No, Sam did not drive in Paris thank goodness.
It was a dark and stormy night in a city that knows how to keep it secrets. We arrived in Paris at 4 PM to a rainstorm, spent some time in the train station trying to sort out train tickets from Paris to Nice and Nice to Tubingen (more on this adventure later). After that we boarded the metro and headed to our hostel, I’ll let Kailey tell you more about that moment later on, but needless to say it was interesting and left quite the impression on my traveling companion.
After a pep talk about the hostel situation over FaceTime from her mom and quick bite to eat at an Indian place nearby that hit the spot, we came back and got ready for bed around 11pm. Our roommate arrived back at 12 and we ended up talking for a while with Mariano who is a microsoftie from Buenos Ares, Argentina. He will actually be visiting Seattle in June so we are going to e-mail suggestions of what to do in the area since his idea of visiting Pizza Hut and Taco Bell simply will not stand. Perhaps we can show him around the area a bit as his opening line was “Do you know of Redmond?” Kailey’s face may have lit up at the point as she exclaimed “That is where I am from :-).
The next day we took our time getting up and out the door. We took the metro over to the Arc Du Triumph and then walked along the Champs D’Elysses through the city all the way to the Louvre and then onto Notre Dame. We stopped for a brief moment and had some lunch in a cafe near the square. After our bite to eat we continued exploring, making our way back to our hostel where we relaxed for a bit, showered, changed and go ready to go searching for a crepe place for dinner.
Sam found a review on yelp that talked about a creperie that used all local sustainable organic ingredients in its cooking and thought this would be a good way to get some delicious crepes for dinner. He was not mistaken as they found the restaurant, Cafe Breizh and had an awesome dinner of savory and sweet crepes along with a local cider that was amazing (See the photos!) After a great dinner we walked slowly back to our hostel. When we arrived back at our hostel our new roommate Erin was getting settled. Erin is a canadian from Manitoba who had been traveling with a tour group around for the last two weeks and was now setting out on her own before ending up in Ireland where she would be nannying for a family there. Aside from bearing an insane resemblance to Emily DeGraaff (Sam’s old roomie) she was a very nice roomate and we got along the next couple of days really well with her.
We woke up the following morning and made our way to deal with the crowds at the Louvre. Sam had been there before and this being Kailey’s first time there we stood in the line and eventually made our way into the Louvre. We really only had to wait about 20 minutes to get in which was nice. This place is a mad house, it’s a massive building holding some of the most amazing examples of art, sculpture and artifact on the planet and the crowds reflect that. The Mona Lisa is a pretty good example of what the overall experience at the Louvre is like on a crowded day (I took photos of the view out from the painting). We walked around for several hours before getting an acute case of claustrophobia and needing to get away from the massive crowds and windowless hallways into some fresh air. We took our exploration outside and explored the neighborhood around the Louvre. Realizing we were hungry we took a suggestion from Emma (T-S), and went into the Jewish quarter and found L’as du Falafel with a line down the street. We placed our take away order and the line actually moved fairly swiftly as we ended up with two giant falafel sandwiches in no time. After some delicious falafel we stopped into a bakery, grabbed a fresh loaf of challah and continued exploring. We then headed back to our hostel a little before dinner, stopping at a grocery to pick up some fixings for making a good dinner in the hostel kitchen. We have been getting sick of eating out all the time. After a great dinner we happily went back upstairs to update some photos and sleep. We also had the joy of watching as the group of Canadians, one of who was a rapper, his manager, childhood friend/promoter and a few others whose roles in the band was unclear, proceeded to use the hostel lounge as the release party for some of their newest tracks. Fear not people of the world, the suburbs of Canada are protecting the legacy of Thug Life for the rest of us.
That night after a somewhat noisy evening, we woke up got out the door and just wandered around Montmarte and eventually decided to take the RER (train subway system) out of the city to the suburbs to see what was what. We found a large mall and outlet mall and walked around there for a bit, we wanted to pick up a pair of headphones/mic for the iPad and also there was a supposed aquarium there that on paper looked interesting. Wandering around the outdoor outlet mall after finding said headphones was a nice way to relax and be amused by the high end shopping outlet section (if you can think of it they had it…) We didn’t stay long, just long enough for some coffee and lunch and then headed back to see the Eiffel Tower at night.
We took the metro and arrived at the Eiffel Tower just as it was getting dark outside. We found a good spot on the lawn in front of the tower and waited. Sure enough at 8pm the lights came on and the tower started twinkling, photos were snapped and we sat and watched the twinkling tower. Afterwards we headed back to the hostel again stopping on the way to pick up some delicious components for another dinner a la ourselves. We headed to bed a bit early that evening since we were waking up early to go to Versailles the next day.
Daylight arrived and we headed out the door, grabbing a quick croissant and coffee on our way to the RER. We arrived at the station and boarded the train to Versailles, the train arrived we departed and proceeded to walk around Versailles for the rest of the day. To be fair we didn’t spend that much time in the actual palace since that was a nightmare of people, flashes from cameras and crowding. Moving through there was like swimming with salmon, salmon that like to stop in the middle of the tiny hallway and stare out a random window. We made a pretty quick exit out into the gardens of Versailles and spent the afternoon wandering the massive gardens and listening to the classical music that is pumped throughout the gardens. The property that Versailles sits on is probably around 3 central parks big, and is super impressive. After touring the gardens we then headed out to Marie Antoinette’s farm, which Kailey had heard from Anneka was pretty neat. We walked out there and spent even more time out on the farm looking at the animals and realizing just how huge the entire estates, gardens and mini palaces out past the gardens were. There was even a small rowing club it looked like on the canals near the main gardens. We watched as a few groups of school kids tried out rowing while a very oversized adult coxswain yelled directions. It was amusing to watch the exchange in French after experiencing it so often in English.
After a very long day at Versailles we headed back to the hostel and cooked another dinner which was really good and then settled into our SEPARATE rooms for the night. Was Kailey so mad at Sam that she demanded her own room? No sadly we just ended up with a crappy hostel that had a policy that they just take reservations willy nilly and then play musical chairs with people to fill the rooms in the hostel. We initially booked 3 days in a 3 person dorm and 1 day in a 4 since that was what showed as open on the site. Apparently the site is more of a guide then any actual representation of beds available. So when I booked 2 beds in a room apparently that did not mean 2 beds in the same room, just any room with 2 beds. A fun fact that no one mentioned when we first checked into our room. This is why Kailey was in one room with lovely roommates, while Sam ended up in a room with 3 insane people from Scotland, who were hell bent of drinking every last bit of alcohol in all of Paris. I think they would have succeeded save for one of them ending up near dead the night before, his head it turns out is not stronger than iron bars, and only regaining consciousness when Sam arrived close to 8 that night.
After a night with no sleep for Sam, we headed out to Nice and boarded a train with the hope of seeing sunshine and beaches and warm weather in the days ahead.
Until next time…
~Kailey and Sam