two (last) days in Paris

PAris was first and is my one, true European lover.

I was first introduced to Paris on my sixteenth birthday.  My parents had arranged a house exchange with a family that lived in the 20th.  For two weeks, it dazzled me with les Champs Élysées, le Louvre, le Quartier LAtin, le Jardin du Luxembourg, and the list goes on.  When I got home, I fell into a deep depression.  I longed to see Paris again.

Change would have it: in my senior year of high school, the school board arranged a trip with my senior class and other senior classes from around the province.  I wasn’t as thrilled as the first trip; we were visiting all of the places I had already seen.  The exceptions being Versailles and la Normandie.  It wasn’t really a parisian experience, per say, like my first one.  This was more of a two-week long field trip.

I chose Paris as my landing-in and flying-out city for my European trip this summer mostly because it was the only European city I knew and because I spoke the language, a gift I would later be very thankful fort.  But when I landed, I wasn’t interested in seeing Paris.  I was going to be spending the next four months in Europe.  I had already seen Paris twice, now it was time for something new.  Besides, who has time for just one European lover.

Barcelona seduced me with its vivacity and colours.  In comparison, Paris seemed dead.  The French Riviera had me drooling and dreaming of summer vacations by the beach.  The water was so blue and clear, it reminded me of those blue ice-stick tubes you eat in the summer.  Genoa was an interesting lover.  It uninterested me at first.  I thought: this city has complexity problems.  But then, I let it in and genuinely began to like it.  Florence will be my Italian lover, for sure.  Unfortunately for Florence, I’m more of a French Baroque kind of girl, not a medieval kind of girl.  Rome was so popular, I felt like it had barely anytime for me at all.  I felt neglected, alone.  I learned I could love Rome, but only in the company of others.  But even then, Paris would never do that to me.  Croatia wasn’t particularly individual.  Croatia was a one-night-stand.  An amazing one-night-stand, but Croatia could’ve been anywhere.  There was nothing really croatian about Croatia.  Amsterdam was a trip, but I don’t think we could ever be.  Venice was everything Daviday, from WWOOF#5, told me it would be: brilliant and magical.

But still, nothing compares to Paris.  Paris may not be hot and sexy like Barcelona, but it sure is romantic.  Paris may not have sandy, pebble or rock beaches like the Riviera, but it has la Seine.  Paris may not have been the birthplace of the Renaissance like Florence, but it sure as hell was the birthplace or home of some of the most influential artists of the 19th and 20th Century.  Paris may be popular like Rome, but it’s modest for a big city.  It’s ashamed of its popularity and the fact that it exploits itself, which I find endearing.

But, there’s just something about Paris that makes me weak in the knees, that almost brings tears to my eyes when I walk through its streets, that gives me a little bit of a skip in my step.

Le Marché des Fleurs et des Oiseaux.  I stumbled on this by accident.  I first came here with my senior class a few years back.  I nice way to start the morning off.

Across la Seine, le Palais de Justice and la Conciergerie, where MArie Antoinette was kept captive during the last few months of her life.

La Pyramide at the Louvre.  Not really found of the pyramid itself.  I like the old parts of the palace.

Les Jardins des Tuileries. In the back, you see l’Obélisque.  And behind that, if you look closely, you’ll see l’Arc de Triomphe.

It’s only Paris if you see the Eiffel Tower!  …so some people say.  I will admit, though, that I get a little twinge, a good twinge, whenever I see it.  It’s like a little reminder that, hey: you’re in PAris!

La Place de la Sorbone. It reminded me of Sophie.  I sat on the steps in front of the Panthéon to eat lunch.  Super casual.  Paris has to be the only city in which it’s perfectly acceptable to people watch.  In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s the local pass-time.

Day two: Versailles

I was really excited about Versailles.  That is until I got there: the line-up was absurdly long! I waited in line for about 45 minutes until I decided to give-up and go back to Paris.  Right as I was leaving, they announced on the speakers that if you only want to go to the gardens, you can go straight to garden entrance.  YES!!  I wasn’t that interested in the castle part anyhow.  I pulled an “I’m a student” and got in for one euro less than regular.

Oh Versailles!  For some reason, I feel like it’s a guilty pleasure to enjoy going to Versailles, because, I thought, no parisian would willingly go to Versailles on their day off.

LOVE IT!!  I took my earphones out because I realized there was music playing.  I heard someone say it was Mozart because he was one of Marie-Antoinette’s favourites.

This part of Versailles actually doesn’t require a pass, which I thought was funny.  I desperately wanted to go somewhere where I was allowed to sit on the grass.  Turns out I didn’t need to pay for that at all.  I ended up taking a nice little nap here.

Magnificent!  Seriously, if there are people who live in castles like this, I’m marrying into that family.  No argument.  It’s been decided.

Le Bassin du Miroir. One of my favourite places in Versailles.  There is classical music playing and the fountain is synced to it.  I have a video which better demonstrates what I mean, but I don’t know how to load it onto this blog.  To view the video on my youtube page, click here.

L’Orangerie.  I desperately wanted to pick an orange as a souvenir.  Pretty sure it’s been done before and that it’s sourly frowned upon.

LE Château.  In comparison to the gardens and all of Versailles itself, le château isn’t that big.  But then you see it and think: “well if this is small in comparison to the rest of Versailles, Versailles is HUGE!”

I had a marvellous two days in Paris.  And while Paris is my favourite European city, I’m not sad about leaving.  For some reason, I have a strange feeling I’ll be back in a few short years.

À la prochaine, mon amour, mon cher Paris!

🙂 Julie

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