If you’re looking for a funny post. It’s the next one. Or thereabouts. This post is a mini update on my
Because you care.
So two weeks ago I went to Paris on a long weekend. The aromatic fumes of London were giving me headaches and it made perfect sense to me to exchange it for Paris’ classier brand.
I got what I didn’t really wish for.
Choked to death at nearly every foot by chain-smoking Parisians. I’m sure I even saw a dog with a cigarette in its paw. At times I thought I was going to die, then I thought to myself ‘stop being dramatic’. So I prayed against lung cancer instead.
Anyway I think I rant enough so I’m changing the tune a bit in this post. Positive observations and all that. As a result….the post actually starts…
I just thought I’d share with you some of the sights I saw. I mostly instagrammed a lot of what I saw as internet connection was hard to come by. If you want to see those pictures, add me on Instagram ‘Tols’.
Loving photography as I do, I took my Nikon D3100. I whipped it out pretty much everywhere and anywhere. Obviously I can’t put every single picture I took (300+), and to be honest with you, some of them were crap, but here are some of the best bits:
One of the first places I visited was the Sacré Cœur:
The nearest Metro to the Sacré Cœur and also the nearest Metro to where I stayed:
The Eiffel Tower
I climbed to the second floor of this. The top floor was closed as the lifts had broken down. To be honest with you, it’s not like the view changed that much between the 1st and the 2nd floor so one didn’t feel too put out by that. Even looking at the view on each of its four sides started to suspiciously look like someone had copy and pasted one skyline four times. If not for the Seine lying lazily across the city, I couldn’t tell you if I was looking at North, South, East, or West. Seine vs Thames? Seine. All day, every day. It looked blue from the top of the tower. The Thames never manages to convey that illusion.
At night on each hour, the Eiffel Tower glitters for approximately 5 minutes. This is a picture of that. I also recorded it on my iPhone:
You know when you see a million pictures of a 3D glass triangle and that’s all you expect the Louvre to be? I can’t tell you how shocked I was to see there was a museum that accompanied TWO glass pyramids and massive terraces of magnificent Baroque architecture surrounding them. I was bamboozled for some time. I considered my life, if it was worth living….no not really. I was pleasantly surprised though. I learnt a nice little lesson that day; a place is more than a postcard (Ahh that’s a quote. Someone please quote me on Twitter when you run out of C.S. Lewis quotes. I’m obviously the next most profound human being ever to have walked the Earth).
I have not enhanced this picture in any way, shape or form. The guy’s trainers were actually that bright!
Notre-Dame de Paris
I accidentally wandered into the cathedral. The towers were what I was looking for and I thought the steps were inside. They were, but at a different entrance. I watched a little bit of the service and singing – amazing. The architecture of the building was absolutely stunning. When I did get to the top, I saw what I came to see…the gargoyles. To be honest, the reason why I was so interested in visiting the cathedral and seeing the gargoyles is in no small part due to The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. It was almost as if I wanted to see if the whole thing was real (don’t ponder too deeply on that statement. Let…it…go).
View from the top of Notre-Dame de Paris:
Inside the cathedral:
The almighty bell of Notre-Dame de Paris. This picture doesn’t show how humongous it was. I couldn’t get all of it in a single shot no matter how far I stepped back. My lens is 35mm.
At the summit:
Arc De Triomphe
It was quite cold the day I climbed this. Hence the lack of pictures. I preferred to tremble sans camera as opposed shaking, then tripping, then my camera falling over the edge (the end of the world), or me falling over the edge (the end of my life. For now…)
There’s no gain (seeing great views) without pain (pulled muscles from climbing too many of the below).
Vandalising a historical monument. As you do…. -___-
If you’re 18-25 and thinking of going to Paris, particularly those who are about to turn 26, go now! Before you turn 26. I say this because you would not believe the amount of free things being in that age range entitles you to because that age group is considered ‘Youth’ in France. this only applies to those with a valid European passport.
Eurostar tickets for under 26 year-olds are half-price. Okay, so that’s not free, but it’s still a substantial discount.
