Monday, October 31, 2011


City: Paris, France

Dates: 12-15 October, 2011

Transportation to City: Plane from Venice to Paris (EasyJet)

Transportation in City: Our feet, the Metro, the RER, OrlyBus

Places Seen/Visited: 
- Eiffel Tower

- L'Ecole Militaire
- Les Invalides
- Sacre Coeur
- Montmartre
- Moulin Rouge
- L'Arc de Triomphe
- Place de la Concorde
- Grand Palais
- Notre Dame
- L'Opera
- Galeries Lafayettes
- Place de la Madeleine
- Shakespeare & Co.
- La Conciergerie 
- Louvre
- Hotel de Ville
- Place des Vosges
- Jardin Luxembourg
- Pere Lachaise Cemetery 
- Jardin Tuileries
- Jardin des Plantes

Food Eaten:
- Baguettes

- Cheese (normal)
- Cheese (stinky- we didn't realize this when we bought it)
- Croque Monsieur (delicious ham and cheesy sandwich, if you weren't aware)
- Quiche Lorraine
- Salade Verte
- Boeuf Bourguignon (beef stew, cooked with wine)
- Onion Soup
- Nutella Crepe
- Raspberry Tartelette
- Pain au Chocolat (pastry filled with chocolate)

Hostel Review: 
PROS: Clean. Located in Montmartre, not too far from a Metro station (the Blue Line- Anvers station, the same station you use to get to Sacre Coeur). Helpful, nice staff. Had our own room, which included a sink. Towels included (they were very small, but after using my tee shirt for a week, I didn't mind). Breakfast included as well and it was GREAT. It was the same thing everyday-- orange juice, coffee, pain au chocolat, and a baguette with tubs of butter and jam-- but no complaints.

CONS: Public bathrooms and there wasn't a shower on our floor, so you had to climb stairs half-wet after your shower. The shower wasn't always warm.

Things Learned:
- Don't jump on the Metro train just because it's there if you aren't absolutely sure it's the correct train for where you're headed. You'll end up way off track if you accidentally take the wrong line (going the wrong direction isn't such a big deal as long as you realize it quickly).

- Like in Italy, use any free public restrooms you see even if you don't have to go. Paris actually provides free restrooms in various places around the city. They can be hard to find, even with the "Toilettes" signs you occasionally see (just because there's a sign, that doesn't mean you won't be walking for ten minutes before you find the toilets the sign was pointing to). Conveniently, they self-clean after every use so you don't feel quite so icky using them. The only problem is that it can take forever if there's any line at all. The door takes awhile to move back and forth and the self-cleaning takes a good two minutes. We spent 20 minutes by the bathrooms once or twice because we had to go and we knew there wouldn't be another bathroom around.

- If anyone approaches you at a big tourist site (and they don't just want you to take their picture), it's best to ignore them. They're probably going to try to scam you. Especially men trying to tie a bracelet around your wrist and girls pretending to be mute. I usually think it's best to firmly say "Non, merci!" (so they think I'm just an annoyed French person, hopefully, and not a tourist) and walk quickly past.

- Water and wine both cost a ton at restaurants. Wine was usually 3-4 euros a glass and water was 3-5 euros for a small bottle. It's a huge rip-off.

- At a restaurant, you usually just sit down immediately. They don't often "seat" you. Plus, that way you can pick the table with the best view.

- If a waiter looks at you confusedly when you sit down, he's probably just waiting for you to either say the drink you want (assuming you're just there for coffee, wine, or a cocktail) or ask for the menu. Especially if you're eating dinner early (5-7 pm). 

- Buy a carnet of Metro tickets if you'll be using it just occasionally. It's ten tickets for a discounted price.

- Don't buy cheese unless you know what it is (or it may very well be stinky).

- Keep your camera in a very protective case and don't drop it.

- It's wonderful to spend time under the Eiffel Tower, picnicking or just sitting and talking, especially at night, but know that there are tons of guys selling Eiffel Tower keychains there and it can get very annoying. We were always happy when we saw the police run up and all the keychain-sellers would sprint off in the other direction. If only they could be there all the time.

- Go to the Louvre from 6-10 pm on Friday if you're under the age of 25. It's free! Even if the signs make it look like you still need a ticket. We were afraid I had the wrong information about free Fridays (I saw it online before we came), but we watched some younger people go through without tickets. You just have to show your passport.

Favorite Parts:
- Going up in Notre Dame. The view is spectacular! So many people want to go up in the Eiffel Tower, but if you go up in Notre Dame, you get a great view of the Eiffel Tower plus you're amongst the gargoyles.

- Eating the croque monsieur we got from the Berthillion stand on Ile Saint-Louis. Cheesy yumminess and probably the best croque monsieur I've had yet. Also, eating the raspberry tartelette by the Eiffel Tower after dinner. Also, every baguette. Also, everything else we ate in France (besides the stinky cheese, which was just too smelly).

- Shopping at H&M. I only bought a scarf, but it was fun just looking around and going through all the different floors. Being with a boy, I didn't get to do any shopping on Fall Break really. H&M was all I asked for (pretty much . . .) and Brandon was very patient when it took me forever to decide which scarf I wanted. 

- Every time we sat beneath the Eiffel Tower. The first day we picnicked there with a baguette, cheese, and orangina. The second day, we were there before dinner and we ran into three of our classmates. That night, we went back after dinner with a baguette (for Brandon) and a tartelette (for me). It's so pretty and it's nice to have time to relax after you've been walking all day. 

First Day in Paris, Lunch at the Eiffel Tower.

Croque Monsieur & Quiche Lorraine.

Eiffel Tower Lit.

Sacre Coeur.


Galeries Lafayettes (a mall)

L'Arc de Triomphe

Eiffel Tower.

Boeuf Bourguignon.

Raspberry Tartelette.

Notre Dame (and wearing my new H&M scarf).

View from Notre Dame.

Best Croque Monsieur! Look at the Huge Layer of Cheese :)

Inside Shakespeare & Co. Bookstore.

Hotel de Ville.

Place des Vosges.

The Louvre.

Inside the Louvre.

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