Day 8, Paris 2

Got a good sleep in, and breakfast where I thought a little more on what I want and where I want to go. I think I’m really keen to get to Germany and re-experience the culture and things I learned during my time at uni, see places I talked about but never visited. I think it’s getting in the way of my enjoyment of other places. I’ve enjoyed Paris, but wasn’t overjoyed. Though I’ve never been overly interested in France or the language until getting here, and it’s partially by necessity. 

On the way to the Notre Dame, stumbled into the NOTre Dame (heh, get it? Cause it wasn’t the Notre Dame), St Severin – took photos there of the faded paintings on the walls, because I found you can see the colours and images better on my camera than in real life. Very nice cathedral, if I’m honest that struck more of a chord with me than the Notre Dame, where we went next. Swang and I circled it and swang recalled going there in a video game about assassins, then waited in line to go inside. It was lovely, but I wasn’t overcome with joy. I didn’t cry. I didn’t have a religious experience (unless you count bumping into someone, almost dropping my camera, and shout-whispering ‘oh my God!’).

I actually found some of the smaller churches around to be more rewarding, but now I can say I went inside the Notre Dame

From there we walked to the Pantheon. It was fucking freezing, both in there and also downstairs in the crypt. It was also dwarfing. Paintings and high ceilings, it was also bright in there so you got a good look at everything, including the big drive slabs in the crypt downstairs (another place Swang had visited in that game). After, we had to sit on the steps of the Pantheon in the sun to defrost. 

I forgot to take a picture with my phone in the Pantheon, so here’s one of a train with rubber wheels!!

Back where we came, I got a crepe and hot chocolate in a little cafe and the lady at the counter gave us a quick French lesson, which was really pleasant. She was lovely but I can’t recall the name of the place unfortunately. 

We took the train to the Arch de Triompe and took some photos. Unfortunately we had a while to wait until it was dark so we could go on the boat tour, so we popped down the road to a cathedral.. but really we were just looking for a comfortable place to sit… so we got McDonald’s (I’m sorry, I will undoubtedly not have mentioned this to you Amy) and stayed for an hour or so (I wrote in my blog, Swang had a nap) and then we set of for the Eiffel tower again, where the boat tour began. 

I also forgot to snap one of the arch with my phone, so here’s a snapchat we sent Chloe, who is terrified of birds

We ran around like headless chickens for a few minutes, going to the wrong pier, then having to wait in line for ages before finally boarding. But it was worth it. Was just heading to twilight when we started, and we passed by the Notre Dame all lit up, other buildings I couldn’t bene along the way, and by the time we got back the Eiffel tower was lit up. For her final trick, the Eiffel tower then began to flash like a Christmas tree. But it wasn’t tacky, I really liked it and snapped far too many photos. 

We disembarked as the tower stopped flashing, and went back up to the plaza area where we originally took photos, and snapped some really good ones. Paris at night is well worth it if you’re a magpie. 

Once that was over we were freezing, back into the subway and a couple of tired, confused trips later, we arrived back at the hostel and went straight to the bar for a feed. 

A little story from that day: we noticed a busker putting cup too far out and a couple of people knocked his measly amount of cents over again and again, I wondered if this was on purpose. Make them feel extra sorry when your money goes everywhere. Apologise with more. 


Day 7, Paris

Woke up in the morning and had a little sleep in until about 9:00, has a shower and meet Swang downstairs for breakfast. There were few seats so we sat with a couple of Canadian girls and chatted about booking tickets online as perhaps a cheaper alternative to booking at the attraction, or even booking at the hostel (spoiler alert, the cheapest way to book tour and attraction tickets is through the hostel). 

98% awake, 2% sexy

So we went to the hostel counter and bought tickets for catacombs, Swang thought he was giving me change (gave me two euros for a nine euro ticket) and then stared at me blankly as I questioned his change and asked for more money. 

The free walking tour was meant to be from 10 – 1, butwas more like ten until two. Someone leads you from your hostel on the train to the meeting point, and there we were introduced to Oliver, our tour guide from Birmingham. He took us all over the show, from the Latin District, the Notre Dame, lovelock bridge, the Luvre and more (pictures at the bottom). He was very theatrical and funny, which made the history lessons great as well as informative. He also told us about scams to watch out for, such as when people come up asking if you speak English and have you donate for their sick grandmother, where you find a gold ring, or where they tie string around your wrist and have you pay for a bracelet. I also told him about how I worked as a tour guide also and he gave me this little number:

“There’s a Cadbury factory in Birmingham, you probably already know. My grandmother workered there – they would give her a lot of free chocolate… and then they have her diabetes.”

He was the kind of tour guide I would have aspired to be. Acting as a king on his deathbed, talking to the to-be king below:

Once that your finished, Swang and I bought tickets to a boat tour and Versailles, the former we intended to do that evening. We grabbed a bite with a trio from our tour group and say by the fountain. Eventually we left, taking a New Zealander called Nikki with us to go visit the Eiffel tower. I’m glad I cansay I’ve seen it, but it was just a tall pike of iron to me if I’m radically honest. Still plenty of selfies were taken. 

The perfect selfie

We then took the train to the catacombs, where Nikki didn’t have a ticket and there line was huge. As Swangand I pre-bought tickets, we jumped took the front of the queue and walked in immediately, we ultimately left Nikki to go down to the catacombs (which we felt bad about, but I forgot once it down there – it was incredible. I’ve you made your way through all the tunnels you got to the section with bones. Pre-booking at the hostel may have also netted is an English audio guide? Very informative, as we hard how the bones were moved and stacked there. We mostly saw hundreds of skills and thousands of femurs (not exaggerating, I’m probably underselling it if anything), many in formations like crosses (one in a heart shape).

All the stacks pictured are femurs, leg bones. Apart from the spherical ones, those are all skulls
We were there for over an hour – left and went to a bakery (unlikely a good French one as it had English translations for the food) and then began to take the train to the Eiffel tower to get ready for the boat tour. On the way Swang said he was kinda tired. I agreed, and we decided to do the boat tour the next day – so we hopped around the track and then got it back to where we came from, and then up to Gare du Nord to the hostel again. 

At the hostel we had a really good chat with the two American blokes in our room, and started taking about where we will go after Tuesday and their plans. We then all decided to go to McDonald’s, and I got 20 chicken nuggets with sweet and sour sauce, which they seem to call classic Chinese.
Walked down the road looking for gelato or crepes, then into a corner store for drinks before dawdling upstairs to the room, where I realised my bag was missing and traced my steps back to McDonald’s where I forgot to pick it up. For maybe 15 or 20 minutes I hadn’t noticed it was gone – over a week of constant vigilance with my wallet, passport, pockets, and bags, and I still manage to have a tired lapse in concentration. So I sprint down the two floors, out the door and around the block, then down a couple of blocks, across the road, into McDonald’s and up the stairs to find… 

my bag. Sitting where I left it. Still containing my camera. Overjoyed, I left McDonald’s to see Swang across the street, smirking. I joined him and went to the hostel to calm down and hit the hay. 

No caption needed
The bridge opposite love-lock bridge, covered in love-locks, but not called love-lock bridge
Notre Dame (not pictured: me, acting like the hunchback)