As promised yesterday, today I shall be detailing the adventures of my first day in Paris. I don’t know what it is, but for some reason, the beginning of most my trips have usually been the most stressful. And this one is sadly no exception. We had planned this trip to take place November 7-9, 2008. I was going to be flying from Liverpool (I was living in Hull at the time), Feyi and her friend were going to be flying out of Birmingham (they live(d) in Coventry and Ade was going to fly out of London (where she was living).

To be safe, I spent the night at a friend’s (now ex) boyfriend’s flat. He took me around Liverpool for a bit before heading back to his place to eat and sleep. Liverpool is a nice place, but having only seen the cathedral, an art exhibit and The Cavern where the Beatles became popular, I have not much to report about there. Anyway, I made it to the airport on time and my excitement was very high. Then I got a call. Ominous sounding I know. I was standing in a stairwell just about to walk outside and board the plane when I got a call from Feyi. Go figure they had missed their flight. They were trying to get on another one but it was looking like they weren’t going to show up until the next day. And as Ade wasn’t going to getting there until that night anyway, it appeared like I was going to be walking around Paris all by myself for the first day.

I landed at the Paris-Beauvais airport and took a bus from to downtown Paris, which nicely wasn’t too far away from our hotel. The shuttle cost 15 euros. I have to note that after living in England for a few months, I nearly freaked out as the bus was getting onto the freeway and then realised that they were on the correct side of the road.

After finding and dropping off my stuff at my hotel, I took the map they gave me and started walking around. I pretty much stuck to Avenue de la Grande Armee which turned into Avenue de Champs-Elysees. Which means that the first monument I was the Arc de Triomphe:

It was incredible. This is also one of the monuments I have a 3-D puzzle mini of. As the arch is surrounded by a roundabout, the only way to access it is via two underground tunnels, which connect Grand Armee and Champs-Elysees. I sadly, did not take advantage of the opportunity of going up into the arch which I know regret, but I have many reasons to go back, this being only one of them.

Here is where I get slightly embarrassed. Just before the tunnel entrance was a guy with a lot of paintings for sale. I most always never buy anything when I go on vacation. Not this time, in the short course of 20 minutes I was guilted into buying a drawing (which is not a personal drawing) and a yarn bracelet that some guy just started braiding on my finger and then tying around my wrist. I naturally didn’t pay what he wanted me too but I learned a lesson about going on vacation: unless you want to be screwed over, never buy anything from or even stop for people by tourist attractions. You can buy everything they are selling from tourist shops and most likely for cheaper.

From the arch I continued down Champs-Elysees past the Grand and Petit Palais down to L’Obelisque:

This 3300 year old Luxorian obelisk was gifted to France in 1829 by the viceroy of Egypt (http://www.discoverfrance.net/France/Paris/Monuments-Paris/Obelisque.shtml). Interestingly, this isn’t the Egyptian monument I’ve seen donated to another country. But I’ll tell that story some other time. This obelisk stands just outside the entrance to the Jardin des Tuileries.

Because I was there in November, the garden was obviously not in bloom and because of the recent rain, very muddy. But from there I was able to get a very nice shot of L’Obelisque and the Arc de Triomphe:

Of course, also pictured there is a fountain from the Jardin de Tuileries.

All of this leads us finally to the second highlight of the day: the Louvre. I had decided before I got there that I didn’t care how much it cost, I was going to go into the Louvre. I was expecting it to be around 50 euros, but was incredibly, and pleasantly, surprised to find it was only 9 euros. I ended up paying 12 euros to see the special exhibit as well.

In the beginning, I was leisurely walking and checking out all the titles of the works. But the further and further I walked, the less I checked out the titles and the quicker I walked just to be able to see more things. Of course, the highlight of the Louvre was seeing the Mona Lisa, but to be completely honest, I was underwhelmed. It was much smaller than I had anticipated. Don’t get me wrong, it was way cool to see it, and I whole-heartedly suggest going to see it, just don’t expect it to be the most remarkable thing you see. I was more excited upon my discovery that the Venus de Milo. I had no idea it was there and stumbled across it while exploring. I also saw the painting, Liberty Leading the People (La Liberte guidant le peuple), the carving of the Code of Hammurabi, and the headless angel statue, Winged Victory. Now they were cool.

Sadly, just before I was able to get to the Egyptian section, I saw that it was getting late so I had to leave. I would have tried calling Feyi, but I had called my mother and ended up depleting my account and had no credit to call her. I couldn’t even figure out how to use the payphones there. Thankfully, they had gotten to the hotel not long before I got back. I also had mistakenly taken the room key with me which I wasn’t supposed to do. To end the day, we went to a restaurant close to us, La Villa Corse. The food was amazing. I love French food.

So overall, things turned out very well. In one day I was able to walk down one street and see so much. Just a tip though. Make sure you plan a couple days to see the Louvre. You will need it 😉

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Comments
  1. Paris is great! I hoped you enjoyed it.

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  2. […] piece of art. Reminds me of when I stumbled upon the Venus de Milo in the Louvre (read about that here). I’m so glad we got to see […]

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