Day 1, Bienvenue à Paris

Paris Travel Blog

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The Thalys train rolled into the Gare du Nord in Paris around 10:30am. First thing I did was get a coffee, since I'd only had 1 cup at around 5am, when I got up. In France however, a coffee means an espresso, which isn't bad, but it means you've got just one 2 Euro gulp and that's it. When you're a caffeine junk like me, it just isn't sufficient. But it would have to do for now.

I bought a 'Paris Visite' ticket for the subway, which gave me unlimited rides for 2 days. I was going to need it. I took the D line to Les Halles and switched to the 1 line to Clemenceau. Piece of cake. Exiting the subway, the Grand Palais was on my right. On the outside, it was hard to tell what architectural style it was in, since it was being renovated. Inside however... just fucking WOW!

One big Art Nouveau extravaganza!

Isn't that amazing?!? I had no idea this was here!

The art fair itself was very interesting. Nice quality of work. Lots of sculptures. First big art fair I've been to so far that actually has that many free standing work. I spent about 2 hours in the Grand Palais, had 2 more overpriced espresso's and then went back to the subway. Since it was so nice and sunny (a big change of what we'd had the week before), I thought "Well... fuck it, I'm walking."

So I walked down the Champs Elysées towards the Louvre, trying to cross the Place de la Concorde without getting killed. I mean, seriously, you have to be insane to drive in Paris. Everyone else is! It's pure and utter madness. A red light just means a darker shade of green apparently!

I made it to the Louvre, went left and took the subway all the way to Jussieu, where I located the Arènes de Lutèce, a Roman amphitheatre, decided it wasn't worth the 20 minute subway ride, nearly got hit in the head by a football (which brought back a childhood trauma... I've been hit in the head by everything from a tennisball to a basketball... no bowling ball yet though. I'm trying to keep it that way,) and promptly left.

Up next, Place d'Italie to check out a couple of galleries. Back in the subway and north again, switching 3 lines and ending up at Arts et Métiers to visit a couple more galleries.

Back to the subway to the Grands Boulevards, where the Hard Rock Café is. Yes, I'm a geek. I have a pin collection. Sue me. Fact is, I like these things, so I went inside to see what they had. There was one Saint Patrick's Day pin, which had a cute redhead holding a guitar on it and I though, oww, that's pretty cool, isn't it? Oh yeah. If I had only known. But anyway, I finally got a decent cup of coffee at Starbucks. Thank you for opening a store in Paris, by the way. I worship you.

Subway AGAIN, back to Strasbourg and on to Rochechouart, where I checked in to my hotel. By now it was 5:30pm and I still hadn't eaten anything.

But first, I had to go to Montmartre, which was basically just down the street. This right here is probably my most favorite place in Paris... the steps of the Sacré Coeur. Just gorgeous.

After exploring the Place du Tertre, which has really become a tourist trap, I ended up walking down the Boulevard Rochechouart, looking for something to eat. Now I had been walking for a couple of minutes, when I realised there was nothing but sex shops, peep shows and adult cinemas all around me. I knew I was heading towards the Moulin Rouge, but this was rediculous. Ofcourse, you then have the overzealous personel of said establishments who will do just about anything they can to make you come inside to 'meet ze pretty girlz'. Yeah, right.

Instead, I went for dinner, which sucked, and then walked back towards my hotel. I came across an Irish pub and decided this might be an interesting way to start the night.

I had a Kilkenny.

Since it was still Happy Hour, I had a Guiness.

Then I got talking to this cute redhead, an Irish lass by the name of Shannon. She was rather funny.

We had a drinking contest.

She won.

Apparently, or so she told me, Irish girls are raised on Guinness. So I never stood a chance. Oh well.

Now, I always manage to pick a hotel where I'm most likely NOT to get any sleep at night. I mean, the noise in the street was non-stop. People yelling, cars honking, sirens howling, drunks singing... great!

Then somewhere around 4:30am there's this idiot outside yelling 'Regarde-moi! Regarde-moi!' ('Look at me!') and then we hear the sound of breaking glass and car alarms going off.

What the Hell?!?

We rush to the window and see this idiot, breaking car windows with a baseball bat. He's not stealing anything, he's just breaking things and apparently, having fun doing it.

By now the whole street is awake and I see the neighbours across the road are at the window too, probably calling the cops on the phone. Meanwhile, the guy just keeps hitting cars, breaking windshields.

Then I notice something else...

'Why are those people staring at us?'

'Ehm... Maybe because we haven't got any clothes on?'

'Ah... right...'

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photo by: Sweetski