It was early September in Paris and autumn was nowhere to be seen, just blue skies and warm sun.
Then these two goofballs showed up.
I arrived from Rotterdam by train and walked down a few platforms to where my Danish buddy Tinus would be arriving soon from London. Transportation in Europe is amazing that way. Also, travel friends are amazing that way. I’d met T halfway around the world in Thailand and here we were again.
The thing about Paris is there’s an overwhelming lot of things to do and see, but our key to having a good time was not trying to fit it all in. We did what we wanted and didn’t stress about the rest. Here are a few modifications we made to the usual tourist must-do list:
Climbing the Arc de Triomphe, NOT the Eiffel Tower
First we climbed to the top of the Arc de Triomphe for the views. Why not climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower? Because you can’t get a view of the Eiffel tower from the top of the Eiffel Tower. Duh. But really it is just a pile of metal people, and a much protested one at that. Before it was built people called it a “truly tragic street lamp” and an “iron gymnasium apparatus, incomplete, confused and deformed.”
Also, no lines, less stairs, and easier on the pocket book (although this last one shouldn’t be taken into consideration. I mean, if you want to climb the tower, climb the dang tower because you’re probably not coming back to Paris for again anytime soon, if ever.)
Going to l’Orangerie, NOT the Louvre
There are so many museums in Paris it would make even the most die-hard art enthusiast want to gouge her eyes out to try to see all the works in all of them. Plus, both of us being classic introverts the crowds at the Louvre made our skin crawl.
We went to see Monet’s waterlilies at l’Orangerie instead. It was a piece we both loved so why not spend some quality time with it. I think I sat in each room for half an hour the first day then went back again the next for another couple hours.
Paris has a great Nap-in-the-Park culture. Everyone lies around on the grass in nice weather. No problem. Wake up next to your favorite statues. Unless your favorite statue is Rodin’s Thinker. We got in trouble for napping under that one. Oops.
I did not get in trouble for napping near these lovely ladies, though.
Eating Wherever We Plopped Ourselves Down
Yeah sure you could pour over restaurant reviews, but unless you’re going for a particular food experience most of the eateries seemed the same to me. We chose places based on ambiance and rarely had a bad meal.
Visiting Dead People
Historic Pere Lachaise cemetery was two blocks from the flat and full of some really famous dead people. We paid special visits to Doors singer Jim Morrison, classical music composer Chopin, and Irish writer Oscar Wilde, among others.
Resting Our Feet
Along the same lines as napping, there are lots of places to rest your tired pups in Paris. What’s the rush? There’s great people watching meanwhile.
Find a fountain or a chair at the park and put em in/up.
And a Good Time Was Had by All
For a hardened world traveler I was crazy giddy over Paris, to the point where I said silly things like:
“Oh My God it’s the Eiffel Tower! There it is! It’s really here! I’m in PARIS!”
(in a serious whisper) “It’s so FRENCH here! Listen to that… everyone is speaking French! It’s so cute and FRENCHY!”
After two days Tinus was ready to strangle me. Maybe it’s best I stick to solo travel.