As written on the first part of my “Finally, I Have Visited Paris“, I continued my walk to Latin Quartier. Martina, my new friend from Slovenia who I met at Beauvais-Paris bus, told me that she loves that area. So, I was so curious of that area. I crossed Notre Dame bridge and walked randomly. I was kind of lost because I didn’t expect that this area was this big. Thanks to CityMaps2Go application and kids’ school tour that I followed, finally I got to Le Panthéon— “Aux grands hommes de la nation”, the main historical building in Latin Quartier.
Le Panthéon’s architecture design impressed me although it was renovated at that time. This building is actually a burial place for honourable people of the nation. As written on its entrance: “This building was dedicated by King Louis XV to express his desire to dedicate a prestigious building to Geneviéve, the patron saint of Paris. In 1971, this building was turned into the national Pantheon: the burial of Victor Hugo in 1885 enshrined this secular house of this building (fyi, he’s the author of Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame). The crypt holds the graves of the great men and women of the nation including Voltaire, Emile Zola, Jean Moulin, and Marie Curie.”
I was so lucky. Bea told me that rain had been falling in Paris before I came. When I was in Paris, sun was shining. There were so many people enjoying the sun in front of Le Panthéon. They sat everywhere as long as that spot was empty. It was uncommon thing to be seen if I was in Indonesia, my country, because we have sun almost in a whole year. But, I love it. I never appreciated sun this much before I came to four-season countries.
I saw on my map that there was Luxembourg Garden nearby, so I took a visit there. That garden was big! Really big. and crowded. As a result, I wasn’t that excited to spend time there. When I walked from Luxembourg Garden to find a metro stop to go back to Bea’s place, I saw many interesting Le Tour de France photos were displayed on Luxembourg Garden’s gate. This year is the 100th Le Tour de France, a cycling competition. One thing I know deeply about this competition: my father is a fanatic fan of it. His bike is his second wife, btw. I have been living my life listening and knowing some cycling things from him. Suddenly I miss my father a lot when I saw those photos😥 I miss him. A lot.
Enough with admiring Le Tour de France photos, I continued my walk to find a metro. If I took a metro nearby, I need to change metro line at Chatelet metro station, which is the biggest and most crowded metro station in Paris. I didn’t really like metro in Paris because I need to walk a lot to reach a metro train. I prefer walking outside than walking underground. I decided to cross the bridge to get to metro line 1 (imho, this line is the best metro line in Paris). But a problem arise: I got lost. Again! I wandered around and around that area and depended on my CityMaps2Go app. I was kind of lazy to ask people for direction because that area where I got lost was beautiful! I enjoyed my “lost in translation” moment there.
Fortunately, I arrived safely at Bea’s place few hours later. At 7PM, I had an evening French pancake with Anne-Sophie, Amina–my CouchSurfing friends–, and their friend, Giullaume in Montparnasse area. Giullaume gave up when he taught me how to pronounce his name :p . In the end he said, “call me William. That’s my English name.” In Indonesia, we usually eat only one kind of pancake, either a salty or a sweet one. Amina told me that French usually eat salty pancake first (it’s called gallete) then sweet pancake as a dessert (it’s called crêpe). Gallete is made from buckwheat flour instead of wheat flour (it is used for crêpe). OMG! I was soooo full until I couldn’t breathe after eating both.
I love my meeting with Anne-Sophie, Amina, and Giullaume. We had many conversations and surprisingly, Giullaume’s father used to work in Indonesia. The world couldn’t be this small, right? Oh no, I forget, yes it is indeed small. We had to finish our evening meeting because Giullaume and Anne-Sophie need to catch a train at 9 PM and I need to meet Fran, my Erasmus friend from Brazil, at Eiffel Tower.
On my way from Bir-Hakeim metro station to Eiffel Tower, I met three Indonesian students. They advised me to be careful of pickpockets and to not buy Eiffel souvenirs from strange men. I heard these advises many times from my friends who have been to Eiffel before and yes, they are right! There were many strange men approaching me and saying Indonesian sentences, “lima satu euro (you get five eiffels for one euro)” and “mureee muree muree (it’s cheap cheap cheap)”. I walked calmly and put my plain expression ignoring them.
Eiffel Tower is…photogenic. I had seen many beautiful pictures of Eiffel before I came here. In fact, Eiffel Tower area was full of people. It was dirty also. Many people threw trashes everywhere. In addition, strange men offering Eiffel souvenirs and beers made it worse.
We stayed until late at Eiffel Tower area. There was a man singing non French songs also, but I was hoping to hear French song here, haha. Today’s adventure in Paris was enough and I was going to continue for tomorrow’s destination: Montmartre!!! If you ever watched Audrey Tautou’s Amélie, you should know Montmartre.
To be continued…