non, je ne regrette rien

Paris Travel Blog

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well paris, been there done that...

twenty minutes under the pas de calais, and i'm in france. nice to be looking at something exoticagain. for all it's 'centre of the world, you can do anything here' charm, london is still somewhere that lacks exoticism for an aussie. england is somewhere that is spoon fed to us from a young age.

the eurostar is fucking fast. i thought we were just cruising along, nice and steay pace, and was waititng to feel us go faster. then we ran alongside a freeway in south-eastern england, and the car's, even the one's that were obviously speeding over 100kph appeared to be standing still. must look awesome for them to see this yellow bullet streak past.

the french countryside looks like all the books you have ever read about it. the small villages with pitched red-roofed houses and a church in the centre of town. the rolling countryside and winter forests, the trees adorned with only the occasional dead leaf and last summer's birds' nests. went through a couple of urban centres, lille and amiens. then paris.

ok, so no english. tried to withdraw euros from an automatic ticket vending machine (hey it was displaying cirrus and maestro) then found an atm. then found my hostel. i encountered the worst part of paris almost straight away. for me it was place de la bastille. yes it is beautiful no doubt with collone de juilliet 1830 (statue) in the middle, but with 13 roads running off this round about, it makes for a hard time finding the right one. and we have the nerve to complain about the normanby fiveways. apparently the road around arch de triomphe is worse; no car insurer will cover a vehicle that has an accident at this intersection! (sort of like 'an act of god' i guess.)

after checking in i went for a walk, taking the wrong street off bastille about four times. had dinner at a cute cafe and as i was leaving a kiwi girl sat down. when it became apparent where each of us was form, we stuck up conversation and decided to explore a little the following day. i eventually ended up walking into le marais, the funky end of town (i guess remotely comparable in concept to the valley) which was the adjacent area to the bastille. here i found a string of bars and cafes full of guys. yes, it is the gay area! so i grabbed a few heinekens in cafe l'open before returning home to bed.

in the morning my new friend jo and i set out. walked trough i'le st louis, a small island in the seine admiring the foods in the windows. grabbed some mini bananas and yoghurt and found a nice spot to sit and eat behind a cathedral. 'so what is this place anyway, it's amazing' i said. oh, ok, it's the notre dame! walking around the front, with its familiar facade, it became obvious. this is probably one of the most impressive facades of any structure i have ever seen! inside, the stained glass is awesome. notre dame sits on i'le cite, another small island, that was the original site of the settlement, as conquered by the romans in 55bc.

next we walked and walked, down boulevard saint germain de pres, past numerous cathedrals, museums and galleries. asemblee nationale (national parliament) was impressive. hotel de la invalides, built under napoleon for returned servicemen was absolutely stunning. so grand, with the domed cathedral within its boundary. next the eiffel tower. level one. great view. level two, a lot better. then level three. about 270m above the street level, this was amazing. the elevator kept going and going and going and going up. i managed to eat, drink, post cards, got to the bathroom and do banking all up the eiffel tower!

arche de triomphe was next, this thing is bloody huge. built under napoleon for his victorious troops to return home from battle under. strolled down champs elysees with jo and our new english friends we made up the eiffel tower, and stopped at a trendy cafe for dinner. noice! the peugeot dealer on champs elysees is really cool!

ok running out of time so gotta speed up. next day went to the musee de louvre, saw egyptian artefacts (including that hippo) and the mona lisa. she is sooooo much more impressive in real life. maybe the most intrigueing work of art i have ever seen. musee d'orsay after lunch, and straight for the impressionists. those monet's inreal life look great. renoir and van gogh too were great. went out that night to cafe l'open again and made firends with an american and two malays. then we went to this crazy club le depot. seems all clubs also double as sex clubs in paris. whoa!!! dean had it under control though!

then montmarte on the last day. totally sucked, tourist trap. and the sacre couer is much better from afar! don't bother when you go. back home via cetnre g pompidou, to see some modern art, eg andy warhol. then off to the hostel, grab my shit and on the train to aeroporte d'orly, bound for berlin.

farewell all, love to each of you.

jared xoxo
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photo by: Sweetski