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Paris I

Day One In Paris

I hope you know us well enough to guess that we left the whole ‘booking’ thing until the very last of minutes…

But it turned out quite well. We came up against the option of paying x euros per person and being thrown into the smallest of rooms in the oldest of hostels in the furthest corners of paris, or paying x+ a little bit more and staying in a shoebox apartment in the 9th (the ”burbs’ in Paris go clockwise out from the centre).

It was a pretty cool locale, not just in terms of location, but also in that it was one of these apartments that was originally for the maids and butlers- hidden on the hidden 6th floor (which you literally got to by pushing a wooden panel, ducking through this secret door and hiking up tiny rickety steps). Super cool!

Tiny- but perfect! I’m standing in the kitchen area, which came complete with all the necessities including stove and microwave, the toilet is behind me, and the rest is what you see (the couch folds out into two single beds). Looking back the other way:

Plus, in the evening, you could see Sacre Coeur from the window:

.. and in the mornings it was all sunshine and light and that beautiful architecture:

On the first day we did what by this time I can comfortably refer to as our traditional walking tour, which had us roaming around the city, peering at buildings and giggling at over-exaggerated history.

 

Paris is a much more beautiful city than Berlin- which seems to be mostly due to a couple of reasons:
a) the did a major city overhaul at some time in history and set the whole thing up in a logical and united way (of course to the loss of the masses who lived in the city- many of whom could not afford the re-mod)
b) it did not get bombed to oblivion in the war (although Hitler ordered it to be raised to the ground when he realised his imminent defeat, apparently this guy disobeyed the orders- most likely to save his own neck).
c) communism with its delight in grey, concrete and pre-fabricated uniformity, did not get such a hold. I mean check out this comrade- sure, dismantling the church and giving the money to the poor is a great idea, but can we start with NOT the really beautiful 100 year old marvelous beauties?

I’d probably let this one hang around too:

But not with the ugly viewing platform, which is meant to give people ‘a new perspective’ on the building.

These Parisians are so artistic.

Notre Dame for those of you playing at home- the original hang-out spot of my beloved Mr Hugo’s hunchback.

The river Seine. When my cousin, sister and I used to act out Les Mis in our living room (I was of course Gavroche, because he’s the only one with any balls in the whole piece) we all thought it was hilarious that Javert went insane and jumped in the river Seine. 

Not that the suicide part was funny- although the way I acted it (I was also Javert- there were only 3 of us after all), it was probably more comedy than provoking heart-breaking realisations and deep existential thoughts.

Hoho! What’s that peaking out in the distance there?

The Love Lock bridge. I think it’s Pont de l’Archeveche (insert appropriate accents in your own time) but I could be wrong. Internets says that this bridge is for your lover and the Pont des Arts if for long time love, but in any case this seemed to be the bride where it was all happening.

I just found some info about how horrible it is that the beautiful historical bridge is being ruined by locks. I agree that it might not be great for the environment, throwing hundreds of keys in the river and having rusty locks occasionally make their way in (although from the looks of the Seine, there are worse things floating by), but still- they look so pretty all a-glistening in the sunshine.

 Next stop, The Louvre.

Our guide- to be honest he was only ok.

And now for my favourite photo, ever:

We took a break and Andy stuffed himself with some Mc-Macarons, and I managed to rind myself a Nutella-almond-banana crepe.

Onwards with the travels!

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These are in the Jardin des Tuileries, which is right next to the Louvre and holds the Orangerie and the photography museum.

I think the crow adds a certain something to the photo.

The tour ended by about 4, and we were both starving, so we followed the group into a little cafe and stuffed our faces for a long, satisfying period of time.

Andy ordered the snails, and spent quite a while trying to get the little buggers to stay on the tongs in a way that also made it possible to get them out of their shell.

I had the french onion soup, which was more bread than soup, and more cheese than bread. Together, we made for a rather hilarious lunch duo.

Ultimately, we both thought the snails were only ok- they probably needed more garlic- and while they worked well if you poured the snail and its associated herb butter onto some crusty french baguette, the actual snail part itself seemed to be more of a ‘medium’ than a ‘truth upon itself’… and not a particularly tasty or texturally delightful medium either.

We both had some sort of Boeuf Bourguignon for mains. It was lovely and tender, and very appreciated after a year of pork-chicken-pork-pork-potatoes-pork in Germany. Still, I suspect Ella (my sister) makes better.

We wandered around the city a bit more, and then, tired out by all the walking and eating, headed back to the apartment for an hour or two before dinner (more eating!).

Excited by the fact that Paris seems to be made up of people of more than a single origin, we stuffed our face with some sort of middle eastern fair, and made our way back to the apartment with these sugary delights:

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