Many French museums and cathedrals are free to visit. The ones you have to pay for are all FREE every first Sunday of the month.
Climbing the towers of Notre-Dame: Normal price = €8.50, as a Youth = FREE
Climbing the Arc De Triomphe = €8.50, as a Youth = FREE
Louvre Museum = €10/11/14 (dependent on which sections you are visiting), as a Youth = FREE
Maybe you’ve heard about the Paris Pass. If you’re only going for a weekend and don’t intend to visit every blessed monument the place has, I’d say forget about that. Really. You’ll end up paying for the privilege of visiting some of the sights you could have seen for free anyway. And you won’t have time to visit all of them unless you’re staying for at least a week. I say this having conquered climbing the steps of the Eiffel Tower, visiting the Louvre and Notre-Dame and climbing its steps…all in one day.
Every time I stood still after that, and on preceding days, my legs shook. I calculated that in that day alone, I climbed 667(Eiffel Tower) + 387 (Notre Dame) = 1054 steps.
Understandably I never want to see another spiral staircase again….
On the last day I spent all day shopping. Apart from the famous Champs-Élysées, it’s good to check out Rue du St Martin too, especially if you like street wear. There are innumerable shops selling snapbacks, trainers, clothing, Doc Martens, vintage, etc and, I rarely ever saw the same designs in the different shops. It’s also good if you want going-out wear. If that’s not your thing, there is a massive underground shopping centre nearby which has all the shops you can find in London and some with a French twist too. There are lots of places to eat in the surrounding areas. The nearest Metro to Rue St Martin is Châtelet.
Metro is by far the easiest way to get around I found and all I needed in the short time I was there (aside from one tram ride). It is much less stressful than London tubes. It was cheaper than London; 1€ 70 cents for a single ticket. If you know you are going to travel a bit you can get 10 tickets for just under 13€. You can use these tickets not just on the Metro, but on bus, and trams too. Very useful. For those whose French is diabolical bordering on non-existent, never fear, most of the people in the ticket booths spoke good English and most instructions were in French, English and Spanish. That goes for many of the shops too. I was determined to show off my garbled French, but I barely got an opportunity…which was quite annoying as I had prepared myself to be congratulated on my determination to ‘speak the language’ as a tourist *sighs*. There are a lot of multi-lingual people working in key places such as restaurants, fast food shops, general shops, stations, etc. It was actually quite humbling in the sense that I don’t think we as British people take speaking other languages seriously enough.
My friends, don’t fall into the trap of buying from any old ‘tourist’ shop. I think I noticed what was one very smooth operation being done in multiple locations. If you’re buying a postcard, look closely at it, and magnets too. Please tell me why upon closer inspection so many of these magnets and postcards looked more pixellated than a picture from a Nokia 6230i 1.3 megapixel camera? In fact, I’m starting to think certain scallywags Googled images, copied them, and printed them on cardboard for the authentic effect. For the magnets they printed them on Poundstore quality paper, covered them with sticky-back plastic, stuck them onto the magnet et voila. All I could see was pixels, undefined lines and squashed up images like someone had stretched the paper. Staring at these things even for a little while started to feel like I was viewing life through a concussion. And these were at unjustifiable prices. I found an excellent shop near Châtelet selling good books cheap, and the most amazing postcards for 30 cents. The ‘fradulent’ cards were hustling for 1€ . Magnets for up to 3€. Hell no.
From Paris…With Love…
So I took a little footage here and there. Unfortunately, most of it was crap, due to my inability to hold my hand still for more than a few seconds. Nevertheless, I collected enough semi-decent footage to create this little montage including more photographs >>
Paris was enjoyable, and I am really thankful the weather was beautiful. I didn’t plan to go this time of the year, but I’m glad it turned out that way. If you’ve never been, go have a gander at least once. I have to say for myself though, I don’t feel like I necessarily need to go back there in the next decade. Not to sight-see anyway.
I might post some more pictures on iseeicatch.tumblr.com, otherwise there’s other photos on my Instagram.