Di and I landed in Paris at 9 in the morning. We had decided that instead of taking a cab to get to our hotel, we were going to take the train (the goal of our vacation being to have as much fun as possible while spending as little money as possible).
Our first experience with the Paris metro system was a strange one. For starters, there were no lights on our train! There only light was from outside, and there were long periods of time when we going through tunnels and were just sitting in the dark. Also, on the regular trains, the doors aren’t automatic – the PASSENGERS are actually responsible for opening them! So as we would be approaching a stop, people would already be opening the doors and hopping out while the train was still moving! I just can’t imagine that happening on a NYC subway. Di and I were bugging.
Di in the dark:
The view from our hotel in Paris:
The neighborhood our hotel was in was cool, kind of like Union Square in NYC. But the area around the Louvre? Oh my god, it was just amazing. I’ve never been to a place so beautiful in my whole life! After we got out of the train we headed in the wrong direction, and ended up at the National Academy of Music. Snapped a few pics, then turned around and attempted to find the Louvre. It was only a few blocks away, so we arrived there relatively quickly. But at that point we got a grasp of just how big the Louvre is. I’m talking HUGE. There was definitely no way we would be able to fit it in that afternoon, so we decided to just explore the nearby area instead: the Grand Palace, the Petit Palace, the Champs-Elysees, and the Arc de Triomphe were all within walking distance.
National Music Academy:
As we were leaving the Louvre area I had my phone out taking a picture (omg I took soooo many pictures. Over 750 just in Paris!). A cop was walking by and as he passed by me he said “Watch out for pickpockets.” I smiled and nodded, all the while thinking to myself “Whatever. I’m from New York, I don’t need anyone telling me to be careful.”
Literally 30 seconds later, as we were walking towards the exit, I saw two cops tackle a guy who had been selling Eiffel Tower trinkets on the street. There had been about 20 of these vendors on the street outside the museum, but when they saw the one guy being tackled they all took off running. It was a crazy scene. In the end two guys were arrested, the original one and another one who had been standing next to him, who I swear was no more than 15 years old. “Are they arresting them just because they were selling that crap on the streets?” I asked Di. Di told me that she read on Trip Advisor that most of those street vendors are also pickpockets. They work in groups: one distracts a customer while another one steals their wallet.
I have to say, that event had me quite shaken up. I was much more aware of my surroundings and my belongings for the rest of the trip. In the middle of the photo below, right next to the couple, is the guy being led away by the undercover cops.
We did a lot of walking that afternoon. We walked down the Champs Elysees and went into the Petit Palace, which is a free museum. Everything in Paris is just so damn beautiful! By the time we finished with the museum we were ready to go back to the hotel and take a nap. I could see the Arch de Triomphe in the distance, but I had no desire to walk down and see it up close. At that point I hadn’t slept in more than 24 hours. When we got back to the hotel we checked in, then I did some quick blogging and Facebooking, and then finally I took a short nap.
This guy has swag:
Le Petit Palace:
The door of the Petit Palace:
After we woke up from our naps we headed over to the Eiffel Tower. I wasn’t expecting much, because it’s not even that tall, and I’ve seen it in pictures and have always thought, “Eh, whatever.” But in person? Totally different story. It was so gorgeous! I got a bunch of great pictures.
Our trip to the Eiffel Tower was cut short, because Di’s eyeliner was running into her contact lenses and she literally had these black swirls blocking her vision. Her attempt to rinse her contacts out with water failed, so we had to go back to the hotel so she could change them. At that point we decided to just stay local. We went to a nearby bar/lounge for dinner, then to a cafe for crepes and wine.