Monday, August 13, 2012

Paris Take 2

In April, my husband and I went to Paris.  We had a wonderful time and I learned a lot about the city and way of life.  I felt more prepared for my excursion with Nicole than I would have if I hadn't encountered the city previously.  Here is a play by play of our time in Paris:

On our way to Frankfurt Bahnhof.  Rocking the no make-up look.
The Train
After dealing with the hassles of driving last April, we decided to bite the bullet to pay the extra fees and take the train.  It was supposed to be an easy process and if we spoke German it would have gone without a hitch.  Unfortunately for us though, things are never perfect.

The train that we were supposed to take to Paris was supposed to go from Frankfurt to Paris and although the train was to stop along the way to pick up passengers, we had no scheduled connections.  Upon arriving at the Frankfurt Bahnhof we double check our platform number on the marquee and see that rather than "boarding" or "delayed", it mentions something in German in reference to the town, Kaiserslautern.  We ignore it and go to our platform where a huge mass of people are waiting for the train with limitless suitcases.

After the madhouse of boarding, we load the train and sit back and relax.  For the next hour or so we keep hearing an announcer come over the loud speaker and give an announcement in German and French.  Unfortunate for us, we speak neither language.

After arriving in Kaiserslautern the train turns into a madhouse again as nearly the entire train empties and other people start to board.  We're in panic mode as we overheard someone talking about having to switch trains to get to Paris.  We start racing the clock as we pack up our books and things and try to push our way off the train all while pissing off all the Germans that are trying to load onto it.  We made it to our connecting train but only just barely, and as we were loaded up onto our new train we could not for the life of us find our seats and were trying to navigate the tiny aisles with suitcases.

Note to self: Learn German. Apparently the train that we were supposed to be taking had to fix a mechanical problem and was docked at Kaiserslautern which explains why we needed to take a different train to meet it there.

Nonetheless, I did MUCH prefer taking the train versus driving.  It is so stressful to deal with driving for such a long period while navigating unfamiliar roads and putting unwanted miles on your car to boot.  If you book 3 months in advance you can get some pretty spectacular deals and it will be worth your while.  You can book your tickets online through the DB Bahn website.

The Hotel
When I came with my husband in April, I wasn't incredibly fond of the area that we stayed in.  It was on the northern edge of the city and was fairly shady.  This time around, I let Nicole book the room but just asked her to make sure that we weren't in the same area as before.

Sunset from our balcony
Although the area was a vast improvement because our hotel was literally across the street from the metro stop, I'm getting the feeling that I just don't have great luck with hotels in Paris.  It wasn't all that bad because it had a decent view and a balcony but our room was teeny tiny, with no a/c, and very limited outlets (none of which were in the bathroom).  The price for the room did not at all fit the worth of it, but I'm learning that most Paris hotels fit this description. 

Paris- After Dark
Needing a girl's night, we decided to go out on the town and have a good time.  We went to the Latin Quarter which I actually had mixed emotions about.  There were plenty of bars along the alleyway but after walking the street twice not many appealed to us.  We ended up in this bar with lively music that was packed to the brim of people and settled in for an interesting night.  The drinks were overpriced and weak and we got hit on by youngster guys that were very desperate.  It was fun and we were enjoying making fun of how idiotic the boys were acting and at about 1 am we decided it was time to head home.

Problem... The metro stops at 1 am.  We had completely lost track of time as I didn't have my handy dandy watch on.  Thank goodness one of those guys that were hitting on us spoke French and wrote on his "business" card (they literally had business cards with their numbers on them) how to say "our hotel is near the Pasteur metro stop".  As we walked out the bar, we luckily caught sight of a cab driver and got a ride back.  It worked out perfectly but oh my, it was nerve wracking.

SO, word of advice, metro closes down at 1 am so have a back-up plan to get home!
Looking spiffy on our night out.
Strippers on the Metro
In the many times that I have ridden the Paris Metro during both my stays I have witnessed a vast variety of things.  There are always plenty of gypsies that come on the train, begging for money.  I have bared witness to many musicians some fantastic, some not so much.  There was a man that I kid you not, came on the train and started holding his backpack up like a microphone and did a rap in French.  But then again, there was also a man that played classical violin so well that I was incredibly sad when he left the train.  But nothing, nothing, compares to when male strippers came onto the metro and started getting their groove on.

Nicole and I were at the end of the car and our backs were to the rest of the train car.  I heard some guy talking really loudly in French and I just rolled my eyes and assumed it was another gypsie begging for money.

Then the music started.

Glancing back I giggled slightly as the two men were doing some really cheesy dance moves. Those cheesy dance moves turned into PG-13 as their blazers were taken of and swung over their heads.  By the time we had to get off the train, they were down to their undershirts and it didn't look like they were stopping anytime soon.

So that's basically our trip!  Of course we saw all the big monuments and attractions but who wants to hear about that??  Below are some of my favorite pictures from the trip.  That first picture is Nicole's score from a bakery in the Italian Quarter.  I had the same brownie and a strawberry tart rather than a raspberry.  It was AH-mazing!!!  It was called Boulangerie La Parisienne and can be found right next to the Metro Stop, "Cardinal Lemoine" on M10.  The official address is: 28 Rue Monge, 75005 Paris, France.

Btw, it is extremely difficult to hold a camera still for 1.6 seconds for pictures like this!  I really wish I had a tripod at the time so I could have captured the twinkling lights better!

1 comment:

  1. Looks beautiful, I think I should brush up on my french, took it for 3 years would be great to have before we head to Paris!


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