Paris – Day 1

Originally posted on Blogger on 3 April 2015

Over the weekend of 20-22 March, I went to Paris. I was excited for the trip because when I was in high school, I started learning about the French Revolution and became obsessed with the figures who made the one in 1789 and the subsequent ones happen. I did projects on Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the Reign of Terror, as well as reading pieces by authors such as Montesquieu, Rousseau and Voltaire. More recently, my passion for France has stemmed from Les Miserables and the book A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel.

With the lead up to the trip, the only thing I wasn’t looking forward to was waking up at 05:00, so I could be at St. Pancras International to leave on the Eurostar by 06:00. To someone who isn’t a morning person, I wasn’t thrilled with the idea.

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St Pancras International where our journey began
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Paris Nord: the way I entered France for the first time without 35,000 feet in the way

After we arrived in Paris, we weren’t allowed to go to the hostel where we were staying. Instead, our tour guide took us out of Paris Nord and brought us to a coach. We were going to go on a coach tour to get an idea of the layout of the city.

The coach tour:

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First Parisian street
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The original Moulin Rouge

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Part of the complex where Princess Diana died
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The Arc de Triumph
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Jardin du Luxembourg
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First sighting of the Eiffel Tower

After the tour, we were taken to our hostel. We got our room assignments, sorted the bed situation, took the most important stuff with us and then we had free reign of Paris for the weekend.

First on the docket for my group was going to the pub/bar/breakfast room/reception area of the hostel because some of us (including me) hadn’t eaten since breakfast on the train. Others of us had bought lunch in St Pancras or had bought something on the train. We were all at least slightly hungry, however. The food we got ranged from burger and chips to most of us getting chips or onion rings and a drink.

After our late lunch/snack, we decided to wander, as well as going to the Louvre as it was free for people under 26 from 18:00 to 21:45 on Friday evenings. We wandered through Paris until about 18:00, then we headed towards the Louvre. The most complicated part of the Louvre we found was getting inside. The entrance is through one of those iconic Louvre pyramids that one sees in many of the pictures. It took us awhile to find it, and then we had to stand in a very long queue. We got some fantastic photos of the Louvre at sunset, though.

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The entrance to the Louvre

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The Arc de Triumph through the Louvre

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Statue in the square

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Right before security, looking up through the pyramid

Then we entered…

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This hallway was one of the boring bits that held nothing of interest other than the artwork. I thought it was doubly boring, because I wasn’t terribly keen on the art there either
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This headless beauty was at the top of the main staircase
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A rare, fantastic shot of what everyone goes to the Louvre to see, but I don’t count it as one of my personal highlights
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The painting opposite the Mona Lisa that I found much more interesting
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An artist depiction of Pandemonium/Hell that I was rather keen on

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One of my personal highlights. The famous painting of Lady Liberty from the French Revolution of 1789
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Another personal highlight. The famous painting of the Princes in the Tower. Bit of a shock though, since I expected it to be in the National Portrait Gallery in London or somewhere else in Great Britain. After seeing reproductions of it in books for years, it was cool to see it in person
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As tragic as this is as a painting, I fell in love with what the artist did with it
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Valerie and I’s Doctor Who fandom moment
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The view of the square/entrance from an upstairs corridor

So many horse statues on our way out

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The inverted pyramid

Just as we got lost on the way in, we got lost on the way out. Apparently, the metro station that goes directly into the Louvre closes before the Louvre or the rest of the metro lines.

Then it was off to a 21:25 dinner

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Where we ate
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Escargots. I tried them and wasn’t a fan

I had pizza as a main. No photo because I was starving, but it was good

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Crepe au nutella pour le dessert

The River Seine is beautiful at night

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Obligatory “Eiffel Tower at night” photo shoot

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