Paris, though undeniably one of the most beautiful cities I've ever seen, was not my favorite. It's more expensive and crowded (particularly in June and July)
If the first day was veritable sleepwalk through Paris, the second day was a reality TV show in which the contestants must SEE. ALL. THE. THINGS.
Paris (EXTREME TOURIST EDITION)
Notre Dame Cathedral
|"SANCTUARY!" ...It's unfortunate that The Hunchback of Notre Dame was not a better Disney movie.|
I was perfectly happy exploring the main level of the cathedral on my own sans tour (hello, free) and skipping the hour-plus line to go into the towers.
It's also teeming with tourists (hi) and tourist traps.
I did not get pickpocketed (great success!)
I resisted the sellers of Eiffel Tower keychains ("5 for 1 euro!") and selfie sticks ("Selfie, selfie, selfie!")
Everybody's gotta make a living.
Arc de Triomph
"Wait, there are like 6 busy lanes of traffic around it..."
Don't worry, there's an underground passageway.
Pont des Artes
Proceeded to pick up cheese, baguette and wine; and called it a night.
Place de la Bastille, July Column
For the full Eurotrip experience we nabbed tickets for a sleeper car, with the idea that we'd just nap all the way south to Toulouse.
Apparently that is not the way it is done. The bottom 2 bunks on either side of the cabin were folded down into benches for six adults and one talkative toddler.
The tickets were an incredible deal, so I regret nothing.
|Capitole de Toulouse|
Pro Tips and Rookie Mistakes
- Rookie Mistake: The July Column is a spectacular and beautiful landmark, especially against a cloudy backdrop, but we walked around the Bastille plaza for a good 10 minutes trying to figure out where to see the actual Bastille... Guys, the Bastille is no longer standing. When did that happen, and why was I not informed? Oh, during the French Revolution? In the 18th Century? Never mind.
- Pro Tip: A good international data plan is essential for, among other things, Wikipedia-ing your destination to ensure it hasn't been destroyed for 300 years. Aside from my shameful gaps in history knowledge, I pitied my traveling companions who were tied to WiFi. Every crappy signal I've endured on T-Mobile in the States is worth it for having data rolled right into my plan, for no extra work or money.