|Our Friday morning train took us from Barcelona to Paris with short stops in Cerebere and Montpelier, France. We arrived at Paris du Nord at 630 pm and took a couple of subway lines to the Aloha Hostel, where my sister and I had previously stayed. Unfortunately we did not have reservations and they were booked. The clerk phoned 3 other hostels that were all booked as well. The Aussie clerk did direct us towards a French youth hostel by The Louvre, right where we had just come from.
After a confusing walk with our packs we arrived at the BVJ at 20 JJ Rousseau. The stay at this hostel would be the beginning of me starting to feel old traveling Europe. Brian and I put our packs down and set off in search of dinner and a good French wine. We found a nice spot outside at a corner cafe within a 2 minute walk of the BVJ. I ordered carpacio to accompany a nice bottle of Bordeaux. The outdoor seating made us realize we needed to bundle up before setting out on a post dinner walk. We grabbed a couple of Maximaters (11.6% beers) for the walk and wondered around. Just walking around that first night reminded me just how much I love this city: Unique architecture, something new around every corner and an indescribable energy to the city that I would compare to the feeling of being in New York but still very different.
Saturday morning we awoke to meet new roommates. Andrew was a young Scottish student that was at the hostel while searching for a flat to live in while he studied politics for the next 9 months in Paris. I then checked my email to find a message from JQ about a Spanish friend of hers' that would be in Paris for the weekend. Unfortunately he never made it to Paris.
We grabbed a coffee and set off through The Louvre, down Avenue des Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triumphe. We ended at the Eiffel Tower for some pics before walking along the Seine River to Museo D'Orsay.
After a late afternoon nap we got ready for a trip up to Montmartre, the highest point of the city on the North side. This is hands down my favorite area of the city. The views are amazing during the day but especially at night as Paris lights up. We wandered by several restaurants before deciding on a nice looking Italian restaurant. I had some good lasagna and Italian, red wine.
At dinner I struck up a convo with an Aussie named Rohen. There was a big group of them working as tour guides and they offered to take us out for the night. We walked up to Sacre Coeur, a beautiful church at the top of Montmartre. A large group of tourists and locals were gathered at the top to look over the city lights as an entertainer played acoustic guitar and sang well known songs.
After a couple of beers we met the group from dinner at Le Village for drinks. There were about 15 of us from Canada, US, Australia, France, Spain and Ireland. We had a great time. Caz, an Aussie living in Dublin, tried to convince us to come visit her in Ireland. It was also amusing to hear how much people hate George Bush. This was expected and would be consistent throughout our travel so far.
Sunday morning I woke early to the most beautiful day of the trip so far. Brian was still asleep so I began my day by grabbing a coffee and setting off for my favorite bridge over The Seine. I walked from there for some morning pics of Notre Dame.
i went back to retrieve Brian. We set off with the mission of a Sunday English paper and crepes. My cinnamon crepes with vanilla ice cream were great. From there it was a short walk to The Pantheon and Luxembourg Gardens, a close 2nd to my favorite Parisian neighborhood.
Brian and I found two chairs by the center fountain in from of the Luxembourg palace and finished up the paper.
Despite Pairs being extremely expensive it is still very easy to find great affordable wine. As the crepes wore off we found a store with wine, bread and cheese. After shopping we found a spot along the Seine to eat and toss around some business ideas to finish up a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Upon returning to the room we met our new 'mate, Chris (a U of Washington student) from Seattle. He jumped on board for the pub crawl Brian and I had decided on. The pub crawl started slow but picked up steam as vodka/orange shots were passed out liberally between bars. There are some funny stories to be told about the pub crawl but will have to share those on an individual basis. We did end up running into some of our crew from the previous night and really had a great last night in Paris.
Paris is a city that leaves you wanting more. The 3 days were great but still left myself with reasons to return. One thing that surprised me was how well I remembered the city and subway system. This has lead to me being the official navigator for the remainder of the trip.
I have decided to try and do some video updates in future posts and keep these posts a bit more brief. I hope yall enjoy the pics...I have plenty of more that haven't been posted.