Lucky for my 10 readers out there (oh hayyy), I have brought along my laptop for my 4 day rondezvous (which means meeting, apparently, but whatever) in the City of Lights, of Love, and holy shit, of delicious crepes – PARIS, FRANCE.
Getting here was relatively painless (that’s what she said). We left Sevilla at 8:30 p.m. on Friday. Our flight, despite a field trip of screaming French middle schoolers, went by quickly and we headed into the night towards our hotel on literally the other side of Paris.
Boy, was getting there fun.
We first took a bus from the airport to a metro station, a seemingly non-sketch option for heading into the heart of Paree. Oh huh huh (fat Frenchman laughing), we were in for a surprise. Upon reaching Gare du Nord (pronounced Gaww doo neuuu), the metro station at which we had to change trains, we were thrust into an underground station that could have passed as one of the top layers of hell. Not only was it dark, sketchy, and covered in grafitti, it was filled with every stereotype of a dangerous city dweller: homeless person, possible terrorist, punk, gypsy, batshit crazy… the whole gang was in this dimly lit train station. We just about ran onto our next metro and towards our hotel, a shining beacon known as the Hotel Liberty.
This “hotel” is quite the interesting find. Don’t get me wrong, either, because I’m all ABOUT a good deal & finding one in Paris was pretty hard. And for 22 euro a night, I really cannot complain. However, Angela and I were quite shocked when, upon arriving in our room, we realized the floor & bed are literally SLANTED. I am not 100 years old, Hotel Liberty, and I do not require one of those reclining infomercial beds (anyone with me on this metaphor?). Rather than allowing all of the blood from our legs to rush to our heads and kill us overnight, Angela & I, being the UNC geniuses that we are, switched the linens to the other side. Still, it’s hard to sleep in a room that’s a fucking funhouse. I feel like I’m at the Neverland Ranch. Heehee (Michael Jackson style).
So today, we decided to go a bit out of order and stick it to the man (Rick Steeves) and head to Versailles first. (This is actually because tomorrow all the museums are free and Versailles will be closed Monday, but I just wanted to feel bad ass for a sec.) This morning, we headed down towards the famous Chateau, which is a good bit outside of Paris. We clearly had to take trains to get there. Our first ride, of course, included quite the creeper. As I stood by the door, minding my business, I realize a short Middle Eastern-ish looking man dressed in all black standing right near us. With bloodshot eyes peering from beneath his horribly gelled Caesar cut (remember those?), he looked at Angela and I as a lion would a plate of t-bones… dude was SEARING us with his stares. But did it end there? No. I started feeling uncomfortable standing next to this guy because he was, yep, staring at me. So I switched poles (that’s what she said) in the subway. Well, wouldn’t you know that the dude followed me. And not once, but SEVERAL TIMES. I whispered to Angela, “hey, this guy is following me.” Then she watched me switch from one metal bar to another just to have him follow like a GD lemming. She just laughed as the process continued. He finally got off, and later, so did we.
Our second train was equally as fun. First, a heartwarming story for all of you who think I am just an angry and cold devil-woman: an old French couple shuffled down the station towards the bench that Angela and I were sitting on, waiting for the VICK train. I noticed that the old man was forced to stand because there was only one seat, so I stood up to offer him mine like the respectful young woman that I am (14% of the time). Clearly taken aback, the man and his wife looked at me with the same gaze with which one might look at Gandhi or Mother Teresa. They both seemed to compliment me in French, but the old man refused to take the seat of such a kindhearted human being. He pointed to another empty seat, presumably saying that he could sit there and that I didn’t have to give up my seat. Oooh old people. They really know how to brighten my day.
Another great incident in the train station involved an Asian family also in search of Versailles. I guess they didn’t realize that the trains spend about 5-10 minutes in the station before heading out towards Versailles so all of the passengers can board. The wrong train showed up in the station, but the Asian family wanted to double-check, I guess, if it went to Versailles. After hearing ‘no,’ they disembarked the train faster than anything I’ve ever seen in my life. I swear the dad did some sort of roundhouse kick/ ninja move as well just to solidify their Asian-ness. It was the most unreal thing I’ve ever seen in my life.
We finally got to Versailles about 1 hour later and then proceeded to spend the next 1 hour in line waiting to buy tickets. This went by pretty quickly, as we entertained ourselves with games like, “Which of our friends is most likely to be a murderer?” We really know how to kill time.
Versailles was one of the most unreal things I think I’ve ever seen. It was absolutely OUTLANDISH. I really don’t know how it wasn’t nauseating for French royalty to go from one room, dripping in tapestries, gold, and oil paintings, onto the next room, similarly decked out, to the next room, which is, shocker!, covered in the same stuff as the room before. I think the French Royal Family is collectively reincarnated in Flavor Flav or MC Hammer – tacky, gaudy, and GOLD. The whole thing was just too much. They also had the Hall of Mirrors, with about 10000 chandeliers (approx. estimation), a huge-ass gallery, their very own cathedral, gardens out the ying yang… the place is absurd. But despite the lines and the sickening number of creepy-faced Frenchman’s portraits on every inch of wall space, it was clearly worth the visit.
Random thought: Speaking of those portraits, can we agree that people in the 18th and 19th centuries were FUGGGG? I mean, all of them looked diseased. Another creepy aspect: all the paintings of kids showed them with gray hair. What the HELL, France?
We got back to Paris around 5:30, missing entry to the Catacombs (tomorrow, hopefully!)… so instead we took a lovely stroll down the Seine, catching a quick glimpse of the Notre-Dame Cathedral (tomorrow, hopefully!), and some insane street performers. Favorites included a rollerblading brigade, who was doing some crazy, gumby-looking shiz with their legs, and a band made of old people singing some sweet blues & other classic songs in ENGLISH.
HOLY SHIT--- how could I have forgotten? Perhaps the best part of my day (and probably the best part of my life in recent years) was having my first CREPE. OH.DEAR.GOD. I got Nutella & Banana, and it was like the first time I heard the Beatles. I have never felt more alive than when I took the first bite of my first Parisian crepe. I told Angela that it was probably in the “top 5 best things I’ve ever eaten in m’life” list. If you come to Paris, your first stop should be the crepe stand. I.am.in.love.
So, I guess that’s all for today. Hopefully I’ll be able to update tomorrow on the likes of the Lourve, the Orsay, the Catacombs… oh what a life I lead.
P.S. The only reason I remember ‘au revoir’ is from a Pee Wee movie when he has a French girlfriend who uses ‘au revoir’ when she says goodbye. And no, I’m not a child molester, I just used to find Pee Wee extremely hilarious as a young lass.
Au revoir x 2!