It’s typical that once I’ve found a mild solution to getting around on one leg, (see previous post), my friends have to get down to some serious end of year revision. I’m starting to feel imprisoned and going more than a little bit stir crazy as a result of the subsequent isolation. So I thought I’d distract myself by writing about some of my, as of yet, undocumented travels from the 2 weeks before deciding to step on and fall off a skateboard.
“One day I’m gonna live in Paris.” People say (and sing) it all the time, but I’m serious. If there’s no job waiting for me straight out of uni, then why the hell not? I may not have considered the issues of funding this move but hey, the language skills are (basically) there so at least I’d be able to talk the talk. With a grand total of 5 days, this trip to the French capital was quite a long one, yet still not quite long enough. We rented a cute apartment near Gare de Lyon, the owner of which was definitely a stereotypical bohemian creative type, (no objections here though!) She had home made art all over her walls, lots of strange collections, including a bunch of very freaky marionette puppets… and some serious film and philosophy books. Just as a bonus there was also a friendly cat in the shared courtyard that would always follow us into the apartment in an attempt to get his belly scratched.
There is always so much to see in Paris, especially if you’re doing the tourist-y things all in one go, like we did. I’ve seen all the big sites before but I was happy to be pretty laid back and just go along with whatever my fellow non-European travellers wanted to see. So on our touristy tick list was: les Catacombes, le jardin des Tuileries, la Tour Eiffel, Montmartre, la Basilique du Sacré Coeur, le Panthéon, le Musée du Louvre, le Musée d’Orsay, l’Orangerie, l’Arc de triomphe and le Cathédrale Notre Dame. We had beautifully sunny weather for about 90% of our stay, but being the weirdo that I am, I couldn’t help but dream about sitting in the jardin des Tuileries in the pouring rain under a huge umbrella. (Perfection.)
Even though I’ve lived in France since September, so in theory I should have some level of restraint, I managed to truly outdo myself on the Parisian patisseries. Even the basics: croissants, pain au chocolats and baguettes. All day. Every day. Macaroons made an appearance but I don’t get the big deal so one was enough. It’s safe to say that Grenoble and Paris are completely different. The pace of life in Paris was thankfully much quicker, but not on the hectic/aggressive levels of somewhere like London. Plus, people don’t stare at you half so much in Paris because diversity actually exists there…whereas in Grenoble I feel like a performing circus act, which REALLY helps with my paranoia.
I have to admit that in the Louvre I was a naughty art student and blew off trudging through hundreds of years of art history after about an hour to go check out Napoleon III’s apartments. Has anyone else ever been? I thought it was as close as I was going to get to exploring anything remotely like Versailles, considering we didn’t have enough time to go there. Napoleon III’s apartments were pretty unbelievable to be honest, the combined extravagance and attention to detail kept me gawping for a fair while, and all the burgundy/deep red upholstery had me making a (super realistic) mental wish list.
This little vacation made me realize that I’m becoming more…girly in my ‘old age’, because one of my favourite places to see was the flower market near Notre Dame. It wasn’t very big but made a nice contrast to all the indoor Parisian sites. If I was a big souvenir buyer then I think I would’ve gone a little bit crazy on the delicious floral soaps and colourful mini buckets. A second favourite was simply a street! The cobbled Rue de Seine is littered with lots of little independent galleries and cafes, and you’re never too far from the stereotypical Parisian accordion player. And last but not least, the jardin des Tuileries. I stole some time away from my friends after visiting the Orangerie and Monet’s beautiful water lilies, just to chill in the shade of the trees overlooking one of the jardin’s fountains. I was sat on a green, metal deck chair, Amorino ice cream in hand, kindle on my lap to read some Game of Thrones, just listening to the world pass me by, (but acutely aware of the very attractive French guy sat on his own 5 metres from me.) Hopefully there’ll be plenty more rose tinted hours like that one once I move there…*fingers crossed.
My next trip to Paris will definitely be a bit more off the beaten track, so if you have any recommendations I’d love to hear them :)