Adventures of a short vet

Five nights in Paris

FRANCE | Wednesday, 30 March 2011 | Views [195]

Over a year in the UK already and with my 2-year visa rapidly running out I decided it was time to stop taking short trips and go the whole hog. So here it is: the start of my European adventure: a 3-4 month (or until my money runs out) trip. I won’t reveal the details to those who didn’t receive my initial itinerary. Instead you can see it unfold on this blog. Exciting isn’t it?

We start in the beautiful French capital of Paris. Well, not beautiful when I arrived – pissing down with rain at 6pm and wandering over to the “wrong side of the tracks” in Montemarte where my hostel was situated. Of course once I arrive the rain stopped so I was able to quickly explore my surroundings and pick up some food from a nearby supermarket. Tip of the day: Weigh your fruit at the hidden station before you get to the checkout or you make the grumpy lady even gumpier.

With rain forecast the following day I was up bright and early to avoid the crowds at my first stop: the Louvre. But I had a sneaky way in – catch the metro to the Louvre stop and emerge at a little shop within the museum building, buy your ticket at 9am with no queuing and then head straight into the museum and follow the signs straight to the Mona Lisa before the hordes arrive. Brilliant. Then backtracked to check out all the usual suspects which I can’t be bothered listing and which most people will recognize from my photos.

After 3.5hrs wandering around I finally had enough, and with just enough time to spare managed to make it to St Michel’s square where a free walking tour was leaving at 1pm. It was brilliant and definitely worth it. The guide took us past all the main sights but what made it worth the trip were all her interesting facts about the monuments. Such as when she pointed out where Jason Bourne hid behind the big M in a building in the “Bourne Identity” (see the photo then watch the movie again and you’ll see what I’m talking about); or the faces of drunken people from a party that were carved into “Pont Neuf”, the oldest bridge in the city but ironically named “the new bridge” (the original “facebook”), or the “Bridge of Hearts” where people write their names onto locks and attach them to the bridge to preserve their love forever (or until the council remove all the locks to prevent the bridge collapsing under the weight of all the love).

Had to check out the Eiffel Tower at the end of the day but decided to wait until better weather before ascending its lofty heights. Ended up taking a bit of a detour through the Trocadero towards the Arc du Triomph to check out the crazy roundabout with no lanes, where apparently there is an accident every 10 minutes (none while I was there though) before catching the metro home to rest my now very achy feet.

The following day was still cloudy so I decided to take a tour out to Versailles with the same company that does the free walks. For 30 euros it was definitely worth it as our guide took us through the gardens and spent the entire day regaling us with stories about the kings and their extravagant lifestyles followed by the revolutions and their deaths (such as King Louis 14th who had anal fistulas (I immediately thought of GSD) and his eventual death from gangrene – ouch!). Also randomly met another vet from Australia who works in Brisbane and knew a vet from my clinic in Cooroy! This world is WAY too small.

Back in Paris I joined the Aussie couple in checking out Notre Dame, and we just missed out on seeing the reputedly original “Crown of Thorns” and piece of the cross that are displayed on the first Friday of every month (though apparently for no more than 10 minutes!)

Tags: eiffel tower, louvre, notre dame, paris, pont neuf, st michels square, versailles, walking tour

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