"Not all those who wander are lost." -J.R.R. Tolkien

Monday, September 30, 2013

We're the jet set (sorta)

In a wonderful song recorded by John Prine and Iris Dement called 'We're not the Jet Set', they cite Athens, Rome and Paris (Texas, Georgia, and Tennessee). We jokingly said we would be the jet set once we spent time in all these places. So now that we've checked off Paris, we are, in fact, the jet set. Although after looking up 'jet set' on Wikipedia, it seems we'd be mistaken. We might be easier matched to the 'old Chevrolet set' that Prine and Dement refer to. The song is worth a listen: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SsyHo8iUsjE&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DSsyHo8iUsjE

We camped at a campground that was only a 15 minute bus ride into the city center. We had one ace day and one struggle day. On the ace day we were efficient, navigated well and didn't use any public transport once in the city. On the struggle day we entrusted in Lonely Planet too much, looked for things in places they didn't exist, and used a fair amount of public transport. But on our ace day, the first day, we covered an impressive amount of ground so our legs were tired for our second day.

On our first day in Paris we woke up and circled points of interest on the map over coffee. We took the campsite shuttle to Porte Mallot, a bus stop within view of the Arch de Triumph. 

After snapping a few pictures we set out for rue Muffetard, a famous eat street, as it was nearing lunchtime. On our way we stumbled upon the church of Madeline, which was less extravagant than the churches in Italy, but beautiful nonetheless. Then we grabbed 2 tasty paninis on Rue de Muffetard and did some people watching. After lunch we went to Norte Dame to admire the gargolyes from the outside.

 On our way we walked past the modern art museum which looks like an elaborate hamster cage. 

We worked up yet another appetite and went to Berthillon for some famous ice cream. I got coconut and wp got pistachio. His was better, but they were both delicious. 

After ice cream we set out to our only paid entry attractions of the day: Le Conciergge and Ste-Chappel. It was a joint ticket to see the old King's quarters, the prison of the French Revolution, and the beautiful stained glass chapel nearby. In the prison we got to see the cell where Marie Antoinette was encarcerated during the revolution. Just an empty room, but still cool to be in that space. The chapel was our favorite bit. The stained glass was intricate and was in the process of being restored, a 12-year project! 

On our way to the Latin Quarter we stumbled upon the love bridge. People put locks on the bridge and then throw the keys in the Seine to seal the deal. It's quite the spectacle now with hardly any room for additions.

After admiring some locks and snapping a few pictures we decided that our legs were tired and that we needed a beer. We walked to the Latin quarter and found a happy hour with cheap beer and bloody Marys! We found a good spot in the window and did some more people watching. 

We enjoyed the Latin quarter so much that we returned the next day to try out a new bar and some of the crepe stands in the street. 

After the bar we grabbed a picnic at the super market and went to the Eiffel Tower. We admired the lights and light show while devouring some wine, cheese, bread, and salad. It was spectacular to be at the foot of such a huge monument and enjoying such a delicious meal. Here's our dinner view:

After a marathon dash we caught the last bus back to our campsite at midnight and passed out after a long day. The next morning we woke up and it was almost noon...whoops!

We got up, packed up our campsite and headed back into Paris as fast as we could. We decided to try and visit some of Paris' most famous flea markets, which all lie on the periphery of Paris (literally Rue de Peripherie). We took the metro clear across Paris to find out that Lonely Planet had steered us wrong (not for the first time) and that the markets are only open on weekends. Pretty key and relevant information that was missing. So, the day dwindling, we had an espresso and used some wifi to do some searching and salvaging. What we found were a few food markets and Luxembourg Gardens that we never made it to the previous day. The food markets were lackluster, more like eat streets, but still fun to walk through.

At Luxembourg Gardens we only had time for a quick stroll because it was getting later and they close the gate at 7. We were able to walk around the outside and see nooks and crannies and still enjoyed our time there.

We grabbed a couple beers and crepes in the nearby Latin Quarter, which is always abuzz, and headed back towards the campsite. We had originally planned on taking an overnight bus and leaving Paris that night, but Lonely Planet was wrong about the address of a bus ticketing office, so long story short we ended up "stranded" in Paris one more night. Woe was us. We did have to re-setup our campsite though. Such a hardship when you can literally see the Eiffel Tower from your campsite.

The next morning we caught up on charging and journaling over coffee and were able to arrange our bus to Bordeaux. Now, off to the south of France!


Katie and Will

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