Although my wallet and I cried ourselves to sleep each night, we found comfort in the chiming bells of Notre Dame that woke us up each morning. My flight to Paris was the first time I had ever flown by myself. The first time I ever flew was in 2010 – I was just a wee twenty-two year old. There is such beauty and freedom to seeing the world below me. I see the good, I see the bad. Staying on the positive side of life, I saw one of the most beautiful things while soaring over France: wind turbines – beautiful, clean, and future-oriented. Thank you, France, for that wonderful welcome.
Due to my low funds, I flew into the Aéroport de Beauvais-Tillé. This airport is roughly an hour and thirty minutes away from the actual city center of Paris. Rushing past people, my light backpack, pre-purchased ticket, and I beat the line and hopped on the first bus available. After arriving, I headed for the metro with a ticket given to me by my friend Tyler (thanks so much!). Unlike in Budapest where there are only three metro lines (pardon me, “four”), there are sixteen of them in Paris. In addition, Paris Métro is reportedly the second busiest metro system in Europe. I rode to Saint-Paul and roamed around the surrounding area. Following the sound of an accordion, I stumbled upon both Notre Dame and the Seine River. After a few hours of miscommunication and worry, I finally found my friend Claire. The reunion was breathtaking and full of expletives – I love you, Claire Bear. We roamed around the city, laughed, and loved life.
The next day Claire, a couple of her friends, and I went to Versailles. Luckily being an official resident of Hungary came in handy – I got into Versailles for free! All of those hours in that cold, soulless Immigration Office paid off. I am being dramatic of course, but no one would willingly hang out in that building for fun. I am sure that the inside of Château de Versailles is lovely, but I honestly wouldn’t know. We spent all of our time in the Gardens of Versailles and did not feel like standing in the queue again for the palace. Claire and I also did not venture into the Grand Trianon, but I can tell you all about the Petit Trianon! Give me a break, please. Instead of frolicking about everywhere, we spent our time rowing a boat in The Grand Canal – a decision I do not regret.
On Sunday, Claire and I ventured alone in the great city of Paris. Regrettably used to smaller cities and buildings not so deceivingly far away, we decided to walk. Trust me, just because you see the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe does not mean that it is “close.” We also saw the Statue of Liberty! Located on the Île aux Cygnes, it is just one of the many replicas found in the world. Seeing this particular site was an accident – we might or might not have been lost at the time. Damn you, lovely Parisian carousel, for distracting me. Both of us felt as if we were going in the wrong direction, but neither spoke up. Oops.
As for lodging, it was stressful yet hilarious, unexpected yet easy. I do not want to get into details, but just know that the pickings were slim. Because I did not plan to spend this money, I just watched €83 ($110) burst into flames and blow away in the wind. Hoping for a money phoenix to appear any day now.
Overall, my adventure in Paris was lovely. The city is fabulous, the culture is wonderful, and the diversity is something I have missed. I would not pay to see it again, but if I did I would definitely venture to the Catacombes de Paris. I still plan on going to the Sedlec Ossuary in Kutná Hora (Czech Republic) this weekend, but that is all still pending. Bones, bones, bones.
PS. Claire, this is for you: I slid gracefully for several inches on dog poop in the streets of Paris. That is all.
A lesson from Miss Jennifer: Do not let pretty, shiny things distract you.