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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Paris? Don't Mind if I do

In honor of 80 days left:

The following list is the top 8 things I want to do in Paris. Now, having only two-three days (maybe even just 1), I know I won't finish the entire list. If I was going with my mom, yes, I would, as we jam pack as much into every day as possible. Going with friends, though? I'll probably be lucky to get half of this done.

Though, I will likely never go to Paris again, so maybe I will find a way to see it all. I'm good at planning schedules, so I could probably fit it all in! Though I doubt my friends like rushing everywhere like I do.

8. Eiffel Tower

I've already talked about the Eiffel Tower a TON, so I will just leave you with a pretty picture. I DID learn it's open until midnight though and it probably won't be crowded.

7. Dali Museum*

This might sounds weird, but I really think Salvador Dali is my favorite artist.

He is the first one I ever learnt about, so I have an attachment to him. I had to learn about him in my Spanish II class and then paint a surrealist picture inspired by his work.

I would really love going to the Dali Museum and seeing just how weird it is.

6. Versailles* 

I have loved Versailles ever since reading a book about a servant girl (fictional, of course) who worked there. Palaces have always enthralled me and this one is absolutely beautiful.

5. Notre Dame

This is really one of those places that I want to go only to say I've been. It's beautiful, but I don't have any reason to go there other than I want to.

Also, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a pretty great movie.

But really, the gothic architecture is probably my favorite type. The gargoyles and everything are just beautiful.

I don't want to go in though. I just want to take a picture of me outside of it.

4. Arc De Triomphe

So, honestly, I'm not really sure what the Arc De Triomphe is. I want to go though.

3. Louvre*

Okay, so I really dislike museums. In New York, we completely skipped the MOMA just because we didn't want to go.

That being said, I really want to go to the Louvre. I don't think it would be right to skip it. I think I can turn off my dislike of museums for an hour or two. Just long enough to see the big deal pieces of art, like the Mona Lisa.

2. Pantheon

I only knew this building existed because I was scouring the parispass website. I would never have wanted to go there otherwise.

Of course, being me, I researched the building after learning about it. Now I really want to go there for one big reason.

The crypts.

Now, I normally don't wander around people's graves, but in New York, I stumbled upon Alexander Hamilton's.

This crypt has within it's walls:

  • Voltaire
  • Rousseau
  • Victor Hugo 
  • Marat
  • Emile Zola
  • Jean Moulin
  • Soufflot 
  • Louis Braille
  • Marie Curie
I don't know who half of those people are, but Voltaire, Rousseau, VICTOR HUGO, Louis Braille, and Marie Curie are all people I've heard of.

1. Opera de Paris

I'm not a big opera person, but I like taking tours more than the average person should. If I can take a tour of a place, I'm in!

I can only imagine things you'd see on a tour of an old opera house. Maybe a phantom? It IS the same opera house that the Phantom of the Opera is set at.

Okay, so, I actually didn't know the above fact until literally five seconds ago. I googled the story and discovered it right in the midst of typing the second paragraph of this section. Now I have no choice but to go to Palais Garnier, the official name of the beautiful building in the above picture.

*Places I'm willing to give up if there is no time, though Versailles is still somewhere I really want to go.


  1. Looks like a good list. I didn't think I'd have a such a visceral reaction to Notre Dame, but it ended up one of my favorites. If you only have a day, you'll lose a huge chunk of it going to Versailles. It's a train ride away--I can't remember how long. Maybe 30 minutes. The lines are long and the museum employees go on strike regularly, so you'll want to check that before making the trek. It's WELL worth it, but you can't do it quickly. The Louvre is invaluable and you'll be able to do Notre Dame and it. The whole time I walked around the Louvre, I understood the anger of the French Revolution. It's hard to understand why the aristocracy thought it wasn't good enough and built Versailles.
    Taking a Seine cruise is worth it just to see everything. I doesn't take long. Make sure you get a crepe! Walking through the Latin Quarter is fun, too. Lots of embassies and seeing places all those artists lived back in the 20s is cool. I've heard the bicycle tours are fun and help you get through everything.
    Buy a scarf. And chocolate. And drink some cafe au lait. But don't sit down in a restaurant--or if you do, understand there's a HUGE tax if you sit. If you stand at the bar, it's cheaper. :)
    I love Paris. I can't wait to read about your experiences.

    1. Originally, we were supposed to have 3 days, but in order to see Alex Kingston play Lady Macbeth, we have to cut it to one. Don't know the plan yet though. I didn't know about the eating!!

  2. If you only have one day, you're probably going to have to give up on Versailles. When I was in Paris a couple of years ago, that trip took most of the day.

    As crazy as this sounds, I don't think you should go to the Lourve either. First of all, the line to get inside is insanely long and you'll probably be waiting for upwards of an hour. Once you're inside, you won't want to leave. The Lourve in and of itself is a full day. Trust me, I went twice while on my trip (for several hours each time) and I still felt like I barely scratched the surface. If you want to visit an art museum, go to d'Orsay. Lots of beautiful works of art (especially impressionist paintings) and it will only take you an hour or so to see everything.

    1. All of your advice is stuff I'm doing now!

      I have two days now, so I will go to Versailles one morning/afternoon. I will get there at 8 when the garden section opens and make our way through as different parts open. I hope to leave around 1 or 2. That should give us 3-4 hours in the castle. We likely won't buy the ticket that includes Marie Antoinette's house because then it's more I feel we'd have to see.

      I would rather get a taste of Versailles then see none at all.

      I also want to go to D'Orsay more, because I love Van Gogh. The Louvre just seems like such a "have to do" type thing, even though I don't really want to, and likely won't.

      Any other tips that will make the trip smoother?

    2. Definitely know the general layout of the city. It can be kind of confusing because Paris is set up in a series of rings. There are loads of sketchy vendors at every tourist attraction you go to, so watch out for that. They are not at all afraid of being pushy and aggressive. As always, be aware of gypsies, especially around Notre Dame.

      If you're looking to eat cheap, then just get crepes. There are stands on every corner and you can get pretty much anything in it (ham, cheese, eggs, fruit, etc.). I was in Paris for a week and had a crepe for dinner all but one night. So good!

      Unfortunately, the stereotype of Parisians being snobby towards English-speakers (especially Americans) is 100% true. Don't let that ruin the city for you though! Just try to be obnoxious and most people will treat you fine. That being said, also expect that there are people who will ignore you just for speaking English.

    3. Luckily, most of the things we're planning on doing are super close to each other. I don't want to jinx myself and say I don't think I'll get lost, but I don't think I'll get lost.

      I've never had a crepe, but I'm looking forward to it.

      If I try to pick up on some super basic French (hello, goodbye, thank you, where is xyz) would that make them nicer?

    4. I cannot stress enough how careful you have to be when you are at these tourist locations. The vendors are no joke and they will trick you and harass you. I don't know if you've ever been outside of the US, but if you haven't, you are in for the surprise of your life.

      In general, people will be more receptive if you at least try to speak the language. Never the less, you'll most likely run into people who will be able to see that you're American and won't help you out.

      I've also been to England a couple of times if you have any questions about that!

    5. I have traveled outside of the country, to Mexico several times and Costa Rica. I'm sure it won't be anything alike though.

      I think I've got England figured out. Most of the time there I'll be in class, but I do have tickets to go to Highclere Castle in Newbury and we're planning on going to the Manchester International Festival and maybe Brighton. We're also going to go to Cardiff.