Monday, August 15, 2011

Paris, August (part 1)

This weekend we took our first (okay, my first - Nisha visited many years ago) trip to Paris. If you buy far enough ahead of time, the train from Amsterdam to Paris costs about the same as a Chinatown bus from Richmond to New York, and takes about the same amount of time as flying. It's a tough life we lead.

We arrived Friday night at Gare du Nord, which turns out to be an impressive 19th-century station from a golden age of train travel, but which we quickly walked through to get to the Metro and figure out what sort of adventures we would find. I immediately impressed Nisha by requesting un carnet de dix billets, s'il vous plaît, but acquiring these 10 subway tickets was definitely the high point for my shaky French.

Line 4 to Montparnasse turned out not to be the most beautiful introduction for a metro system I've heard of as the best in Europe, but we were happy to be doing something easy and comfortable in a city we'd never visited.  It gave us time to wonder at the small details that place you firmly in a foreign environment - like the subway train doors that you open with a lever before the train stops, or that the warning to be careful of getting your hands stuck in the door depicts a surprised pink rabbit wearing yellow pajamas.

Disembarking at our station, Montparnasse - Bienvenüe, we passed this restaurant. I would proceed to make many an infantile joke about flamey cooch. We checked in at Hotel Ibis Tour Montparnasse, which was serviceable by not anything we'd seek out again. Sadly, we'd eaten a good amount of (surprisingly tasty) food on the train, and were not all that hungry on our first night in one of the great food cities of the world! We ended up walking around just to get a feel of the place, hoping to understand where people hang out and why this city has been so romantic to so many people for such a long time.

The famous Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris. I wish I could tell you that we studied in detail the symbolism of the imagery, but that will have to wait for another trip. For now, it was a beautiful place to sit on a clear night. At least until a giant rat rustling in the bushes behind our bench spooked the crap out of Nisha.

I'm quite sure the Seine looks better without me in front of it, but here we are, ready to walk around for hours.

These poor feet have no idea what's in store for them over the next 2 days. For now, it's time to rest.

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