Paris: Day 1, Things Don't Seem to Be Going Our Way
Paris Travel Blog› entry 2 of 2 › view all entries
Seeing Paris on 4 hours of sleep!! Now thats a fantastic idea. So we get to the airport, get our luggage, and try to find the stupid RER train to Paris. We can't figure out the arrow system, and it takes us like 20 minutes to realize an arrow pointing down means go straight ahead. So we finally figure out to take this elevator down; which is an adventure in itself because there's so many people trying to get in it. So we get down a floor and we find a platform but it doesn't seem like it goes to paris because its tiny, and we don't know where to buy tickets. So instead we finally go to the information desk and find out we need to take this shuttle train to the train station.
So the train drops us off in the gare du Nord. Taking the metro is very easy or at least should be. Just one problem, you need a ticket. And of course we can't find the ticket machine. So after asking 1 little shop, and 2 train ticket selling booths (in french of course, "ou pouvons-nous acheter des billets pour le metro"), and getting vague responses, usually pointing us in some general direction, we finally figure out that we're suppose to walk through the one open gate (all the other gates required a ticket or metro pass) and buy a ticket on the other side.
So we finally get on the metro and get to our hotel, and leave our stuff in the luggage storage room, which by the way, doesn't even seem to lock, or at least we can't lock it. Thank god for luggage locks!! So by now we're starving so we go to a small restaurant to eat- I get a creme brulee and orangina and steph gets a banana split and coke. A few hours into Paris and we're already eating well.
So after "lunch" we took the metro to Ile de la Cite, which of course can't go right. There's some message about the stop we want being closed and no electricity or something there (in french) and we don't quite fully understand it, but they make everyone get off one stop before.
First we crossed the Pont Neuf, and get on the actual Ile de la Cite. Then we walked along, and saw this really cool looking building which turned out to be the Palais du Justice. So we took some pictures and kept on going. Then we finally made it to our destination: Sainte- Chapelle, a small chapel maybe from 1100, that has some really amazing stained glass windows.
After Sainte-Chappelle we went to Notre Dame, which was really massive and packed with tourists. It was quite beautiful.
So then we started walking along the Seine river, and we passed a lot of things, the Louvre, the Tulieries, the Musee D'Orsay.
We kept on walking and went to the Place de Concorde.
Then we went to the Hotel des Invalides, which I think was built by Napoleon for injured soliders; it had a really cool Neoclassical chapel, but I didn't take any pictures of it.
A couple of funny discoveries of the day: ford cars in France (seriously?!) and the foreign ministry building which was covered in French flags, lest you forget this is France.
We also passed some giant and fancy university building that I don't remember, and the Assemblée Nationale, at some point, I don't even remember when.
So then we set off in the direction of the Champs Elysée, to go buy our bus tickets for the next day to Beauvais. On the way we passed this giant and ornate building called the Grand Palais, and some fancy government building across the street.
So then we walked up the Champs Elysée, passed the Arc de Triumphe, and walked all the way to Port Maillot, but the Palais du Congrès. We bought our tickets, went to one of the closest restaurents, and had dinner ( for me a croque vegetarian- I don't like ham!)
After that we took the metro back and went to our hotel. We had the glorious suprise of discovering that our room was on the top floor and there was no elevator, so we had to carry our suitcases up 5 flights of unsteady winding stairs (but not spiral), after walking like 6 or 7 miles on like 4 hours of sleep. Wonderful. I thought my arms were going to fall off!!!
Another fun suprise of the day: the fact that our credit cards might not work here. All the European credit cards have these little tiny chips, and some places only can ready cards if the have the chip. One or two of the places we went to were okay, but the a few other places weren't. So that was a really fun thought to go to bed with, thinking that we might have to pay with cash for almost everything.