A month ago (I’m getting there, people, sometime this year, I will be up to date with my posts…), I went to Paris with my mom and my three older sisters for a weekend. My mom got this as her birthday present from us since she used to work in Paris as an Au pair when she was younger and had wanted to see Paris again for quite a while.
Anyway, we started Friday evening and left Vienna at around 7 pm. (The flight was slightly late but nothing we couldn’t handle.) We arrived in Paris at 9 and went straight to our hotel. We stayed in Montmatre, which is a pretty great place to stay: In walking distance from about 5000 bars and right round the corner from the Moulin Rouge, basically atop the Metro. But since our Hotel overlooked the cemetary it was calm, too. Perfect balance. :)
As you can probably imagine, Friday evening we didn’t do much. We had a look around, saw the Moulin Rouge and then had a quick drink at a café close to our hotel before calling it a day.
On Saturday, the sightseeing actually started. After breakfast, we drove to the Champs Elysée and saw the Arc de Triomphe. Then we just went for a walk on the Champs Elysée. One keeps forgetting how incredibly HUGE this street is…
We also bought some theatre tickets for the evening there, before heading towards the Boulevard Haussmann, which is like the shopping street if you want to spend too much money on designer crap. [As you can probably tell, I loved it there…] It also has the famous Au Printemps mall, which had an awesome Alice in Wonderland theme going on while we were there. All the window displays looked like they were straight from the set of the Tim Burton movie.
Anyway, I did what was getting increasingly more common behaviour during that weekend: Wait while the rest of my family did some shopping. Thank goodness, I had my book and my mp3 player.
When people were done with shopping (which apart from the prizes was especially fun because it was Saturday afternoon and all of Paris was on Blvd. Hausmann, we went to the Opera and got on one of those Hop On Hop Off busses. (I love those things.) So, accompanied by classical music and the occasional commentary about Napoleon (everything’s about Napoleon in Paris), we drove round the city until we reached Notre Dame.
Since there was some kind of religious ceremony going on there, I let my mom and sisters go in there without me (also, I had seen Notre Dame pretty extensively on my last trip to Paris since I didn’t have any money and Notre Dame was one of the few things you could see for free).
From there we headed into the Quartier Latin, where I left MomSis in a shop to head to Shakespeare and Company myself. [Why, yes, I don’t think it’s weird to visit an English Bookshop in Paris.] Unfortunately, I had to search for it a little bit and then there were SO MANY PEOPLE in the shop that I didn’t get very far until MomSis were back so we could go get dinner together. But when you have to fight your way to the bookcase, bookshopping isn’t really fun anyway.
After dinner, we headed to the theatre. We went to Le Palace, a very small theatre in Mont Matre, where they had a production of The Fiddler on the Roof.
The show was okay. They found a protagonist who could sing and play but unfortunately, all of the other actors had chosen between these two talents. The musical itself is fun and the music is pretty cool. Unfortunately of my sisters, my mother and me, I was the only one who understood everything (and was able to keep the actors apart, for some reason), so after the show, I had some things to explain.
Then we walked to our Hotel, with a small pit stop in a café for some drinks.
On Sunday, we climbed Mont Matre. (For those not in the know, Mont Matre is a pretty big hill, filled with mostly residential houses and a few shops and bars. On top of Mont Matre is the Sacre Coeur church.)
We passed one of the few remaining windmills of Paris and a lot of really great street art. (In fact, Paris was pretty full with really cool street art.)
Once we reached the top, we went to the Place du Tertre. That’s a kind of market place, but with painters who sell their paintings. Much of the stuff is not very good (imo), but you can discover stuff there. We didn’t.
Then my mom, one of my sisters and me went to the Espace Dalí, a museum entirely devoted to Dalí. They don’t really have any of the famous stuff, but specialise on the illustrations he did, mostly for the bible and for greek myths, but he also made some really great illustrations for Alice in Wonderland. Pretty awesome, you guys! The museum shop on the other hand was a rather sad affair.
Well, I’m not the world’s slowest museum goer, but my mom and my sister definitely beat me. I would have liked to take a little more time there but, well, I’ll survive.
Anyway, from there we headed to the Sacre Coeur.
Since we were lucky enough to arrive at the Sacre Coeur during mass, I entered the church to exit right away again, while MomSis took a little more time.
Afterwards we walked back down the hill until we reached the subway and drove to Les Halles, a huge market/shopping area, where pretty much everything was closed. Since we wanted to reach the Centre Pompidou, it didn’t matter much anyway.
At the Centre Pompidou we were lucky enough to only find a short queue. Unfortunately the permanent exhibition was closed at that time and they only had some special exhibitions and the elles@pompidou programme, which showcases female artists.
And I have to admit that I was rather disappointed by the elles@pompidou exhibition. I mean, there was a whole fucking lot to see but it felt unorganised, overwhelming and there was much too little information provided. Though there were some exhibits I really liked (especially the stuff from guerillagirls), mostly I felt left alone.
Outside, there was again some pretty cool streetart.
From there we headed to the city quarter Mareilles. Mareilles is basically the gay part of the city (and then morphs into the Jewish quarter), which makes for interesting shops and amazing food (or at least we were lucky enough to find the probably best sushi I ever had. Ever). So, we spent way more time there than we thought we would before returning to the hotel.
My mom then went of the bed and my sisters and me went to the cinema (interestingly enough, the cinema we went to showed some films in the original language and some films dubbed to French, with no apparent system). Two of my sisters decided to go for Valentine’s Day in French, while my third sister and me went to see I Love You Philipp Morris (OV, thank you very much). I’ll review the film tomorrow.
And then it was Monday, our last day, which we spent doing some shopping, surprisingly. This time near St. Germaine des Prêts and on the Boulevard St. Michel.
Can I just say that I really don’t understand the French opening hours? We had no problem to spend money like whoa on Sunday evening, but on Monday morning? No chance in hell to find an open shop… I mean, huh?
Anyway, from the Boulevard St. Michel we walked to the Louvre and then through the Tuileries (a big park) to l’Orangerie (another museum).
MomSis decided to see the exhibition in the Orangerie, I decided I was beat and done with culture and that the statue of Rodin’s Kiss in front of the museum would have to do for me and headed for a café in the meantime.
And then it was time to head back to the hotel, grab dinner and then go to the airport.
And that was my trip to Paris. It was the second time I had been there and I hated it the first time round. Now, I don’t hate it anymore. But it will never be my city, either.