Day Three: Not London

WARNING: This is a very long post.

Denis wasn’t kidding about having to get up early yesterday. We were in a taxi by 4:30am, headed for a place called St. Pancras. It was a train station. After a sleepy ride we got off in this city:


We were in Paris!

The Eiffel Tower wasn’t our first stop, but it was pretty cool. You can stand directly underneath it. The lines to go up were crazy long. We didn’t have time.

The actual first stop was the subway ticket counter. We got an all-day pass. Denis has an application on his iPhone that shows you how to get from place to place on the Metro in Paris. It was awesome. And thus began our marathon to visit many major Paris landmarks.

Our first landmark was the Pantheon. We didn’t know what it was, but it was on the map as an attraction. It turned out to be a very cool building that has many famous dead people buried in it, including Victor Hugo, Marie Curie, and Voltaire. I don’t know much about Voltaire, but I’m always quoting a philosophy of his: “I disagree with what you are saying, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

It was so Greeky!

Next we went to Notre Dame. I couldn’t believe how ornate the building was. Outstanding! We could have spent hours there, but there wasn’t time. We did go inside. It was free.

I did not see any hunchbacks.

The inside of the church was beautiful. There were many vignettes, chapels, and displays around the sides of the church. There was even a St. Denis – spelled the same way as Denis! I had to get a picture.

Denis and Denis.

Next stop was the Musee d’Orsay. I had no idea what this building was, but it was cool-looking. A quick internet search tells me it has lots of Impressionist art in it.

What is this place?

Next stop was the Eiffel Tower. I’ve already showed that. But by this time, we really needed a bathroom. Here’s something interesting: London has public toilets, but no public trash cans. Paris has public trash cans, but no public toilets …except for a couple at the base of the Eiffel Tower. The line was long. It was a robot bathroom that cleaned itself after each use, so it took forever.

It sprayed the whole room down with water after each use!

After the Eiffel Tower, we headed for the Arc de Triomphe. It’s in the middle of a giant traffic circle, so you have to go underground to get to it. It’s a war monument. Very cool. The statues on the sides of it are giant. I’d like a statue like that in my garden.

There was some refurbishment work going on.  Some of the statues were wrapped in plastic.

The Louvre was next. It was a HUGE complex of buildings. If we had wanted to actually go in, I think we could have spent several days there. We only spent about half an hour walking around and looking at all the pretty buildings. I did not see any members of secret societies there.

The Albino said that the secret was hidden under the pyramid... What could he mean?

By this time we were starving. But how were we going to get food in a city where everybody speaks French? Denis was really brave and went into a restaurant and said: “Parlez vous Anglais?” to the woman. She said: “A little.” She was Chinese. We were at a Chinese restaurant in Paris. Ha! How’s THAT for weird food, Lauren?

I got a samosa and ginger chicken.  It was delicious.

By now, we had run out of major landmarks. Oops! We were also getting tired. We stumbled upon a shopping mall. It was really fun to go there. Everyone was shopping just like Americans do: hold up a shirt, look at the price tag, put it back. It was surreal: we were hanging out in a shopping mall in Paris! We also stopped at some other stores. At one of them, I got a shirt. It was only ten euros. Denis got it for me while I took a picture:

All he said was 'bonjour' and 'merci'.

Our train for London left at 8:30pm, but we were exhausted. We decided to wait in the train station. It was incredibly uncomfortable. But at least we weren’t walking any more. Whew! To pass the time, we bought some pain. Ha! That’s what they call bread! I had “pain aux raisins”: pain with raisins! Hehe…

It was quite delicious, and not at all painful.

The trip back was uneventful, and we were back to the hotel by 10pm. I was so… tired…

Here are some quick reflections on Paris: *Finding a bathroom can be hard. *It’s easy to pretend like you know French, as long as you don’t have to speak to or listen to anyone. *Paris subways are less clean and less polite than London subways. *The people in Paris are better-dressed than any place I’ve been. *If a tan-skinned girl in a head scarf asks if you know English, say “no”. She’s asking for money. I must’ve been asked by ten or fifteen different girls. After the first time, I knew I should just say “no”.

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12 Responses to Day Three: Not London

  1. Lauren says:

    Soooo many comments!

    1. Grrrrrr.
    2. I thought you wrote that you were going to St. Pancreas.
    3. Your photos are hilarious!
    4. I would kill for a picture of the inside of the robot bathroom.
    5. Grrrrrrr.
    6. I’ve heard that you need to keep your hands in your pockets in Paris by one building (Sacré-Cœur) because ‘String Men’ hang out there. They tie a string around your wrist (quickly) and then demand money because they’ve given you something.
    7. Grrrrrrr.

  2. Lloyd says:

    I commend you on your newly acquired Photoshop skills. Come on, what did you really do yesterday?

  3. Peggy says:

    Ok Brad…you’re making it REALLY HARD to like you!

    (LOVE the pictures too! Especially the one at the Musee d’Orsay…you are too funny!)

  4. Carol says:

    I’m still back on “I got in a train in London and woke up in Paris” – you didn’t notice you were in the Chunnel then, or do trains float now? How long did that really take – had to be more than 90 minutes…were you hypnotized for each trip?

    Standing “under” the Arc de Triumph as you were makes it look like some sort of Egyptian head dress you were wearing that day. If others were wearing scarves, hats, or burkas, though – why not? Wasn’t it a little heavy though?

    You mean you were in the Louvre and did not stand in line forever to see the Mona Lisa (and remark as I had years ago, “…..that was IT?!”)? Good choice!

    Good job, Denis! You are welcome to plan any surprise trips for us that might cross your mind…any free ones, of course…

  5. Peggy says:

    How long was the train ride?

    • Brad says:

      Two hours, fifteen minutes. By the time we boarded I knew where we were going. We had to go through immigration and show our passports and stuff.

  6. Kristi says:

    So. Very. Jealous.

  7. Peggy says:

    BTW: WAY TO GO DENIS!! (The flesh Denis, not the stone Denis)

  8. Brad says:

    Lauren! I totally forgot to include that when we were waiting in the train station I was almost positive that I saw a Dr. Who actress walk by. It was Harriet Jones, former prime minister! I was already in a stupefied state, otherwise I would have chased after her for a picture.

    • Lauren says:

      Would you have flashed your passport at her and said, “Brad Royuk. Religion teacher.”?

      I am SOOOOOOOOOOOO jealous. 🙁

  9. Pingback: Who needs Paris? |

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