Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Paris, The Odds & Ends

Five minutes from my apartment -- Notre Dame by night.

  Continued from my previous Paris post...let's get right to it!

Where I Stayed
  Since I was going to be in Paris for such a short time (roughly 35 hours), I didn't want to waste time traveling in and out of the city center to/from my hotel. And a decent hotel in the midst of all the action is pretty pricey, so I decided to find an apartment to rent for a night (via AirBnB).

  The flat I rented was amazingly small -- we're talking maybe 15 ft x 10 ft. I can't imagine living in such a confined place all the time. I would never want to be there cause it was SO small! But I understand that the cost of living is high, and rent is extremely expensive in Paris, so people make living quarters out of anything.

Ready to hit the ground running for the day!
  A benefit to renting an apartment was that I'd be able to bring food with me since it would have a fully equipped kitchen (even though the kitchen happened to be in the same room as the 'living room' and the 'bedroom'). That made my mornings easier as I could have filling breakfast before heading out for the day.

  The apartment in the Latin Quarter gave me everything I needed: centrally located, clean, quiet, a hot shower, and most importantly, a place to lay my head for the night!

 A Few 'Sorrys'
Entry at Stadium Paris. Too bad this is all I saw.
  I tried visiting Stadium Paris (another Nike store) on Saturday, only to, essentially, be turned away because the person misunderstood 'what I wanted to see', and sent me 'upstairs' -- to nothing. I'm still trying to figure out what he thought I said, and where exactly he was sending me. It was freezing and snowing, and had just turned dark, so I chose to cut my losses and head back home.

  I was in Paris for one night, and I had Chipotle for dinner. Sorry! It's the first time I've run across a 'Mexican' (American) place while in Europe. And since I won't see anything like that in Dunkerque, or anywhere else I'll be in the next several months, I had to treat myself. 11 euros for a chicken burrito, by the way!

I'm so artistic. ;)
  The same can be said for Starbucks. I wouldn't normally go twice a day for two days straight, but since my apartment didn't have a coffee maker, and I won't see a Starbucks (or the like) til I'm back Stateside, I had to indulge!

  I did go to the Louvre, but I didn't go inside. I went inside the Pyramid, does that count?!? Sorry!

  I took a pretty boring boat tour from Pont Neuf. I usually love boat tours, but this one was nothing special. In fact, it was probably the least favorite thing I did while in Paris.

Downpour during the boat tour. At least I was undercover!
  The timing of the boat tour was perfect however. Midway through, it started raining, then sleeting and finally snowing. Had I been out in the elements, I would have been drenched, and the rest of my afternoon would have been ruined! So I guess it was a life-saver that day.

  In my opinion, you can see the sights just as well, if not better, from walking along the Seine. Of course, being on a boat is convenient, and gives you a chance to rest your
legs while still actively seeing a few things. But
I can't say I recommend it!
Rainbow over Pont des Arts.

Shoulda, Coulda, Wouldas
  One thing I kind of wanted to do, that I couldn't fit into my itinerary, was to visit the Catacombs of Paris. Maybe next time!

  I also wish I could have explored Île Saint-Louis and Le Marais neighborhoods a little more thoroughly.

  And I had read about seeing a panorama of the city from inside a department store on  
Boulevard Haussmann, but I didn't get there
until too late in the day, and it was already closed. 

  So there are a few items to put on my agenda for next time!

French flag flying high on Île Saint-Louis.
Random Travel Thoughts
  Paris, by far, flies the most French flags I've ever seen. At any give place, you are sure to find the French flag flying high!

  Traveling by train is so easy and convenient! I wish we had the same smooth-running systems in the US.

  They need to put the metro maps inside the subways up higher on the walls. Many people, including myself, broke their backs trying to bend down at a weird angle to read the lines and connections. 
I wonder if they taste as delicious as they look.

  For the second time in less than a year, I learned that a 'big, bad' city was neither big nor bad. 

  Like New York City, Paris somewhat intimidated me. One thing Manhattan had on Paris was that English is the first language spoken (though I'm sure some people might argue otherwise). Once I got my bearings, and learned the layout of the city, just as I had in New York, I felt quite
comfortable in the City of Lights.

 Looking down Passage des Panoramas.
  Solo-travel does have its perks. You get to do whatever YOU want to do. And you don't have to worry about alienating anyone you're traveling with (hey, it happens!).

  But for me, solo travel does have its downside.  After a couple days of disconnected looks from hundreds and hundreds of people everyday, I find that I get antsy and actually miss personal interaction! It was the same this summer when I visited New York.

  That said, I thoroughly enjoyed my short visit to the City of Lights. I love experiencing the international flavor that you get in a big city like Paris. And of course the sights of the city are incomparable!

As always, lots of pictures below!

Biscuit shop on Île Saint-Louis.
I thought the metro station signs were cool!
Smiling, but cold!
Yet another French flag flying high.
View from Pont du Carrousel.
Looking back into the Louvre entrance.
From Pont Neuf.
The Eiffel Tower from the boat tour.
Pont Alexandre III.
The entry way to the apartment building I was staying at.
Église de la Sainte-Trinité.
Base of the Eiffel Tower.
Montmartre streets.
Always had to be on the lookout in Montmartre -- art everywhere!
Another award-winning boulangerie in Montmartre. Line out the door.
Favorite view from Montmartre.
Approaching Sacré Cœur and another pretty view!
Details of Sacré Coeur.
More Montmartre.
US Embassy.
Nike Paris.
Backside of Notre Dame.


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