paris

Paris is a city that I’ve been wanting to visit for a long time. And so I decided that since I’m already in Europe, I figured that I should at least spend a few days in Paris, seeing the many famous sights and visiting the world famous museums that I’ve heard so much about. And so that is how I found myself alone on Valentine’s Day, supposedly the most romantic day of the year, in Paris, supposedly one of the most romantic cities in the world.

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My first stop in Paris was the Champs-Elysees. I arrived here first, because, well it was closest to the apartment I was staying at.

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The apartment (actually it was more like a tiny studio) was located in the Montmarte district of Paris. I chose it partly because it was cheap and partly because it was conveniently located not too far away from a subway station and near a grocery store, but mostly because the AirBnb host looked kinda cute. And she was cute, and quite friendly too, with a very cute French accent. Too bad she was heading out of town, spending the weekend with her boyfriend in the Netherlands. Ah well. As they say in French, ‘c’est la vie.’ That’s life. Now back to my story of exploring Paris solo.

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At the far end of the Champs-Elysee is the Arc de Triomph. It’s a lot larger in person than I thought it would be. It towers above you when you stand underneath it. When I was underneath it they had some sort of flag ceremony going on, and one of the guys holding the flags sorta looked like Bill Murray to me.

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The Eiffel Tower also was a lot bigger in person than I imagined it to be. From across the river it didn’t seem that big, but when I got closer to it I realized how massive it was.

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The Notre Dame Cathedral, on the other hand, was a bit smaller than I had imagined. I mean it’s a big cathedral, but it wasn’t the huge looming presence that I had imagined, perhaps because it’s not on top of a hill like some of the other large cathedrals I’ve seen in Europe.

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The view from the top of the cathedral was amazing. Even though the cathedral is not situated on top of a hill, the cathedral’s towers are quite high, and there’s a commanding view from the top. I think this was my favorite view of Paris, because from here you could see the Eiffel tower and a lot of the city’s beautiful old architecture.

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Paris is famous for museums, and of course I visited a good number of them. During my walks to various museums I ended up walking through many parks. This park (which unfortunately I can’t remember the name of) was one of my favorites. It felt surreal walking through this park, it felt like something out of a fantasy movie with unicorns and satyrs.

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The park near the Luxembourg Palace was another nice one, though less surreal feeling, probably because of the huge crowds.

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The catacombs underneath Paris was another place that left me with a surreal feeling. Well actually, maybe it was less a surreal feeling and more a creepy feeling.

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I know Paris is one of the culinary capitals of the world, but since I was traveling alone I didn’t eat at any nice bistros. I did try to eat stuff with French in the name, like French Onion soup or French Bread, and even had what we would call French Fries (it came with my order of beef tartare.) But for the most part I just ate sandwiches (with French bread) from a chain called Paul. There was a Paul store everywhere in Paris, even inside the Louvre. (Speaking of the Louvre, you probably noticed it’s conspicuously absent from this post. I’ll probably do a separate post for all the museums I visited in Paris.)

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Paris is known as one of the world’s most romantic cities, and despite flying solo though it, I rather enjoyed myself. Perhaps if I’m here again I’ll do the romantic things like stick a lock on the Lover’s Bridge and throw away the key, but for now I have the memories of a great time in a beautiful city.

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