It has now almost been a week since I moved into Paris and passed a traumatic night of driving blindly around the Arc d’Triomphe and carrying all my luggage up seven flights of stairs. The change from being a slightly clueless tourist to an actual resident happened so quickly, or not at all depending on how you look at it, (I still get lost on the metro!).
But there are some changes. Now when I walk past the Eiffel Tower I like to look at the funny faces people pull when trying to get the perfect selfie. The Tower itself will never cease to amaze me but now that it is officially my neighbour I feel myself slowly moving further from the frantic crowds. And it’s a lovely reassuring feeling to know that the new city panic won’t remain forever.
Only a month ago I was in Paris for a week, very much part of those bustling crowds and very much a tourist trying to fit in all the major sites within the five days my family and I were in town. I think we did quite well.
Cruising through the waters of the Seine…
On our first day we decided that instead of walking around gaping at the grand buildings lining Paris’ beautiful river we could gape at them from the comfortable seats of one of Paris’ many boats. It’s a good idea to buy a day ticket and use the boat as your mode of transport for the day, or as we did spend the hour and a half travelling the full circuit without getting on and off.
Exploring the Louvre…
I knew the Louvre was popular and yet I couldn’t help wondering if we were overdoing it by waking up extra early to get into this museum. Turns out we were right. Fifteen minutes before opening and the Louvre had already attracted a half hour queue.
Inside, the famous art museum did not disappoint with room after room of beautiful paintings, ancient artefacts and stunning statues. Just as grand as the beautiful exterior, the interior of the museum is magnificent with high ceilings often covered in beautiful paintings and marble columns.
The Notre Dame
Located in the historic heart of Paris at ‘Pont Neuf’, the Cathedral of our Lady of Paris the Notre Dame is a beautiful old church. We finally got caught out though by the long queue to climb the towers which was just a bit too much for us.
Le Musée Rodin
All of Auguste Rodin’s sculptures are worth seeing and it was great to see the practice sculptures in his workshop and discover how some of the more well-known sculptures came to be. My favourite bit of trivia was finding out that Rodin’s famous ‘Le Penseur’ (The Thinker) was originally going to be called ‘The Poet’, as it symbolises a figure in poetic philosophical thought!
Shakespeare and Co.
As an English Literature student and book worm we had to visit this well-known bookshop in the Latin quartier, not far from the Notre Dame. Though you do not have to be any of those things to be charmed by this unique bookshop which has made a name for itself by visits from greats in the past such as Ernest Hemingway and appearances in films such as ‘Before Sunset’ and ‘Midnight in Paris’.
Arc d’Triomphe and Champs-Elysées
Even though Disney Land Paris is located just outside of Paris at a forty minutes’ drive away, we had to leave a day free to visit the park!
I generally like to keep my holidays balanced with some time for relaxing and some time for energetic cultural exploration. This trip was much more focused on the latter and yet we managed not to ruin any of our trips to the extent that we rushed the experiences. Even now that I am living in Paris its hard not to try and rush off to visit the Catacombs and the Sacre-Coeur. I have to remind myself that my time can now be spent by doing a more relaxed touring of the city; browsing the local shops, practicing my french, comparing supermarket prices and so on – much smaller and yet equally necessary and interesting activities.
How do you like to spend your holidays?