Au revoir et bonne année, Paris!

The last few days have been something of an improvement of my first few days in Paris, but honestly, Paris is clearly not my favourite place.

On my fourth day in Paris, I was determined not to let the negatives from my first few days wear me down. 

I wish I could say it was all smooth sailing from there, but that would be a lie. Still, despite the fact that I woke up with a cold, I wanted to make the most of New Year’s Eve. 

My first stop was to revisit Notre Dame.

After exchanging my once again demagnetised pass (seriously what the hell?!) I hopped on the metro and got there just in time to feel holy geez frozen.

It. Was. Cold. It felt significantly colder than any day I had felt during the trip so far. I didn’t line up to head back into the cathedral, instead I wanted to go up the towers since I’d missed that on my first visit due to such long lines.

The line was shorter this time around. It moved a little slow, too, so it took longer to get into the tower entrance than it had taken to get into the cathedral, despite the line being about a tenth as long. And of course, because Paris wants me to dislike it for some reason, about twenty minutes after I joined the queue, a sign was put up saying the very top of the towers were closed. 

Le sigh.

Oh well, the main section was still open and I was already committed to the line!

Ezio thinks he could have climbed this way faster than Arno did.

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Despite how many stairs there were (story of my trip so far, really) I did enjoy visiting the towers. Again, my fear of heights didn’t kick in too badly except when coming down the old wooden steps inside the belfry. The level of my fear is clearly directly proportionate to how safe whatever I’m standing on feels, which makes sense I suppose.

Glad I already did this… Wouldn't want to join this line to get into the church area of Notre Dame Cathedral.

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The view is great from the walkway…It would undoubtedly be better without the netting but I’m sure there’d be a whole host of safety concerns if it were removed, and I could still take most photos through it, so it wasn’t too big a deal. As always, getting down was easier than getting up, although the way down did feel strangely never ending.

After Notre Dame I took a bit of a trip out to St Denis. The number of Kings and Queens who were buried at the Basilica there is staggering. I have to admit there were a few moments in the crypt area when I nearly freaked out. The main area was fine, but there’s a section that just opens out into something of a cavern, willed with old sarcophagi and I just couldn’t look at it for more than a handful of seconds before I had to move on.

The Basilica of St Denis.
The Basilica of St Denis – interior stained glass windows.

After my visit to St Denis I decided to head back into Paris. Being New Year’s Eve, my original plan had been to sit somewhere near the Eiffel tower with a lovely view of the lights, maybe take some pastries with me, and wait out midnight.

Except by the time I got to Paris I felt like death because my cold had gotten about ten times worse. So instead, I ate a very filling late lunch/early dinner, grabbed some pastries from a nearby boulangerie and some cough/cold syrup from a nearby pharmacie then snuggled into my bed in my hotel room, hoping to improve before my visit to Disney in a few days.

I did manage to wake up a little before midnight to wish everyone on Facebook bonne année though, so there was that.

On January 1st I was feeling a little better (despite the weird and vaguely awful taste of this syrup, it seems to really help) so I decided to follow a walking route I’d read online to venture through Le Marais.

Before Le Marais, though, I made a quick trip to Trocadéro since I hadn’t been yet and I figured the morning of January 1st would be relatively quiet.

View of the Eiffel Tower from Trocadéro.

And it was, mostly…except there were a lot of people selling dodgy merchandise. On the upside, the views were pretty and I saw a couple getting wedding photos done. I can only imagine the bride’s shoulders was  freezing in her strapless wedding dress, but I have no doubt their photos will be amazing.

I didn’t stick around for long, and quickly made my way to Le Marais to follow the route I’d found. Some of it was lovely, but most just felt a bit pointless…maybe when the place is busier and less cold it’s a more appealing walk.

I began at Hôtel de Ville Metro Station and ended at Bastille, with a lot of looping around in between.

Place des Vosges.

At about 1:30pm I stopped for lunch, then an hour later I was on the metro again, heading to Bercy as I had a ticket to Musée des Arts Forains.

This time when my pass failed again, the woman I spoke to have me a long list of things that could be damaging my pass: my phone, my camera, my credit cards, my hotel key…None of which were anywhere near my pass. We were both puzzled, but just in case, I moved my pass out of its little pocket in my outer jacket and into another empty pocket in my inner jacket. Also to be safe I started taking off my gloves before handling it, in case the touch screen fingertips were causing grief.

As for the Musée des Arts Forains, from what I had understood it was meant to be an interesting place that did shows and had a wonderful old style atmosphere. 

What I found was something out of the beginning of a weird horror movie. You know the ones where kids decades ago would visit a fairground, which would turn into some kind of creepy nightmare? Haha. 

Musée des Arts Forains. Inside was too busy for photos. Outside was significantly less “weird horror movie”.

Don’t get me wrong. The place was fascinating, and probably lots of fun for children. But mostly I just found it strange. Oddly beautiful, but strange.
I left after only an hour, but I’d seen everything and I didn’t feel like I was missing anything by going.

When I got back to my hotel and started looking up when to leave for Versailles the next morning, I realised I’d completely missed that it was going to be Monday, and Versailles is closed every Monday.

Oops.

Looking for something else to do, I decided to take the trip to Chateau de Vincennes and save Versailles for my return in the summertime (though let’s be honest, I’m not staying as long as I originally thought I would since Paris hates me).

When I got up the next morning, the weather was horrible. It was exactly the kind of dull, dreary, wet day I’d been expecting since I arrived in Europe! I’ve clearly been spoiled for weather to this point, but of course it couldn’t last.

I wandered to Invalides since it’s near my hotel and I figured I could stop by on my way to Chateau de Vincennes.

Invalides.

Of course, the main museum was closed. Apparently it’s usually open on Mondays…Just not the first Monday of the month. Ha.

Invalides.

Anyway the building itself is beautiful do I’m still glad I dropped by. And Napoleon’s tomb…just…wow.

Napoléon Bonaparte’s tomb at Invalides.

Umm…in all honesty it’s borderline ridiculous. I don’t mean that disrespectfully, I just mean that it’s gigantic, on a pedestal, and kind of what you expect for, say, a deity rather than a military leader. It’s impressive…but also excessive, in my humble opinion.

So after Invalides I hopped on the metro (my pass was still working… not sure if that was down to luck or if my other pocket or my gloves were weirdly causing the demagnetisation?). I intended to head straight to de Vincennes but the train was packed so I decided instead to stop off at Tuileries and finally try Angelina hot chocolate.

There was still a line, like there had been a few days earlier, so I decided to make the wait worthwhile, and join the queue for a table instead.

“Angelina” club sandwich from their “snack menu”. It was both tasty and huge.

I somehow managed to spend €32 on a sandwich and hot chocolate hahaha. They were delicious, but geez!

When I stepped out of Angelina’s, the weather was no better at all. I ended up rethinking my plans and decided to save Chateau de Vincennes for my next visit when the weather would be nicer. I still wasn’t feeling 100% from my cold…and the idea of getting worse instead of better for Disney wasn’t a good one!

Instead, I headed back to my hotel, repacked my suitcase, and decided to go do the laundry I’d been needing to do for a while since there was a self service laundry next door.

I couldn’t figure out how to get the powder from a dispenser machine and neither could the lovely American couple near me, so they offered me he use of their laundry detergent.

They were super friendly and it was a brightening spot to the day. Of course, then the washing machine ate my money and I had to pay a second time. Because Paris.

Not going to lie, even though there are still some things on my to do list, I’m more than ready to leave central Paris for Disneyland!

 

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