I had a blast!
The hostel: Awesome location: Boulevard Jules Ferry, just one block down from le Canal St-Michel and a few blocks down from la Place de la Bastille. Across the street, there’s a park with fountains and ping pong tables. The day I arrived, there was a rock band playing covers of popular rock songs such as “smells like teen spirit” and “knockin’ on Heaven’s door”.
The First Day: I arrived at the hostel mid-atfernoon. I showered, took a long nap, met my first roommate Elizabeth, an American studying in Germany with a weekend off, walked around the neighbourhood, met some travellers (two Canadians and an American law student from D.C.). We drank some wine and then went for crepes at a nearby creperie.
The Second Day: The first thing I did on my second day in Paris was reserve a seat on a train to Toulouse. I went to la Gare Montmartre. From there, I walked up to the St-Germain-des-Pres, St-Sulpice area. The weather sucked big time. I didn’t bring any cold-weather clothes, so I was really cold. I bought a baguette sandwich for lunch and ate as I walked. I would have loved to sit in a park, but it was just too cold.
Le Jardin du Luxembourg. Terrible weather… it started with grey skies and ended with rain.
On la Rue St-Andre-des-Arts, near l’Eglise St-Severin.
I met Jessica, the DC law student, back at the hostel. We walked around the same kind of area. It started to rain, so we went to Champs Elysees so I could buy a jacket or another layer since all I had was a long sleeve cotton shirt.
On le Pont Sully… I think. Behind me is le Pont Neuf.
After we walked around some, had some cafe creme in the cafe, we decided to head back to the hostel. Jessica suggested we buy a bottle of wine to meet more travellers, like she had done the day before. I was down, but I wanted a few drinks first. We went to a bar called Nun’s Cafe and had a few beers. The place is definitely not for tourists. It’s a grungy, 20-somethings pub-like cafe. They had crazy stuff on the walls and the drink du jour was a blow job. It was a pretty cool spot.
After a few drinks, headed back to the hostel. On our way, we stopped to buy more wine since Jessica wasn’t too happy about the Moroccan wine we had been sold before going to Bar Nun. Back at the hostel, we met Mark, Thomas (twins), Ben and Natalie who all came together from St.Alberts, Alberta (a suburb outside of Edmonton); two brothers from Alabama, Blake and Dean; and a couple from Toronto, Andrew and Rachel. We invited them all to dinner, but most couldn’t come so they agreed to join us for drinks after at Bar Nun. Elizabeth, Jessica, Ben, Natalie, Mark, Thomas and I went for dinner a few blocks from the hostel. After we went for drinks and met up with the others. The bar was packed and overflowing. It was a pretty chill scene, but still had a bit of happening vibe. So much fun.
We got back to the hostel just after 2AM with two new bottles of wine. The on-duty hostel guy had a glass with us. The hostel guy was trying to teach me the “proper” pronunciation in French since the Quebec accent is the incorrect. We stayed up until about 4:30 that morning ranting, arguing about pretty much a bunch of random topics.
The Third Day: I got up at 8:30 that morning. I bought a sandwich baguette at a boulangerie a few blocks from the hostel (the breakfast at the hostel is apparently pretty terrible). The weather was a huge improvement from the day before: clear blue skies with a few fluffy clouds every now and then. It was a little warm so I wore a skirt and a t-shirt. But it was definitely a beautiful day.
I walked up le Canal St-Michel all the way up to la Bataille de Stalingrad and a little bit farther.
Le Canal St-Michel. This picture was taken just one block from the hostel.
I took the metro to the Louvre and walked down la Seine, weaving through the streets of l’Ile St-Louis. I sat down in a park on l’Ile St-Louis and ate half my baguette sandwich, a yogurt and a Perrier.
Le Louvre, la Seine…such a gorgeous day!
Oh…you know, it’s Paris. This was on a deserted street overlooking l’Ile St-Louis and some random church.
I eventually made my way up through le Marais and then to la Place des Vosges. It was littered with picnickers and nappers, all dispersed evenly on the lawn. I found a spot on the lawn, sat down, finished my baguette sandwich, then laid down for a snooze.
A few minutes later, a cloud came along. Stupid cloud. I could have been there all day. I made my way up to la Place de la Bastille and then walked through the market. I soon found myself just two blocks from the hostel. I took the metro to Galeries Lafayettes to find a fnac to buy an adapter. The adapter I had brought wasn’t what I needed, so my cellphone and laptop were pretty much dead at that point, hence no posts until now.
I got back to the hostel, took a shower and then a nap. At 9-ish, Jessica, Elizabeth, Natalie, Ben, Mark, Thomas and I, along with two new travellers we had just met, went for a dinner at this super cool restaurant a few blocks away. In the restaurant, each table has a small grill in it. You order either a plate of raw meat (which you grill), a plate of deli and cheese (which you grill), or a pot of fondue (which you grill) with bread; and then dessert. Everything was amazing. The thing with food in Paris is that decently-priced restaurants will often surprise you. It’s almost wrong how good Parisian food is.
We wanted to see some of the Paris monuments at night, all lit-up, but it was too late. We ended up getting lost and missing the last metro. We caught a cab back to the hostel and called it a night.
I set my alarm for 5:30AM, which turned out to be 6:30AM… it was not fun finding that out. Went to la Gare d’Austerlitz, took the train to Toulouse.
Until next time,