? Oh yeah we wanted to go in style! Dressing fancy, but with sensible shoes – ho!!!
Well… It didn’t turn out as fantastic as we’d planned. Here is some very important information you should know if you’re planning to go to Paris for the day.
#1: Remember to actually check the weather
Okay, yeah, this one was our bad. We forgot the check the weather before we left to make sure it wasn’t going to be a constant shift between gray and drizzly to heavy rains. Nevertheless, we arrived in Paris and we were immediately freezing; I in my adorable Italian three-quarter shirt, and my sister in her unbelievably beautiful, one-hundred euro, silk, hand-embroidered jacket. Thankfully I had the sense to bring my ratty sweatshirt so I gallantly sacrificed my warm to protect my sister’s one-hundred percent silk jacket. With that we made our way to the Eiffel Tower.
#2: Avoid purchasing from the street vendors
This one we didn’t have much of a choice. It was raining and I was freezing. Due to the time zone differences, and our extreme poor-ness, we waited for hours for our father to wake up and put money on my card so we could afford to buy and umbrella…
… Or something. I was freezing, thus didn’t really care.
With a smidgen of money on my card we made our way to our first destination: the Eiffel Tower. Teeth chattering, we saw a vendor selling Paris sweatshirts. Suffice to say we made a beeline for it. Thirty euros later (essentially sixty bucks American back then), and I was encased on a fluffy, warm sweatshirt. While yes, I love the sweatshirt, the price still makes me want to sob uncontrollably.
No longer dying from hypothermia, the skies cleared longer enough to take the required pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower. It seems that fate wanted to let us to experience at least one aspect of visiting France. Shortly after we got our pictures in, it began to rain again. So we took shelter in a little café and ate some quiche and drank coffee; one of the few good things that happened that day… the food. It was then that my sister and I learned the worst thing about Paris.
#3: Paris is closed on Tuesdays
I shit you not.
All museums and other attractions that one goes to Paris for (at least for the first visit), are closed. Why Tuesday? I have no freaking clue. But our hopes fell one by one as we flipped through a local book checking the hours for anything we could go and visit. There wasn’t much to see. We trotted over to Notre Dame Cathedral, and yet again the weather shifted long enough to allow up a few pictures before opening up and drenching up once more. Of course, we couldn’t explore because it was closed to visitors.
No Louvre, no Orsay Museum… The two museums we went to Paris for, and we got zilch.
#4: When you’re strapped for cash… Don’t lose your train ticket
Yep. That happened. Paris train tickets are teeny weeny. No joke. I was I’d gotten a picture of the thing before it fell out of my pocket somewhere around the Jean D’Arc church. We thought there would have been some cool architecture there, or some statues to honor Joan of Arc… Yeah it was rather boring and we only spent a few minutes there. But making our way back to the train station I discovered that my train ticket was missing. And we only had a few Euros left. In the end a helpful train station worker helped us get the cheapest possible ticket to let us return to the train station, where we then found an internet cafe and just… stayed inside and out of the train.
There were a few pros. The food we got was delicious, and the weather liked to give up a few moments every time we reached what few sites we got to see. Other than that… we were rather cold, rather wet, and rather miserable.
So take heed fellow travelers! If you intend to take a daytrip from the UK to another country on a Tuesday, don’t go to Paris. You will not have much to do if you want to see the classic sites.
Would I go to Paris again? Of course. Unfortunately it was bad luck on our side that caused our misery, and a second visit would be better planned and probably more fulfilling. I still desperately wish to see the Louvre, and not have to shelter myself from the rain to appreciate the architecture of Paris.
But, overall thoughts on the trip my sister and I had taken to Paris? I believe this picture summarizes it well…
With finals over, I’m diving headlong into summer. With this there are adventures to go on, conventions to attend, and a webshow to begin with my best friend, Panda! Expect more posts now that hopefully the stress will be dying down and I will have a chance to write all about my experiences.
Until my next adventure,