Paris: The City of Love! Or, if you are me, it is the city of boring museums.
Ok, please do not stone me quite yet before hearing out my explanation. I had high hopes and visions of a romantic Paris, just like everyone else. I wanted Andy and I to fall madly in love all over again swooning over macaroons and cappuccinos at fanciful Parisian cafes.
Instead, I found Paris to be like any other sight-seeing tourist city. We are not big into museums, and Paris is NOT lacking museums of any kind! However we did, of course, do all the “Must Sees” and “Must Dos”
– The Louvre (See the Mona Lisa: Check! Even though Andy says it is just as good, if not better to just google it!)
– The Eiffel Tower (both during the day and at night, we preferred the lit up night version)
– The Arc De Triumph (I crushed Andy’s dream of wanting to drive around the circle, but I’m sorry, I prefer to have an intact car and all limbs on my husband)
– The Notre Dame (Yeah, it was pretty darn impressive…but let’s not lie, most cathedrals in Europe are!)
– Walking through the ethnic neighborhoods (Eating a falafel for the first time in a place that Lenny Kravitz claims is the best in the world isn’t too shabby)
– Seeing the Moulin Rouge (Andy wanted to gag me so that I would stop singing songs from the movie)
– Had our fare share of expensive coffees at cafes
– Tried all the classic French foods: Steak Tar-Tar (ok, that one was just Andy, I’m sorry…but raw beef with an egg!?), Escargo (Anything with enough butter and garlic will just taste like, well….garlic and butter) Duck Fondit (Why do we not fry more things in it’s own fat? This was actually really good!), Macaroons (Honestly, Oreos are way better and a hell of a lot cheaper!)
Our trip started with a long drive from our “hometown” in Germany to Paris. Had we known that we’d be paying almost 100 Euros worth of toll roads, we may have re-thought our decision to drive! Parking at Disney Paris was like a cruel joke for me (I LOVE Disneyland. Yes, I am an adult, so what?) and from there we took the RER Train into the city.
Now, it goes without saying that we are budget travelers. But we almost always pay extremely reasonable (if not cheap) rates for decent places after much research and scoping out local spots. The absolute cheapest hotel we could find was in Paris was 100 Euro/ Night, something that we were pretty shocked about. So, even though it was the cheapest in town, for the cost, we didn’t expect what we were about to walk into. The hotel had no elevator (that’s ok, not a huge deal) and we were on the top floor (about 8 floors up). The stairs were so steep you could practically touch the stair above you. Be careful because it is also a spiral staircase, so don’t get dizzy. At this point in the game, I brushed this off as “charm” of the old hotel….that is until I get into the room that didn’t even have enough space to put down our luggage, so I set it on the bed only to find dust flying everywhere. This only made me more cautious about the bed, but after checking for bed bugs, decided I would probably survive….that is until that night when it was clear that you could hear absolutely everything through the walls and there was a pretty good chance that a drug deal meets prostitution set up was going on next door. This was really just the tip of the iceberg with this hotel. We have stayed in some shady places and have been to our share of hotels, hostels and B&Bs in the world. This, by far, takes the cake on worst.
Luckily, a fellow high school classmate of Andy’s was currently living in Paris at the time. Not only did he become a great tour guide for a few days, but also had a friend who was leaving for the States and offered his apartment up to us for free!!! We were never so thankful for an opportunity to get out of a hotel and into a stranger’s home!
Honestly, what I loved most about Paris was the check mark I could put next to a city so famous and lusted after. To be able to say I was in Paris was cool enough for me.
(Note: I am actually not the only person who feels this way. Many of our friends who live with us in Germany and have been fortunate to travel a lot of Europe found Paris overrated. Sad that a city so “romantic” has lost its charm)
Paris SLIGHTLY redeemed itself (ok, no, not really) because it offered a Postal Service concert. The very first time I officially “met” Andy was getting into his car when I was 18. Despite not knowing who he was, I had no reservations singing along to the band blaring through his speakers. When he whipped around and shockingly asked “You know the Postal Service!?” we should have known we were meant for one another!
Long story short, this band is a lead singer from another one of our favorite bands, Death Cab for Cutie, and really only toured with this side project band once or twice in the last ten years. It was one of those bands that you never really expected to “get back together” or tour, but it did!
We hopped a flight and found a very dreary and rainy Paris for the next three days. Luckily, we had done all we had wanted to do on our previous Paris trip (how spoiled do we sound!?) and due to the weather, we found ourselves holed up in our hotel not wanting to walk through more boring museums.
Before the concert, we grabbed a bottle of wine and found a “look out” near a beautiful church and then finally made our way to the concert. Even though most of the music is ectronic and therefore, didn’t vary too much from the album, it was absolutely amazing to be able to see the band that practically brought Andy and I together.