Day 1: Monmartre Walking Tour and... I think that's all.

Paris Travel Blog

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I was fairly tired, and it was probably like 5 by the time I actually got in to St. Christopher's Hostel by the Oucqe (or however it's spelt) canal in north-east Paris. I was fairly lucky in my room placement though: there were 4 other canucks. 3 girls from New Brunswick and a fellow from Edmonton, all of them recent graduates. They were getting ready to do the Montmartre walking tour as I showed up, and with a lack of anything else to do, I went along.

This is also where I probably made my first seriously tragic mistake: I paid 47.50E for a 5-day, 6-zone "Paris Visite" metro/RER/bus pass. This might have been useful had I taken every train in Paris (both directions) to every extremity, and between the wild card swiping on the metro, I would have had to go to every museum in the Ile-de-France that the "Paris Visite" card can get you a discount at, and only then would I have actually had made enough use of it to make it a worthwhile purchase.

There were a bunch of lovely graffiti'd up vans hanging out, I guess that's how they give parking tickets...
I could've even gotten a 3-zone (I still haven't been outside metro zones 1 and 2) pass and only paid 21 euro or so, but I didn't. I personally blame the New Brunswick girls for it... although they didn't know any better either, otherwise they wouldn't have made such glowing endorsements of it. I'm irritated because that extra 32E I spent (instead of spending it on a 'carte orange' which would've cost 15E and lasted for longer) could've been put towards a decent lunchtime menu at the Cafe du Flore, or I could've even thrown it all, penny by penny, into a fountain somewhere, and hopefully at least have gotten good luck. Oh well. Shockingly, about the pennies: they have both 2 and 1 cent pennies. Who knew.

Montmartre was pretty cool. We went on this free walking tour with a guide named Pieter, who's aussie and rather good. Tips (I gave 10E) are given at the end so that he may continue to survive. I guess the photos will probably speak for themselves, so check 'em out. PS: The order is backwards :*( so start at the bottom, with the picture of the Moulin Rouge.

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It seems like everything I know about Paris is from a video game. The Louvre's giant glass pyramid has been immortalized forever in my mind by Midnight Club II, an XBox game in which Keegan and I'd drive cars overtop of the pyramid while screaming "Jim Morrisooooon!" (I think this cry was inspired by my learning that good ol' Jim was buried in Paris). The Catacombs were similarly associated: it was one of the many ways you could navigate the night-time Paris of Deus Ex, and perhaps the creepiest. So, this gave me a starting point for things to see, this comparing of real life to the virtual world that I've been previously familiar with.

What's most shocking, I think, is that it is far more enormous than you could anticipate or even experience. Video games have a way of simplifying the world, and Paris has a way of making the world seem (rightfully) overwhelming. So, like the ever-mindful budget traveler that I am, I must budget my time as well as my money (because Paris is also overwhelmingly expensive), and chances are I'll be totally burned out at the end of it, but what I see should be pretty cool (or at least, I'll be able to check it off my list).

-andrew

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Paris
photo by: Sweetski