Paris, je ne regrette rien PART III

A few other things I wanted to tell you if you’re going to Paris.

You don’t need to Couch Surf if you don’t want to, but hang out with some locals. They will take you places you wouldn’t go if you were there by yourself or with a friend who doesn’t know the place either. Besides, the touristic places are awesome, INDEED, but the unknown part of Paris (unknown to tourists, that is…) is also amazing. Go on an adventure! :)

OKAY, SO, ready to read about my last day?

So, I was alone, wandering around town, finding cool things to do, being a tourist, taking a thousand pics, etc etc etc.

I went to the Louvre on the day before but I still had time to go to another museum and I really really wanted to go to the d’Orsay. The d’Orsay has mainly french art…well, there is a little of everything. I went there because I love Monet and Van Gogh and they have their paintings etc there. They also have Renoir, Manet, Gauguin, RODIN!…all those extremely amazing guys, you know! And it is breath taking. It really is. It’s kind of like you’re entering the art, you feel it so close to you, it’s so beautiful, so…perfect. Everything. The sculptures, the furniture…. It made me want to live in those times.

This is the outside of the Musée d'Orsay. :)

Unfortunately, you can’t take pictures of anything inside of the museum and I chose to respect that. I also bought a book with all the art that was exhibited in the museum. I read it sometimes just to have a little ”taste” of Paris haha.

The best part of my trip though, was my last moments in the city. I had left my luggage at the Gare du Nord locker room and I had to take a metro there, get my stuff, then take a train to the airport. But I still had a few hours left to enjoy France.
On my way out of the museum, I heard this beautiful music and followed it. It was a street performer. The music fit the moment just perfectly. The sky was grey and it looked like it was about to rain. But no one cared. I joined the crowd and sat down to watch the guy play. Then I saw that there was another street performer. Well, actually, two more, if you count the crazy old dude who made everyone laugh when he scared people walking by.
The other artist was a guy in his 30’s with roller skates, doing all kinds of crazy acrobatic things. And the funny thing is, even though the roller dude and the musician had nothing to do with each other, they were in perfect syntony. It was beautiful watching both of them (and the crazy old dude in the back goofing around).

So I sat there and watched. I gave them a few coins. I clapped. I filmed. And then the music hit me.
That was the perfect moment. One of those moments where you think:

This is exactly where I want to be. 

 And it was. I looked around me and I thought to myself ”oh my, this is perfection. There is nowhere else I’d rather be.” Tears came down my face, but you know, tears of joy. I was so happy… The people there were so peaceful, watching those talented, honest street performers…the kids running around…the sky was not blue, but it was perfect. Everything was perfect.
Then it started raining a little and no one got up. We just stayed there appreciating such an astonishing, dazzling moment.

When they were done with their presentations, people got up with the biggest smiles on their faces, like something there had happened and only who were there, could understand. We felt light, relaxed, blissful, satisfied.

Then it started pouring. And I had almost no time left to walk around so I took a cab to the Notre-Dame de Paris. Yes, the Hunchback’s church. haha
I went inside with a bunch of other people who were running and hiding from the rain and took a few pictures, then had to run to the metro station, then the airport. That was also a cool moment. Everyone together hiding from the rain when we all realized we were inside of one of the most beautiful churches ever. Then we relaxed and forgot about the rain.

When I went outside, ready to run to the airport…the Sun was shining again. It was gorgeous. :)
I walked around trying to find the right metro then there I went….to a long long trip back home.

To sum this up and finish this story already….here is what happened on my last minutes in France:

  1. I go in the wrong train.
  2. An awesome African lady yelled at me (in a nice way) and told me I was in the wrong train, then she helped me get out and get on the right one….
  3. I met this boy who started laughing at me because we were actually in the same situation…he was in the wrong train too…
  4. We talked all the way to the airport. He was from Toulouse. Next place I wanna visit!
  5. I got stuck at the entry of the airport with my suitcase, broke the machine….Ran away.
  6. Talked some more with my new friend.
  7. Said good-bye, then realized we never introduced ourselves so we’ll never hear from each other ever ever.
  8. Checked-in.
  9. Bought macaroons and food. Called my mom on Skype.
  10. Got in the plane.
  11. Got some wine, watched a bunch of movies…
  12. And got home. (kk, after 10 hours….)

And that was my trip to Paris.
Unforgettable.

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Paris, non, je ne regrette rien. Part DEUX.

Sam, my couch surfer host, told me he wouldn’t go to any touristic places with me. I didn’t find that rude at all, I totally understood.
But we did go to the Eiffel tower. Except, we biked there, and brought books. We didn’t stay in the huge line to go up to the top. And no, I don’t regret it. First because I will go back to Paris and I will have the opportunity to go to the top of the tower. And second, because Sam and I did something i seem to enjoy a lot more. We sat down on the grass in front of the tower and …we read. I was reading Franny & Zooey  by J.D. Salinger, and Sam…well, I have no idea. But it was the best feeling ever. Then we observed the people who were hanging out at the park. We talked. It was amazing.
In July/August (or, summertime…) there is this thing called Paris Plages.  Since there is no beach in Paris, they MADE one. It’s the cutest little thing, by the Seine River. It’s basically a artificial beach. There are beach chairs and beach umbrellas, and people hang out there, as if they really were at the beach. It’s actually quite fun.
Me and Sam spent some time there, too.

