Paris is Freakin Incredible!!

Trip Start Jun 06, 2009
Trip End Aug 31, 2009

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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Paris is pretty amazing.  So far I've seen the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and did a free walking tour of the city.  All museums apparently are closed on Tuesdays.  Not sure if all Tuesdays but I tried to go to the Louvre today and was sadly turned away.  So I went on a 3.5 hour walking tour of the city and learned a lot about it.  I saw some WW II bullet holes in an ex-Gestapo building, learned how Paris came about, and watched so many Parisians lounging about the city's parks and cafes.  Apparently taking long breaks and sitting around smoking and drinking coffee is the thing to do here.  Chilling with some people in the garden of some 900 yr old building with fountains and statues will do that to you I suppose.  Believe me!  The free tour that I've taken here and in Amsterdam are young expats who live and work here and work for tips only.  So far they are very good and very knowledgable about the city.  Today was kind of a long tour and with my newly shaven head I got quite burned again.  I should of brought some sunscreen with me but the tour was unexpected.  Last night I did the Eiffel Tower thing and only had to wait about 45 minutes to get to the top which is pretty good I suppose.  The citys' buildings all look very similiar and the same height.  I think there is some kind of height restriction in the city except for a few structures.  It was awesome just looking down on the city though. 

Funny story: I made the mistake of saying "hola" to some Hispanic ladies behind me and one of them started basic with "how are you." And with 4 pairs of eyes on me to perform, I froze for some strange reason.  I knew the answer but couldn't muster the energy to answer.  Then all the women started to lean into me waiting for an answer and I finally spit out something resembling that I was good.  Then we exchanged a few more words and then we just abruptly stopped talking.  I felt kind of bad because I crumbled under the pressure and because I knew more Spanish than what I said. 

Notes about Parisians: A lot of them smoke, they seem to dress very well-Americans don't know how to dress, their internet sucks here, they DO eat a lot of French bread, pedestrians don't have the right of way, the metro is so easy to get around, there are a lot of tourists here, I have encountered about a handful of screaming/irate French people who like to scream and yell on the metro or streets to anybody who listens, and the chocolate-banana crepes are heaven in your mouth!

My last day in Paris I went to the biggest Chateau in all of Europe.  Chateau de Versailles.  Upon walking up the mega structure, you notice gold painted fences and the gold painted roof in the front.  I noticed a super long line to get in, and get in I did.  Somebody I met the previous night recommended that I get the guided tour ticket because there was a separate entrance and the line I was in would probably be a few hours of waiting. Since I already bought a museum pass, I decided to tough it out.  20 minutes later I'm in the door.  Glad I didn't buy the extra ticket!  The palace was King Louis XV.  And the whole Marie Antoinette thing is here too.  The palace was so over the top inside it was freakin crazy.  Big full-size statues, massive pictures of whoever, indoor chapel complete with huge painted picture inside, and the biggest gardens out back that you could ever see.  The had a tram you could take to if you wanted to pay the extra money. 

As I proceeded to get my 500th French sandwich(cheap), I was doing the walking around thing.  I was sitting by the lake when a woman came up to me and asked if I wanted to walk with her.  I said-what the hell.  I had a few hours to kill before my train.  I guess she saw me asking someone else to take a picture for me and thought we could team  up together and get some pics for each other.  She was from China and her husband was in Paris working and she came out there alone.  We ended up talking for 2 hours about what else, America and China.  I always find it interesting to get a different view point of the world.  Apparently the Chinese think Americans are big and strong from eating a lot of beef.  And the Chinese small from eating vegetables.  I told her we're fat from McD's. 

New Note:  GRAFFITI, GRAFFITI, GRAFFITI!  Every train, subway I've taken in France has graffiti on every free wall, telephone pole, old dead train, and anything else they can find to spray paint. Not sure why that is. You would think the government would try to curb the problem with an age limit or something. 

Bottom Line: Ease for Americans:
Not too bad. Paris is a very old city and has statues upon statues and cool fountains.  So much to see and do and so little time.
Fun Factor: I didn't really hit the nightlife because I wanted to see too much during the day(I'm old).
Security: As long as you are smart, you are fine.
THUMBS UP:   This place kind of makes me want to learn French and it doesn't seem that hard.
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martagisela on

you see
one hispanic girl is enough for you!!!! Is so amazing the way you describe your day. P.S. I love your pics!(.=

cwald on

Mon Frere
I just love your take on the places you're visiting, France is so at the top of my travel wish list, just behind Italy. Awesome pictures, Sounds like you're meeting some cool people too. Carry on!

alexrace23 on

very cool!!! really nice pics! keep on keeping on! love you

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