I had a big day yesterday. If I were to jam everything into this post, it would be overwhelming. I took over 2000 photos. I don’t think I’ve ever done that before. I am going to blog my day in chunks. I think that’ll be easier on me and for your eyes.
Yesterday was life changing for me. This trip has been everything I’ve hoped for. I wanted to face my fears, do things I’d typically never do, and learn more about the French culture. I don’t have cell phone service here, and that means I can’t rely on my glorious GPS. All I have is an old-fashioned map. I am kind of sad that I have been so dependent and attached to that tiny piece of technology over the years. You obtain so much more knowledge by tossing the phone and making aware of your surroundings by looking up. To find my way around, I found key buildings or signs to follow.
I won’t lie; figuring out the metro was confusing at first. I was also terrified of getting lost. I thought about it for a while and said to myself, « who cares if I get lost, I’m in Paris. » I’m not used to riding trains or metros to get around, so this is all new to me.
I wrote down the metro I needed to take and which stop to get off at. I got off at Chatelet Les Halles and made my way into the forum. Do you know how hard it is to find your way out of that place? Well, maybe it was just me.
I was getting frustrated after walking around for about an hour. I guess I should have known that the « sortie » meant exit. That would have saved me an hour.
I told myself I was gong to utilize my French during the day and I did. I successfully ordered fresh fruit and a coffee at Starbucks. Baby steps first. I went in there to use their wifi and to buy a travel mug. That made me more confident in using my French. If it wasn’t for my friend, Sealy, I would have never been able to make it. She gave me French lessons at the dog park almost every night before I left.
I finally made it out of the Forums. I recognized several things from the day before and that helped. I decided I’d put the museum on hold and go explore Notre Dame. I was on the hunt for a good crepe too.
Once you get off the metro, navigating yourself around becomes easier. Paris has signs that point in the direction of popular places to go. I followed the signs that said « Notre Dame, » and had no trouble finding my way. I even took a lot of the back alley ways because they have so much character. Sometimes, you’ll find little shops in the alleys that you normally wouldn’t find on the main roads. I walked into one shop that sold handmade scarves and bought a couple.
I even went through the little parks and admired all of the statues and monuments. In the U.S. you can walk on the grass in the parks. In Paris, the grass is beautiful and well kept because no one walks on it. Dogs are not allowed in the parks either. One thing I did notice is that there are little dogs everywhere. I haven’t seen many big dog owners. Paris would be overwhelming for my dog, Mr. Grumples.
First stop before Notre Dame, Hôtel De Ville, Paris! This was breathtaking. The hotel was built in 1873 and took 19 years to finish. Now it’s where they host the mayor of Paris and have large events.
This electric bikes are everywhere. They are finally coming to the U.S. and I love that idea. They’re great for reducing traffic congestion, they’re good for the environment, and a great way to get active while exploring the cities.
As you can see, at this point, my luggage had not arrived yet. That was 48 hours in the same clothes. Luckily I had brought some undergarments and soaps in my bag. I was only out to explore, so I didn’t mind. I wasn’t going to sit around waiting for my luggage all day. I wanted to explore.
The fall is absolutely breathtaking here. I walked several miles down by the river. I passed artist, people taking photos, and families having picnics.
I couldn’t have asked for better weather to walk in. It wasn’t too hot, but it wasn’t cold either. I think they call it « just right. »
I’ve noticed that people take the time to enjoy their lives here. The way they eat, sit outside, and walk everywhere is therapeutic. I am going to take a lot of what I’ve learned here home with me and use it in my everyday life.
These little shops are set up all down the river. They sell art, books, and more. This guy was funny. I was taking a photo of the water and he said, « no no no, take a picture of me, I am much more beautiful » and then he did a pose. It was cute.
If you don’t like walking, you can take a boat tour on the river and it’ll take you to all the key points in Paris. I am going to take it when I get back.
Unfortunately, I have to make this part one. I am getting ready to walk to the train station so I can take the train to Strasbourg. If the train has wifi, I will blog part two! Part two and three will be my adventures at the museum, Notre Dame, the lock bridge, coffee shops, and crepes!
Don’t forget to follow Lucie’s Adventures on Simply Taralynn!