Paris times two

“Cities have sexes: London is a man, Paris a woman, and New York a well-adjusted transsexual.” -Angela Carter

Bonjour!

This is the second time I’ve been to Paris. I went back in 2008 when I was in London for a class during undergrad. Back then I remembered hearing how much everyone had loved Paris and how great of a city it was. I didn’t get it. I was unimpressed and didn’t see why people thought it was the “city of love.” So when Kelly and I planned our trip, we decided to just make a short stop there. Two days to be exact.

What we found out was that two days is just not enough time! With museums only open from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. most days and visiting in the middle of their peak season, it was impossible to complete the short list of activities we had come up with! We definitely could’ve spent at least one more day there. I wanted to go to Versailles – which is basically a day trip in and of itself. And there were quite a few museums and things that Kelly missed out on as well. So keep that in mind folks, go to Paris for more than just two days, if you happen to venture over there.

However, I can’t decide if I’d recommend going in the summer or the winter, because each had its benefits. When I had visited previously it was in the middle of winter. This was great because there were no queues and hardly any tourists. I vaguely remember standing in front of a painting in the Musee d’Orsay for quite a few minutes by myself. On the contrary, when we were just in Paris all we did was wait in lines (three hours before we could get into the catacombs) and stand amid dozens of others trying to see over the tall guy standing directly in front of Van Gogh’s self portrait. So there’s that.

But after now having visited Paris again, I think one of the main reasons I didn’t like it the first time around was because it was winter. It was cold, gray and dreary. The buildings didn’t look pleasant and charming, they looked old and drab with leafless trees standing stark in front of them. The Eiffel tower was an ugly steel pinnacle on the skyline. But the charm was there these past two days. We had beautiful sunny skies spotted with pleasant clouds and warm days with a pleasant cooling breeze. This resulted in sunburnt cheeks and funny tan lines on feet (thanks sandals). The city streets were lively, trees were green and buildings inviting. Seriously, it was almost the complete opposite. But I hear that we had really nice weather while we were there and that it isn’t always like that. I guess it just depends on what you’re looking for.

Additionally, on my bucket list I said I wanted to spend as much time as possible in the d’Orsay. I did. That ended up being a mere two hours. Sorry, but I determined that there is only so much art I can look at, as fantastic as that museum is. Not to mention my feet were sore from having been standing on them for at least five hours at that point, and I was probably dehydrated and hungry. But that’s OK. I’m satisfied with the time I spent there and the paintings I was able to see. Not to mention I would rather do things I hadn’t done before in Paris. So for me, it’s another check off the list!

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Speaking of these other things, most of our two days in Paris was new to me, which I really enjoyed! I would highly suggest a walk around Montmartre at night. Walking around there really made me feel like I was in Paris (or maybe it was just the guy playing the accordion)! There’s a great view of the city of Paris from there as well. We also did a really great FREE walking tour of the city. They stopped at a lot of the sites (although we didn’t go in many of them, you have to pay for most) and heard a lot of history as well as a lot of great tips, ranging from where to (and not to) go and secret entrances to the Louvre that will get you in faster (sorry! can’t give it away 😉 ).

After indulging in plenty of sweet and savory crepes, as well as a few delicious pastries and glasses of wine, I’d say our trip to Paris was a success!

Look for the Paris photo gallery on Saturday!

-Britt

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