Last weekend I went to Paris in order to meet up with my friend who was coming to France (from America!!!) on his spring break to come visit me, and it was, in a word, awesome. It was his first time in Europe, so no pressure Molly, but you’d better show him all of the things that make France awesome or else he will leave with a bad Impression of the entire continent. I scheduled my train to get to Paris in the early afternoon on Saturday, and since I had bought the ticket so far in advance, when the day came it kind of caught me off guard. I woke up at 5am and instantly began rushing to get to the train station by 630am…but due to a bunch of unforeseen events, I got to the train station at 7am for my 7:02am train and reached the platform juuuust as the doors were closing. Great. I then had to maneuver through a conversation all in French about exchanging my ticket, paying extra fees and getting a later train (but I was able to do it! Yes!). I ended up paying an extra fee to sit in first class (the only spots they had left) and the train got in two hours after the one I was supposed to have been on before.
After sending a million Facebook messages to my friend, apologizing over and over, and drinking a few dozen expressos, my next train was scheduled to depart. I was one of the first people on the train this time, and slept the entire way…so when I woke up, I was ~in Paris~!! Finally.
When I arrived at the train station in Paris, I very easily found the hotel we were staying at (yep HOTEL, not hostel. It was also right next to the Latin Qtr’s metro stop! Perfect location and everything. Thanks Mrs. Jaffe **shoutout**!!) and ran up the stairs getting ready to apologize another million times. Once I finally met up with my friend, he told me that it had taken him a long time to get from Charles de Gaulle to the hotel because there was construction on the RER train so he had only arrived 30 minutes before I had! Score!
Then began our epic tour through all of Paris. We literally went to every single place that we both wanted to see while we were in Paris, so I have to say it was pretty solid planning on our part.
On Saturday we mostly just walked around Paris and I helped him get kind of a feel for the city. One of the first things we ran into was this cool building…not sure what it is but it was pretty and French so picture taking time!
After a long struggle for food (sorry, but Paris is expensive and I’m not about buying an 11 euro meal for every single meal), we had to get on the hour metro ride (yep, they have metros that take an hour…) to get to Parc des Princes, where we were scheduled to see Paris (PSG) play against Nancy in soccer (or…football….lol). I was originally just going because my friend wanted to and why not see a soccer game in a place where they actually care about soccer, but once we got there and got wrapped up in the game, it was AWESOME. I became a PSG fan within about 30 seconds, mostly thanks to the older man sitting next to me who was craaaaazy into the game. We joined in on all the chants (in French) and then freaked out when Beckham came out to play. Definitely an experience I will ~~never forget~~ and I am so happy that I went. Thanks again for getting me tickets friend!
After that awesome soccer game, which Paris won by the way (!!!!), we met up with some of the friends I have in Paris, and were met with 8 euro drinks…welcome to Paris. So after only drinking one drink, the metro was about to close so we headed home. It was really good to see my Frenchie friends though! We did not get to hang out with them for long, but seeing them was a nice excuse to practice my French and for them to practice their English (spoiler alert: they’re much better at English than I am at French).
On Sunday we woke up early and began our 11 mile walk all over Paris. We began from the Latin Quarter and walked towards our first destination: Notre Dame. We were able to skip the line pretty sneakily by pretending that we were going to the mass inside (whoops, nope just here to look around). I have been to the Notre Dame before, so I was able to throw in some little tid bits of information I had learned the past few times that I had been inside. Hopefully my friend was more impressed than annoyed.
We then moved onto the Louvre, which is amazing always, but only hit up the main attractions or else we would have literally spent the entire day in there. So we saw, of course, the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, Venus, etc. and of course, we went to Napoleon’s apartments, and hung out in the courtyard with the pyramids (don’t I look so happy to be there????).
We then continued on the victory walk (but backwards, towards the Arc), and along the way we hit the obelisk, the Champs Élysées, and, of course, l’Arc de Triomphe. Again, since I had seen all of these things before, and other things along the way, I threw in some knowledge for my friend. I felt like I could ~be a tour guide~ since I had a little fact about most of the bigs things as we walked down the stretch. I’m cool now, right?
After this regal walk, I decided we should head into East Paris to get some Chinese food from Paris’ awesome Chinatown. However, I highly overestimated how north we were and so we walked around for about an hour without any real purpose. I liked seeing a part of the city I had never seen before, but my friend was starting to plead with me for food, so we stopped at a crêpe place and got some of the best crêpes ever (thankfully, because they were stupidly expensive). The waitress was really nice too, and she spoke French with me instead of breaking into broken English like almost everyone else I met in Paris ❤ After that pit stop, we found out that we were almost directly north of l'Arc, so we headed back towards that and then onto our final destination: the Eiffel Tower!
Since it was night time, we were treated to the light show that the Tower offers viewers every hour and even though I have seen it countless times, it still never fails to amaze me. I don't think I will ever get tired of the Eiffel Tower just because it really is magnificent.
After this epic day, we had to get back to the hotel in order to pack and head back to Lyon, unfortunately. But I was excited to no longer be surrounded by horrible smells and a dirty metro, so there were pros and cons about my departure.
The next day at the train station, we had a super authentic French coffee (hahahaha that’s what Starbucks is, right guys?) and then I was successful in speaking French and getting the train tickets from a real live French person! Hurray! And so ended our trip in Paris. We hopped onto the TGV train and in two hours we were back to my favorite French city: Lyon!
Stay tuned for another blog entry on the week my friend was here in Lyon and we touristed out all over the place. À bientôt mes amis!