Published: May 26th 2008May 26th 2008
Three weeks to go
Ok so now I have started counting down the days until I leave my job for good.
I have 3 weeks of work (15 shifts to be exact) left until mum flys to Paris and we go to Florence!
As my time in Paris is drawing to a close though i've started to manically do all the things that I've been wanting to do since I first arrived here, but just never got around to for some reason or another.
I must say though, the change in the weather has definately helped me be more pro-active in seeing Paris' sights again.
This weekend my friend Esther from Holland came to visit me and fortunatley with her came great weather! She arrived friday evening, and i was fortunate enough to get work off friday and sunday having to just work at sat night shift.
As I had all of friday off before she arrived I got myself busy. I did my washing, went for a run in a beautiful park near me called the Buttes Chaument, tided my room, and then took a train into the Jardin des Tuillieres where i then walked to the Orangerie. The Orangerie is a small museum which houses some of Monet's amazing waterlilly paintings. They are absolutely HUGE! I didnt realise how big they were going to be, and seeing them reminded me that hopefulyly before i leave I want to go out to monet's old estate and see the garden in real life.
Whislt at the Orangerie I bumped into one of the american girls i've met whilst being here and we arranged to meet up later that night with my friend.
Esther arrived into Paris around 9:30pm so to celebrate her being in Paris I'd bought us a bottle of champers which we sipped on whilst getting ready to go out.
Paris by night was lots of fun as since i've been living in Paris i havent actually been to any clubs, as my friends all seem to prefer, pubs, belushi's or else dont like frenh club music. Me and Esther used to dance the nights away in Dijon so it was only fitting that this is what we did in Paris too.
We met my friend Jeanette at the Rex Club, a celebrated club in Paris as its been around 20 years and is supposed to be amazing, however, it was a very parisian club, in that it was tiny with ridiculously priced drinks. We all found it amusing however as everyone there seemed to dance in lines... everyone was standing facing the dj and dancing alone.... but next to each other.... it was really bizare. This though stopped being amusing when we realised it was probably going to stay that way all night. Fortunatley for us though, Cafe Oz was just down the road, so off we went! This was a great success as the music was pumping and lots of people were dancing!
Saturday was a day of sightseeing, starting with lunch in a pizzeria (a trend started in Prague) and then off to Cemetere Pere Lachaise. As weird as it is that it's a cemetery, lately i'd been really wanting to go and see it, and i wasnt disapointed. We even had moody weather to go with the atmosphere! It was such a surreal feeling walking around all the diferent graves and tombes and crypts and reading the signs and sayings. The size of the cemetry is overwhelming and all the graves are stacked one on top of the other. We did do the token touristy thing there however, going to Jim Morrisons grave. People had recently been by and left flowers, cigarettes and even a splif on the grave. Because ppl have in the past stolen things from or decemated his grave there is 24/7 security standing by.
Can you believe that even after his death, he is still having such an effect on ppl, and still needs his own security?! Crazy.
Sat night, i was back at work, I introduced Esther to some ppl I know and fortunately for her she got on really well with them and ended up going out to see the Eiffel Tower at night with them and having a grand time :)
Sunday came by and as it was Esther's last day with both made an early morning effort, getting up and out by 9:30 and going into town to see the Hotel des Invalides and Napoleans tomb. This is a sight i've really been wanting to see as from most places in Paris you can see the roof of the tomb, its in this curch with a huge domed roof which has 12 tonnes of gold leaf on it, and it shines out from where ever you look in Paris.
After our tour around there we decided to doing the very french thing that Esther missed in Holland and have a long lunch with wine. We went into the Latin Quarter and found the least touristy yet still french restaurant we could find and didnt move from there until two hours and a bottle of wine had passed. With such great weather we then strolled through the latin quarter and across the bridges of the Seine to find a distant metro rather than waste the good weather.
At the current time of publishing it is now Monday afternoon, Esther left last night, and this morning Helene has moved out of the hostel and into her new HUGE appartemnt in Montemarte. I've been very proactive too, lunching with some staff members and then renting a Velib and cycling down the canals past Bastille and along to the Seine, then followed that to Hotel de Ville and took some main roads back up to Place de Stalingrad where I could deposit my bike. Just over and hour in total of cycling, and a little bit stressed later I arrived home sweaty:P in time for a shower, blog writing, and then im off to work!
I must say though, french drivers, and cyclists are NUTS, the cycle routes around Paris keep changing which side of the road you're riding on, then the next secodn the whole thing disapears adn you have to merge with traffic, and then bycylists can ride in the Bus lanes. This is all very confusing for a 'tourist' as such as none of this is marked on the instructions/directions/help sections which I througherly read. However mum and dad, you'll be pleased to know that i was 'road smart' in that i got off my bike at any main intersection, I didnt just fly thorugh them and try to dodge cars/buses/taxis/motercylists etc. I don't think i'll ever do that though as I swear it looks like a death trap!
Anyways, this weekend I've been able to check off my list a whole lot sights that I still needed to see:
- Pere Lachaise
- Hotel des Invalides/Napoleans Tomb
- Cycle around Paris
All that I really want to do before I leave now is go to Versaille (hopefully happening on Wednesday!) and go to Monet's Gardens.
So i'll leave you with my information overload and maybe next time i blog i'll give you the iternary of what I'll be up to in the coming months... if you're lucky that is!