Paris Plages, at night.

On my last two days, I was on my own. Sam had to work and I wanted to go sightseeing and I definitely wanted to go to the museums because I love that kind of thing. I really do.
First, I went out to lunch with a friend I met ONLINE. Seriously, I did that. We had been talking for months and that was our opportunity to meet each other. François and I had lunch at this delicious little restaurant. Again, French food is …wow, I have no words to describe it, actually.

THEN, after fearing I’d get lost in the subway, I decided I knew how to get around, at least enough to get to the Louvre.

So I went to the Louvre and spent 4 and a half hours there. Did not see HALF of what’s in there. One more thing to put on my ”things to do when I go back to Paris” list.
But it was great. I took the little map of the Louvre and tried organizing myself to go in the right order of the little numbers, so I could keep track of the things I had seen and what I hadn’t. I did see a lot. And I was in awe, the whole entire time.
I have this….passion for art and ”old” things. All the paintings, the sculptures…the history behind it. It all fascinates me. I could spend a whole day at a museum like the Louvre anytime. I love it love it love it.

If you’re going to Paris, take some time to go to the Louvre. I mean, if that kind of thing interests you. Because if it does, it’s obviously a must-do.
But it’s important to remember that they aren’t open on Tuesdays. I have friends who made that mistake: they went to Paris and when they went to the Louvre, it was closed. And they didn’t have a lot of time in the city, so that was a bummer…
It’s open every day EXCEPT for Tuesdays, from 9 AM to 6PM.
You should also check the website because they have special exhibitions. And on the way out, check the shop. I bought a great book with a lot of the paintings.

When I was ”done” at the Louvre,  I wanted to walk a little. There’s a beautiful garden right on the way out, in the back of the museum, and little restaurants out in the open. I had the most amazing orange flavored Crème brûlée, took a few minutes to admire the scene around me….the whole time thinking ”am I really here???”.
THEN…It was shopping time. Walking a few minutes straight from the Louvre, it’s the famous Champs-Élysées.
I went crazy. I went in almost every store, tried a bunch of shoes, clothes, bought a lot of cute little dresses and makeup and books and CD’s (yes, they still exist) and a French book so i could practice a little everyday, etc etc etc.
It was really just too much, I know i exaggerated but…again…Je ne regrette rien (I don’t regret anything.)
I had to take a cab back to Sam’s house. He was quite impressed with all my shopping. The hard part was making it all fit in my suitcase. But I did it. haha

Tomorrow I will post about my last day in Paris and post a few pics, too. Here are a few tips if you’re planning on going there.

  • Try researching about the city, the city history, weather etc.
  • It won’t hurt you to try to learn at least a few words and expressions in French. It’s not that they won’t treat you well if you speak English, but put yourself in their place: a lot of them DON’T know English. And, they’ll probably appreciate the effort and treat you really well if you say a few words. Even if you try some mime with it. ”Bonjour – ”hello”, merci – ”thank you”, – ”S’il vous plait – thank you” etc etc etc

  • Shop. Really, do. Doesn’t need to be at Champs-Élysées, but do. There are a lot of nice shops around town. And don’t forget to be nice to the people who work in the shops. Say ”bonjour madame, monsieur, mademoiselle”, ”merci”, ”au revoir”….
  • Go to the cafés. There are a LOT of them around Paris. Bring a book, have some coffee, some macaroons, crepes…No hurry. Remember, you’re there to enjoy yourself, the city, the people, the food. Sit down. Relax, drink your cup of coffee in PEACE. Enjoy the moment. Don’t just grab a cup and leave.
  • Take the metro. There are a lot of weird people there haha, but it’s a good way to get around easily, besides de bikes. And don’t forget to KEEP your purple ticket. You might need it, in case the police wants to see it, etc.
  • Go to MUSEUMS. Not just the Louvre. Here is a LIST of all the Museums in the city. http://www.parisnotes.com/museums/parismuseums.html Unfortunately, I only went to two. But there are many options.
  • Ride the bikes.
  • Drink wine.
  • Wake up early to go to a boulangerie, to buy fresh out of the oven Baguettes. It’s like a party in your mouth and tummy.
  • Don’t be picky. Try new things.

And here is the most important tip:
Do not go to Paris with that cliché pre-formed opinion that they’re all going to be rude and treat you badly. I think that the way you should look at it is: Smile at people, they’ll smile back at you. Smile at the WORLD and it will smile back at you. It’s simple. And, yeah, of course, sometimes you’ll run into someone who’s not in a good day and they might not be the nicest to you, but overlook that and be nice to them ANYWAYS. Your politeness and education should NOT depend on theirs.

 

Très bien, I think that’s all for today!