After I hosted two CouchSurfing surfers from Paris, I posted a photo on my Instagram and I wrote a caption:
I am not this girl whose dream is visiting #Paris once I arrive in Europe. But then after I had two #couchsurfing guests from Paris and talked a lot about their point of view of Paris, how do they live there, some hidden romantic spots, & my favorite things: cuisine & Amelie (a movie played by Audrey Tautou); now I am looking forward to having myself there, dear Paris.
Several days after that, I met a new friend from Poland at a hotel in Lisbon, Bea, she said that she will work for five weeks in Paris. Then, she invited me to visit Paris. And yes, those were my main reasons of visiting Paris. Many people claimed that, Paris is one of the romantic cities in the world and mostly known as the city of fashion and for its Paris Fashion Week.
This trip was an impulsive trip because I got stressed of my assignments and every-week exams. I impulsively bought flight tickets for Porto-Paris and Marseille-Porto and I would arrive in Porto a week before my exams. Crazy, yes? but I need to refresh my brain and mind, yes! I didn’t plan my itinerary that well also because I had been so hectic with those deadlines, presentations, and exams. Luckily, Bea, Ali, and Ozu helped me a lot in defining my itineraries for Paris and Lyon. Merci!!!
The first point of interest that I visited was the famous Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile (ok, I shouldn’t have said that. Everything in Paris is famous). You will find this gate directly after you get out of Charles De Gaulle metro station. There were many tourists there and it was just a “gate” so I didn’t find it interesting. It was on the afternoon so nothing is special. I thought. “Well, at least I have seen it.” BUT! BUT! BUT! This gate changes at night. I looked at it from La Defense area, which on a straight line with Arc de Triomphe, and I saw Arc de Triomphe plus lights from cars around it. That view was like magic. I didn’t take any picture of it, but you can find it here. I took a straight walk from Arc de Triomphe to Concorde and I passed Avenue des Champs-Élysées, which known for its luxury shops and cafes. I found that this one of the famous streets in the world was kind of boring. I met many Asian tourists carrying shopping bag(s) rather than fashionable Parisians. But in the middle of my trip, I turned right and I ended up on a smaller street that also has many luxury shops and boutiques. There were Chanel and friends, but less crowded. I enjoyed my strolling at that street. I enjoyed looking on fashionable mannequins there. I enjoyed the atmosphere of that area also. It was calm and chic because there were some fashionable Parisians carrying branded items walking around. But forgive me, because I forgot the name of that street.
On the evening, Bea introduced me to Le Marais area. We stopped at Hotel de Ville metro station and walked from there. In contrast with Avenue des Champs-Élysées, Le Marais attracted me successfully. There were many cafes and Parisians enjoying their after-office time. That area were getting crowded as time went by. It was on weekday, fyi. Parisians totally love to enjoy their life. One interesting fact I encountered was how small the tables on a cafe were. But there were many people around and they were comfortable with that. Most of those people were sitting while facing the street. If you pay attention while strolling around this area, you will find many graffitis on the wall and some unique stores. Finally, I could say that I was in Paris! (Fyi, I visited Le Marais for the second time on my third day in Paris).
On my second day, I visited Louvre Museum. My main highlights for Louvre were the Mona Lisa and the History of Islam section because of an Indonesian book titled 99 Islamic Lights in Europe. I arrived at 11 AM and it was not as crowded as what my friends told me about Louvre. I didn’t have a queue when I entered. Plus, it’s free!!! Yeah, love it. I got it free because I had a residence permit for EU country and my age was less than 26yo. Yeah! The history of Islam section was on the same wing with Mona Lisa painting. Louvre is mega big! and I had limited time so I decided not to look at all of its collections.
From Louvre, I walked to Notre Dame. Actually, it took around 30 minutes with my slow walk and I stopped at many places for taking pictures. But, I recommend you to walk because you can find many florists on your way. I don’t think flowers are romantic, but I love how colourful and beautiful they are.
Notre Dame’s queue was mega long and I was so hungry at that time. There was a cafe beside Notre Dame and I ate there while waiting if there might be any possibility of short queue. In fact, that possibility didn’t come 😦
Because I was so lazy to be in queue, I walked across the bridge to go to Latin Quartier. This area was my another favourite area besides Le Marais. This is the area of students who bring lively atmosphere to this area. But, to be continued to “Finally, I Have Visited Paris Part Two”