Monday, March 8, 2010

Sí...I MEAN OUI: weekend in París


I got back from París yesterday...late yesterday. Our plane was unfortunately delayed 2 hours and we didn't get home until midnight or later. Luckily I survived all my classes today...only fell asleep in one! :)

I didn't journal while in París so I shall try to remember everything correctly!

We arrived in París on Thursday probably 7 pm or later, but the shuttle bus into París from the Beauvais Airport took over an hour. We could see the Eiffel Tower from our bus window so that was a good welcoming. Then we had to go to the bathroom, but got lost in a mall trying to find it because Parisians don't know how to make directional signs. Then we had to take the metro to our hostel which took about half an hour. Therefore, we arrived at our hostel about 9:30 pm. Maybe later.

We decided not to do anything that night except grab a bite to eat. Jess' cousin is studying in París. She also has a friend studying in the French country side who flew in. We met up with them both the next day. But dinner the first night was AMAZING! The food in París is so fresh and delicious. Over the course of the weekend, anywhere we walked into had delicious food. The overall quality is just so much better than Madrid's food. It wasn't as expensive as I thought it would be either. However, I was annoyed at how much coffee and wine costs in París. Madrid has them on that one!

The next day we went to the Eiffel Tower, not to the top because the line was so long. We walked around, eventually going to the Champs-Elysses, the famous street. We window shopped, saw the Arc de Triumph, and stopped at a famous café for coffee and macarons. YUMMM.

Champs-Elysses...great shopping! If only...
Arc de Triumphe...and the pidge that flew into my pic
Me and Eiffey
Then we headed to the Notre Dame. It was soooo crowded, but very pretty! I got some cool pictures, which was nice considering so many places in Europe don't allow you to take pictures. We souvenier shopped on the streets and I bought some cool posters/art.

Notre the pidgeon!

People praying at an altar...and a priest.

Then we went to the Louvre Museum. It was free for students after 6pm. Score. The building is so pretty; like a palace. I could only think of Da Vinci Code when I saw the glass dome entrance. In the movie they make it seem so much more accessible. I think he even climbs on top of it somehow. Oh Tom Hanks, how you lied to me.

Louvre glass entrance
Inside the halls
At sunset

We only walked around a little bit because we aren't huge museum people. The Mona Lisa, as always, was surrounded by people, and glass. Making the whole experience much less significant. I got to see some artifacts from the Parthenon in Athens. Brought back fond memories! From the Louvre, we watched the Eiffel Tower twinkle. Every hour on the hour, the lights twinkle for five minutes. Then we headed to dinner, delish once again!

The next day wandered around some more and eventually went to the Eiffel Tower to finally climb up it this time. The line was short, but the bitter cold made it seem longer. We went all the way to the top. It was a great view. It reminded me of the skywalk in Boston. Some districts of Boston are actually modeled after París, so it was eery how similar it looked in some directions because since I was in the number one landmark it didn't look as much like París! I believe we spent most of this day wandering and exploring.

Hola! I'm cold.
The next day we went to the catacombs. It was so freaky, yet fun. They had to dig up graveyards and store the bones down there. You walk down this tiny, concrete staircase forever until you reach a long, dimly-lit corridor, which you then walk down forever. FINALLY, you reach the catacombs. It's not anything like the Italian catacombs I went to in high school! It was like an underground dungeon/maze that went on for 45 minutes. The walls were lined with skulls and bones. It went on forever, and we didn't even walk through it all because some sections are closed off. It was crazy seeing all the bones stacked on top of eachother. Thousands of people, now just bones! And they have to be reaaaaally old for it to be all bones. It made me ponder what their lives were like. Jess' friend mentioned how someone ancient ancestor could be burried there. Creeepy. Well I'm not not mine! I saw some lady touching them too! Gross. In some parts the ceiling leaked so we ran through those sections because we were scared of the 'bone juice,' as we referred to it, dripping on us! We eventually saw the light of day and once more wandered the streets.

Bone walls!
Más paredes del huesos
"Bonjour from París!"

Jess and I had to get back to the hostel to pick up our luggage for the flight. We walked through a farmer's market on the way, so we stopped for a fresh baguette and some cheese to eat for lunch/snacking. It was soooo good and made me miss the Embarcadero farmer's market!!

We took the hour shuttle back to the airport and pretty much slept the whole way. About 3/4 into the trip, Jess and I woke up at the same time. We saw everyone anxiously looking out the window shield. I pointed it out to Jess and she's like, "Ya I noticed...they're probably late for their flight." I kept watching as everyone kept looking out and shifting in their seats. It seemed weird. Then I saw the bus crossing the highway lines crookedly. Jess asked, "Are we swerving?" To which I replied, "I think that's how they drive in France."

THEN, all of a sudden the people up front started shouting at the bus driver! "AY AY AY!" I guess the bus driver had been swerving a lot throughout the trip or at least the end of it. All of a sudden like four men jumped out of their seats and made the bus driver stop the bus! Someone yelled "Does anyone know how to drive a bus?" They were yelling back and forth and everyone on the bus was yelling or talking with eachother. From the little English I heard, and the overall commotion, basically the bus driver had been swerving, and not paying attention to the road, so there was almost a mutiny on the bus. The bus driver finished the drive. Luckily we were only ten minutes away and we were safe and sound shortly! :) No worries!

But to sum it up:

The people in París were pretty nice. On multiple occassions, people went out of their way to help us. Granted we didn't need much help usually with Jess' friend who spoke amazing French. The pidgeons...not so much. They like to fly at your head...and hit you. Luckily I only witnessed this.

We also kept answering in Spanish, or starting off our sentences in Spanish just by habit only to say, "oops, sorry, I mean, MERCI!" or "oops, sorry, I mean, BONJOUR!" But now that I'm back in Spain I kept saying 'merci' today instead of 'gracias!' Glad to be back in Madrid though. I love our metro and our nightlife and the people and my apartment! París is great for a visit, but I couldn't be happier with where I decided to study abroad. wouldn't hurt for some sun already :)

Next week: Mama y Papa!!!!


  1. Hi Alex! Looks like you had a great time. The catacombs look freaky. You mentioned that you are not French, so none of the bones could be related to you. I hate to tell you, but you are in fact a wee bit slightly French. Grandma's grandma and grandpa came from the French Basque region. Possibly somewhere we have relatives in France. So maybe, juuuuustt maybe some of those bones could be related to you!!! heehee!! Love you!!!

  2. And I know there is a little French on Nana's side so.......

  3. P.S. I'm glad your home-ish safe and sound. Sounds like a fun weekend.

  4. Nice post Al, just tell the French they lost to Spain 2-0 thats why it was so cold.........Dad

  5. No bones about it you might be French Oui'? Another great adventure. Ooo La La Wacka wacka.


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