Paris – Day 1 – Arrival

Touch down in Paris! I’m so jittery and excited to get off the plane that I keep fussing with my duffle bag to distract myself. Paris has only been my dream city to visit since I saw Madeline when I was like 7. Breathe, I tell myself, no big deal, there’s not rush, don’t want to come across as one of those over-enthusiastic tourists (but of course I am, and of course I want more than anything to rush of the plane).

I have high expectations for Paris. To summarize; I image Paris tinted pink in my daydreams. I considered buying heart-shaped sunglasses with pink lens to make this a reality, but decided I wanted to see Paris for its true colors. I learned a bit of French to avoid the well-documented parisian-tourist-attitude and read multiple blog posts about traveling to Paris, ending up with more than enough to do. I had been told that Paris would fall short of my expectations from previous visitors and while I took their opinions in mind, I was optimistic that Paris would be absolutely perfect. (SPOILER ALERT – IT WAS 😍 )

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Genya and I deciphering the Paris metro

From Edinburgh to Paris was pretty straight forward, it was outside of Paris (Paris Orly) to Paris Paris (city center) that took a bit of piecing together. My answer was to take the OrlyVal train to Antony (Metro Station) and the Antony RER B line to St Michel-Notre Dame (or one of the other city center stations) for 12.50E.  Then go up to the ticket office inside the metro station and ask for “un carnet de dix billets” or a notebook of 10 tickets which for 14.50E are good for any RER line in Zone 1 and any metro/bus lines (single journey, transfers not included). Finally I took the the 4 line up to my hostel (Le Montclair), following the street signs while trying to match them up to the free tourist map from the airport (because even though Three said I should have data in France, I don’t…)

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First image of Paris City Center (taken near St. Michel Notre Dame)

After arriving at the Hostel and dropping my stuff off, I went to the nearest grocery store/supermarket (supermarché); bought some wine, cheese, crackers, hummus, and tomatoes; and set out to the Eiffel Tower for the classic Parisian Picnic.

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Left: Picture of Hostel Room, Right Concorde Station

This time I took the 12 line to city center, which popped me up around the Concorde Plaza, which has a mini obelisk in the middle (I’d learn later that this was one of the oldest monuments in Paris, a gift from the Egyptians). From here, I walked along the Seine to the Eiffel Tower (which is a lot longer than it looks). The walk along the Seine alternates between regions of quiet old-fashioned greenery with strolling couple and docks of restaurant-boats and dock-bars poppin’ with people and music. Yet it’s somehow all got that Parisian charm and class.

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Top: National Assembly. Bottom: Random Park

The area around the tower was WAY to crowded to enjoy a picnic; there were people selling souvenirs EVERYWHERE, like every few feet and they were all selling the same thing at the same price, so I’m not sure how anyone makes money…

I crossed the street to the nearby Place du Trocadéro. There were a couple other people picnicking, so I joined them on grass, eating my wine and cheese and watching the sun set on the icon of Paris. So happy right now! 😍 😍 😍

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Well, the wine was cheap (very cheap) and the crackers didn’t pair super well with the brie, but it was such a nice picnic – as Parisian as I can probably get 😂

It started to get chilly around 8:30PM so I walked back to the Concorde station to take me home. On the way back, I got some more great photos of the Eiffel Tower – oh by the way, it sparkles. Outer Annabel (pretending not to be a total tourist): It’s cool, but nbd. Inner Annabel (complete tourist): OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG It’s sparkling!!! IF THAT’S NOT MAGICAL I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS! AHH PARIS IS AMAZING!!

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My first impressions of Paris: It’s truly as charming and enchanting as I thought it would be. There’s something about the way the white buildings with iron balconies, peaking out from behind green trees cut into rectangle that makes the place seem like it’s come right out of a story book. The sunset over the Eiffel tower today was the cherry on top; as the sun set and bathed Paris in it’s light, Paris was tinted pink, just like in my daydreams.

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