paris: the things we did.

so paris was rainy pretty much all weekend. whatever. we’re made friends with unsavory weather. it is fall and if i was nature dying, i think i’d cry about it a little too.

i like to go on vacations prepared. i like to do a ton of research on the city i’m visiting, scope out the best places to eat, and overall, the best ways to save money. i’m cheap! i can’t help it! thankfully, paris has a lot of free things to do, or discounts for being under 26. (26 is going to be a really sad day in my “no longer considered a youth” career) over the course of three days i think we hit just about every free attraction in the city, minus art exhibits and what have you, because i’m not much of an art critic.

man, the eiffel tower is cool. before going to paris i was kind of “meh” about the eiffel tower. (does such an emotion exist?) but upon exiting the subway and emerging into the night air with this GIANT structure glowing, sparkling, and quite literally towering, over you head, there is just no denying it. the eiff is the real deal, and i think it is safe to say i will be a little bit obsessed with it for a little while to come. (but i will continue to judge people who decorate with miniature eiffel towers all over their houses).

the hardest part about going on vacation with friends is the fact that there is never anyone to take the pictures! would you believe it if i told you that this artistic angle was achieved by perfectly situating my camera on a stone wall dangerously close to the edge of seine while praying for ten whole seconds nothing would bump it? are your palms sweating yet?

the day before we left, i scoped out all kinds of tricks to getting into the louvre for a cheaper price. i mean, i like art, but seeing the mona lisa behind bulletproof glass for 11 euros wasn’t doing it for me. i’d read somewhere you could get in at 6 pm for 6 euro, so we figured we’d try it out. we went one day, marched right up to the front desk asking where to buy tickets while wondering why there weren’t more people around…. well, come to find out the museum closed at 6, and i was wrong. awesome. rachael and diana went back the following day to critique, i went to a street market instead. since they’re cool they have visas and can get in free. us dumb passport kids get nada. ah well! the museum was so cool to see from outside- the inverted pyramid (you know, where mary magdalene is buried?! 🙂 )downstairs is great, and it definitely provided some good photo-ops. also, there was free wifi in the building, which we never turned down, and i walked into the men’s bathroom. yep. awesome all around.
the arc d’ triomphe! we didn’t go in…. just spectated. it was cool. it was big.
here is good ol’ notre dame. unfortunately i didn’t get to see quasimoto, just a ton of tourists (asians) carrying HUGE CAMERAS and taking pictures of the signs that said, “no flash, please” and the name placards of priests buried there. definitely something to write home about, no?
one of rachael’s must sees was a bridge somewhere in paris that is covered with locks… and one day we stumbled right upon it. it was really cool, even though paris just considers it an extreme eye sore. you’re supposed to lock the lock, then throw your key into the river… you know, signifying eternal love or something like that. (everyone was impressed and yelled at me when i innocently asked how many of these couples they thought were actually still together. baha)
shakespeare and company! okay, this is probably one of the neatest places, ever. this bookstore goes back to the 1920s, and, as wikipedia puts it, was the epicenter of anglo-american literary culture. this is where james joyce, ernest hemingway, gertrude stein, f. scott fitzgerald, and others of the lost generation came to meet and write! i actually didn’t actually realize all of this until i sat down to write this post, so now knowing all those literary grates sat in those nooks…. well, i am a bit awestruck.
oh the seine! seeing the fall leaves against the river, which is so gorgeous, might have been one of my very favorite parts of france. the river is a pretty social place, so there were always tons of people out walking, beside the fact that is was rainy all weekend. i love fall. also, there are a ton of vendors around the river selling touristy things… i didn’t buy anything, but i loved these old postcards, most of which were addressed to people already.
and obviously, it was gorgeous at night, too.
our last day, we had a couple hours to kill before we had to leave for the airport, so we went to per lachaise cemetery, where jim morrison and oscar wilde are buried. it was the neatest cemetery ever! most of the graves were full out mausoleums dating way back… so basically a full out neighborhood for famous dead people. oscar wilde’s grave is covered in his quotes, lipstick smooches, notes, etc etc so diana figured it was our american duty to add our smudges, too. after we did so, we were listening to some tour guide tell his group how they’ve had to clean his grave two times already to restore it, that they’ve built this glass wall around it to inhibit hooliganism, and that his grandson has made a request that people stop touching his grave, and just leave a note in the provided baskets again. ha. oops. also, since we had already checked out of our hostel, diana had to lug her rolley suitcase over cobblestone for a good mile uphill. what a trooper!
there is so much to see in paris! i feel like we barely scraped the surface, but we all left very satisfied with all that we did and saw in four days. i highly recommend a visit over there if you haven’t quite made it to the city of lights.

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