It wasn’t clear to me how much going to Paris means to Chrl. The city oozes romance. It is a city with spectacular architecture. Looking at the lightly colored stone that makes up the buildings. The way the river runs through it and how the canal serves as a promenade for two lovers to be strolling through. There are locks everywhere a testament to those who have made that commitment by symbolically closing the lock and throwing away the key.
Our train was due to leave just after nine in the morning. We already had breakfast bought. The super shop by our flat provided us with all the calories we needed for our journey. It was a start anyways. It takes just over three hours to get to Paris from Amsterdam on a direct train. It gives Chrl some time to do her work while I do mine. We both typed away on our respective devices periodically glancing at the countryside and chatting about our experience. We are both excited at our impending arrival in Paris.
The graffiti along the tracks got denser as we got closer to Gare du Nord the main train station in Paris. Many cities in Europe are covered in it to an extent and this city with its socialist anti-authoritarian tendencies is no exception of anything it is probably more of an example. This is home of Invader a contemporary and colleague of Banksy’s. The question of how friendly they are with each other is a mystery as both guard their identity. These thoughts weren’t on my mind as we stepped off the train. I wondered about how hot it is and where I put my shades ’cause that’s one of the first things I needed to find before reaching for anything else.
The map came out next. The directions were saved in my calendar and I discovered that I needed to change a setting in order to access the network while away from the UK. The small daily fee saves much trouble allowing us to have a much better experience. Relying on wifi all the time is troublesome. The speeds are not consistent even at the same place but at a different time. With all the tourists around relying on these means for communication the poor little hub can’t handle it.
I watched as Chrl looked around while watching where we are going. There are loads of people around and these streets are not familiar to me as I’ve never been to this part of the city before. I haven’t seen much of Paris the last time I was here I spent just over a day here and most of that was sleeping and cruising on a wedding boat. Being here is almost as new to me as it is for her. I can tell from her expression and mannerisms how happy she is to be seeing this part of the world. It makes me happy to see that.
We took the Metro to Saint-Michel station. It’s the closest one to our hotel. I found us a hotel right in the heart of the city. It’s just easier to be in the center. We are planning two major visits one to the Louvre and the other to the Eiffel Tower. These places are close to where we are staying making them accessible to us at our convenience. A good rule of thumb is to get to the place early that way one avoids the groups of tourists that invade the space ruining the appreciation of the object in front of you. I mainly want to just get a good shot. My technique is getting better I feel or is it that I’m just getting more comfortable with it.
A firendly young station attendant helped us find our way to the platform. We dutifully carried out bags when necessary. The train was full-ish but not to bad. With the constant movement on and off a seats were eventually gained by the both of us and we sat there giggling to each other observing the scene around us. This place is much different from other cities. It has its own vibe and rhythm as well as a style that continues to flourish amidst all that has happened here.
Our hotel is a tiny little thing on one of the side streets. The elevator up to the third floor, as they call it here, was inside a three person lift. The door barely closed behind us and the luggage and we wondered if it will make it. The lifts are all retrofitted after the buildings were put up. They all fit within the space made by the spiral staircases that are still there. It makes for a cozy ride and Chrl gets a kick out of it. She even calls one to go down!
Our room is tiny but it has one of those balcony windows that opens out onto the street. People move along down there as there really isn’t any point to hang around. There are no little café’s downstairs. No matter as Chrl observed there isn’t anyone accross the way either as we are adjacent to a university and there doesn’t seem to be any school right now. We dropped out stuff and went out for a walk. Notre Dame is close to here so in order to stretch our legs we walked over there.
The streets are bustling with people. We are not sure if we could jaywalk or not accross the wide boulevards. In the narrow streets it’s hard to walk beside each other holding hands. I feel like I’m pulling Chrl along like a drill Sargent. There is this focus on making everything work perfectly and this can interfere with just enjoying. I have to take her appetite for walking into account when choosing the way we get to where we need to get to. I’m learning 😀.
Notre Dame looked spectacular. The throngs of people outside in the square were a testament to its unique beauty. All that history tied up within the building as well as all the scenes that have played out around it over the years. The line was too long to wait in to get in. The place opens at 0745 in the morning. That’s the time to go inside.
We found a cafe to sit in and have a snack while we talked about our next destination. I need some shorts and wanted to go to this particular brand store that we didn’t get a chance to get to in London. I’m a fan of how their clothes fit me. It was a thirty minute walk from where we sat. We decided to walk along the river bank.
The Seine River courses through the centre of the city lined by impressive walls. Not too long ago these banks almost burst as so much water flowed through the city. We passed by the Louvre and decided to have a look at the building. The place is huuge! How are we ever going to cover all of it in one day? We will deal with that when the day comes. For now after being mesmerized by its grandeur and opulence we continued on. The road was leading us straight toward the Opéra. This is another of those majestic buildings. All the buildings are like this. There are these little details and texture that isn’t found in our modern minimalist era that we are currently enduring. The sleek glass and sharp corners just don’t have the same visual appeal as these old Beaux-Arts era buildings do. I had to look that up as the architectural history of Paris is a long and storied one. France had one of the first architectural schools that studied this topic. It would influence other parts of the world with its developments.
Inside the store I quickly found some shorts and there was no need to try them on as I know the sizing of this brand. I made Chrl try some things on but they didn’t fit right and I couldn’t see how she looked in the stuff either. It wasn’t as fun as the little shop in Haarlem. We left and made our way back to the hotel. There was a distinct decrease in Chrl’s energy levels and we found a shop to get some food before going into our room. Once inside we showered and relaxed. There was still some time in the day and it would be wise if some studying was done giving me a chance to do some writing of my own. We are thus both engaged in a creative activity. Chrl has her projects and I have mine. I left her for a while to go and sit at a North American coffee chain franchise to compare my words. At some point a whole bunch of roller bladers rode by accompanied by a police escort. It must be something that happens regularly akin to the bike ride through the city by cyclists in Vancouver.
After a few hours I came back to the room and distracted Chrl who was towards the end of her ability to focus on it. We watched some of the Olympics and fell asleep.