A little later than promised…! At the end of May I went to Paris with a few uni friends – this was the first time I’d been to Paris so I was rather excited 🙂
Our first (of many) tourist stops was the Notre Dame cathedral. We’d been on an overnight coach for 10 hours and all I wanted to do was have a shower and a nap, but alas, we had too much to see and I was branded a wimp. It was beautiful inside, but all the camera flashes and people videoing inside was rather irksome…
Next was the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, which was just bizarre. There were big groups of people, led by tour guides, touring the cemetery and hunting out the most famous tombs. It was all rather surreal. Especially the gaggle of teenage girls getting stoned behind one of the tombs.
Our second day began with a wander along the Seine and over the Pont Des Arts…
… where we saw love padlocks. Lots of love padlocks.
Then there was the Musée d’Orsay, which was really rather lovely. I’m not generally an art lover in the sense of “going round big galleries looking at very old paintings”, but I really enjoyed it (except, perhaps, the part where we got talking to a member of staff, who talked for 45 minutes about everything from the history of Paris to Mick Jagger – my feet were not happy by this stage)
After the Musée, we did what I’m sure 99% of tourists in Paris do…
Unfortunately it was windy, cold and overcast, so I didn’t get any good pictures, but I did go all the way up to the very top, for posterity. I was even tempted to have a glass of champagne from the minute champagne bar up there – y’know, one of those things that you do just so you can say you’ve done it – but €10 for a thimbleful from a plastic glass didn’t really appeal too much. The whole experience took over two and a half hours. I couldn’t quite believe it took so long to be honest!
The third day was our last and so we headed to the Sacré Cœur in Montmartre.
The whole place was really rather lovely – there was a market on in the town square selling all sorts of loveliness. And we also found another love padlock…
After that we hoofed it across to the Grand Palais – unfortunately, it seemed like the tickets were going to be expensive, so we headed to the Petit Palais across the road instead. I found it a bit odd there – the exhibits seemed to be mooshed together, so there would be beautiful antique paintings alongside ultramodern sculptures, next to artwork done by local children. It was a bit much to take in! After THAT, we trotted off to the Panthéon, followed by a good rest in the beautiful (and scorching hot) Jardin des Tuileries.
And then we went home.
It was exhuasting. I wish we had been able to find nice places to eat that weren’t exhorbitantly expensive – we only ate out once and that was just out of sheer desperation. And one thing that REALLY annoyed me was the people who were aggressively selling absolute crap – all over the city were people flogging minature Eiffel Towers and fake handbags. Worse were the people actively conning tourists – asking people to sign “petitions”, but upon signing they demand money, or forcibly placing roses in your hand and then following you until you pay. And don’t even get me started on the hoardes of people doing the 3 card trick on naive tourists in Montmatre.
I’m not sure how I feel about Paris now. It’s expensive. It’s incredibly touristy. It’s exhuasting. I really wanted to love it, I really did.