Category Archives: France

The Real Paris (in my head)

At this point in the trip I was blown away by the palace of Versailles but not so much by Paris. Honestly, except for the certain structures I didn’t find the city any more impressive than London. I also really had it with the French. We had terrible experiences in almost every circumstance with any kind of French help. They were incredibly rude to us. I was openly scoffed at on the tube just for sitting there talking in English. When my friend started to ask, “Hello do you have…” in rough French the waiter responded by walking away mid sentence to grab an English menu and slam it in her face. She could only speak French roughly but she could hear it, and openly heard how badly they kept talking about us. Even the police officer during the gypsy event was talking about how annoying we were because we were speaking English. We quickly learned. If we spoke a third language first that they didn’t know they would respond in English. The same person that we heard speaking fine English would turn to us and pretend like they didn’t know what we were saying at all. SO, by murmuring Spanish they either couldn’t hear me or didn’t understand Spanish but either way didn’t think I was American and responded in great English.

By the time we got back from Versailles I was ready to go to bed but we wanted to see the one last thing: Sacre Coeur. We got a train into a rather ghetto side of the Sacre Coeur which ended up skipping about 75% of the hike up through Montmartre. We got some pictures and and went inside…

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We wanted to see the sun set over the city but it was at a horrible diagonal the complete wrong way. This was as close as we got…

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As we chased the view of the sunset down the mountain we went straight through Montmartre. Montmartre was everything I had always expected Paris to be. It was beautiful and cute and the people were still just as rude but not quite as much.

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We kept walking down Montmartre until we hit….

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After that we realized we hit everything on the map except for Arch de Triumph, so we took a quick tube over. I’m not sure what was going on but there were guards out and some kind of procession taking place with the anthem blaring.

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Different arch, different city, feels the exact same.

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Let them eat cake!!

Very last minute we decided to make the trek to Versailles! For some odd reason, most of my friends who go to Paris haven’t gone to the Palace of Versailles. I really don’t understand why at all. It was about 45 minutes from our hotel and so easy to get to. We took the RER C from Paris, it was no extra cost there on the 3 day pass but was 3 euros to get back. Also, with a EU residency you can get into everything at Versailles for free (hidden and only in French knowledge).

Anyway, I’ll start with the actual palace. Gold, gold, gold. You go in and it’s very directed. There were mobs and mobs of tourists so you were mostly moved along with the crowd. There was insane artwork by Fosse all over the walls and ceiling. The Hall of Mirrors was insane. Marie Antoinette was first on my lists of things to watch as soon as I got back and I strongly recommend you watch it (and then go)!

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We went out back into the gardens and our minds only continued to be blown… (excuse the construction, like always, everywhere)

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We rented bikes to go around the rest of the ponds. It was much too long to walk around. It might have been my favorite part of the whole Paris weekend.

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There’s a whole side estate, Marie Antoinette’s. It really barely offered anything that we didn’t already see and at that point we were hungry, our feet hurt, and we were ready to go. Unless you’re spending the entire day there, I really wouldn’t recommend going. The walk really wasn’t worth it…

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We left the grounds and walked back to the train station (took all of about 10-15 minutes). I kind of wished we got to see more of Versailles as it’s own city. Just from the Palace to the train we passed these beauts…

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And then even better on the actual train back to Paris… dah dah dahhhhhh look closely

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Day 2: Minor Gypsy Spotting and some other sites

We spent the next day going to see all the other classic tourist spots of Paris and…

WE SAW OUR FIRST GYPSIES!

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You can see them there, conglomerating and strategizing their next tackle. That was on the Love Lock bridge. You can see the sides of the bridge have wood all along them, blocking the locks and probably preventing the sides from falling off.

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We came up on the Louvre (actual destination) and stayed for about 3 hours. We only waited in line for about 45 minutes (apparently this is very short, we got there around 9:45). It really is impossible to see it all. Also fun fact they don’t publicize: if you are a EU citizen or resident it is completely free. Even a visa of any kind is accepted (student exchange, anything for an extended period of time).

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Afterwards we walked towards the Opera House and went to an adorable coffee shop on the way.

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The Opera House was gorgeous. The Lafayette Gallery was behind right behind it, also amazing.

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Lafayette Gallery Shopping dome…

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Bastille…

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We walked along St. Antoine Street passing loads of beautiful churches and sites. While along it we even saw some American reality star being filmed getting into her car. She actually messed it up and we got to watch her get into a car and drive away 2-3 times.

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We walked along to go to the island with Notre Dame and Saint Chapelle. Both of the lines to get in were unfortunately incredibly long. It was really disappointing we weren’t able to go in but they were still so beautiful from the outside.

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We ended the day with macaroons in Luxembourg Park. The park turned out to be a lot less beautiful as I had expected, it was more of a recreational park than a tourist one and I wouldn’t really recommend.

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The macaroons are all they’re cracked up to be… so yummy (and harder to find than we had expected).

The night with a twinkling Eiffel Tower from the front of our hotel (every hour on the hour).

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Day 1: Gypsy Hunting

As soon as we arrived in Paris and got our metro tickets my friend was robbed by a gypsy. They came up to her with “help the deaf babies” papers and all attacked her at once grabbing her attention so they could steal her wallet out of her purse right under her. We spend the next two hours in the train’s police station gypsy hunting. We quickly learned the only thing the French hate more than Americans are gypsies. They refused to even try to talk to us until I started yelling gypsies. Then they tried to understand my friend’s broken french and watch the video tape. They brought in 6 gypsies total with no luck. Trust no one who tries to talk to you or you will spend your first two hours in Paris gypsy hunting with the police.

On a side note getting a metro ticket right off the train is pretty vital. Paris is really big so you do have to take the metro everywhere (unless you have the kind of money for taxis…). You can get a 3 day pass for 24 euros. We found it to be more than worth it by the end of the three days.

After that we went to our hotel: Eiffel Villa Garibaldi. It was a few blocks from the Eiffel Tower back in a less tourist section. It was perfect. And there was construction going on during the day so despite fashion week we got incredible prices.

Obviously first thing was first, go see the Eiffel Tower.

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After that we walked along the Seine past the Chaillet Palace, Hotel Des Invalides, Musee de L’aarmee, and ate crepes over the Port Alexander III bridge to the Grand Palace and the other next door palaces. There are a few other pretty sites along the way but I’m not so sure what they are..

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First Crepe

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Winston Churchill

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The Grand Palace and surrounding ones hold a lot of the fashion shows apparently. We found this by our own research. While we were passing we saw people running around with pamphlets and security all over. It looked so important, but unfortunately we didn’t see anyone we knew to be important.