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Tegan & Ingrid's world adventure

French pastries, sunsets & photographable objects in every direction

FRANCE | Saturday, 3 December 2011 | Views [938]

It was Tegan’s 2nd trip to Paris but another of many for myself. Thinking about it I have probably spent around 20 days in Paris on various different trips over the past few years (mainly for work). So I have been pretty lucky and have really come to love this city. For Tegan however it was a bit of a different story. When we went to Paris together 8 years ago we were typical backpacking tourists on major budget restraints and to be honest that doesn’t make for a very nice time in Paris. We spent our three days running around Paris trying to see as many tourist attractions as possible on as small a budget as possible and to top it all off we were staying in an awful hostel in not the nicest area of town. So this time we were determined that the experience would be very different and I was hoping Tegan would come to love Paris as much as me.

We scored an amazing deal on a hotel due to an online booking system error – gotta love those! The price was supposed to be three nights for the price of four but some silly person managed to load in the deal backwards so we ended up paying the price of one night for four J So four nights with breakfast in the middle of Paris for $100. Yep we scored a big bargain.

Luckily for us the weather was a little warmer in Paris than we had gotten used to over the past few weeks up north so it was nice to not have to completely rug up head to toe.

Over five days we of course saw & did a lot of things.

We visited a couple of museums; namely The Louvre & Musee Rodin.  Musee Rodin is a museum & gardens dedicated to the sculptor Rodin and his works. It includes famous statues “The Thinker” & “The Kiss” as well as of course many others. The Louvre is a museum we have visited before but to be honest I think you would need a week to actually see everything in there! This time around we wanted to see their Egypt exhibits as it was closed last time we came. Yes, the museums were lovely and all but really....Paris is more than just its museums.

One thing we did which was really great was take a trip out to the edge of central Paris to see “Pere Lachaise” cemetery. This is the place you can find the gravestones of famous names such as Chopin, Edith Piaf, Jim Morrison, Charlie Chaplin and many others. We even found someone called “Sex toy” in there…interesting name to have on your gravestone :) It’s a lovely walk through the gardens as the cemetery is huge and there are still people being buried there today. So it is a nice escape from the craziness of central Paris.

Another highlight was the Catacombs. This is something I have been wanting to do in Paris for a while now but never had the chance. Definitely worth the wait. It’s a 2km long labyrinth of tunnels 20m underground below central Paris. In fact 2km is just the tiny section the public are able to see, there are actually tunnels winding 280km underneath the city. It’s a pretty amazing thought. Originally the tunnels were used as a kind of quarry for collecting stone for the city but they had to stop that many years ago when they mined too much and parts of the city ended up collapsing and being swallowed into the ground due to no support being underneath them anymore. Then back in the late 18th century the graveyards of Paris became completely overrun and there was no more space to bury people, it was becoming a health issue. So they decided to dump all of the bones in the underground tunnels. They quite literally just gathered up the bones of more than 6 million people and dumped them down a hole into the tunnels then they said a quick prayer over them and that was that. Bones were buried and crisis was averted. But then of course Romanticism came along in the early 19th century and people weren’t so impressed with the idea of the bones just being dumped into the tunnel so along a new overseer of the quarry came and decided to create what is today known as the “Catacombs” by building up the piles of bones onto the sides of the walls in a kind of “artistic arrangement” of skulls and femurs. It is pretty amazing and also downright creepy.

 During our time in Paris we took one trip outside of the city to the Palace of Versailles. A beautiful enormous chateau/palace just outside of Paris. Definitely a worthwhile visit even if it is just to look from the outside and enjoy the amazing and huge gardens surrounding the palace. We had a great couple of hours just wandering around and enjoying a lovely lunch in one of the garden restaurants. In fact we were pretty lucky with weather in Paris. It has been pretty cold our last week of travels but when we were in Paris the weather was hovering around a balmy 12 degrees with sunshine for most of the days. Always nice for a change from overcast and 5 degree days we had become accustomed to.

Other than the above mentioned we spent most of the rest of our time simply wandering around the different areas of Paris such as Montmatre, Saint Germaine, Le Marais and the central Tuileries gardens of Paris. We really loved just hanging out in the city which was what we really wanted the opportunity to do here. We walked across “Lovers bridge” which overlooks Saint Chapelle & Notre Dame and has hundreds of thousands of padlocks attached to the sides of the bridge with lovers names enscribed on them. Very cool.

We tried some of the local French cuisine as well. Tegan even ate snails and liked them. :)

I think our favourite times in Paris were those times when we sat down somewhere in a small alley/street and watched the world go by with a cup of coffee and a sweet French pastry. So simple yet so relaxing and enjoyable.

I will come to miss chocolate croissants, nutella crepes and macaroons and I think this time around Tegan will also come to miss this great city of Paris.

But for now it was time to board a plane for the first time in almost three months and fly to Iceland.

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