To finish off my 632 day trip I had 2 days left in Paris and I had no specific plans before boarding my flight home. Last time I was there (about 6 weeks before) I had stayed with a French girl, Marie Arkrour who was the friend of a friend. This time she wasn't in the city, so I had to figure out things to do on my own. I stayed in a well located hotel, the "Hotel Printemps" that was walking distance from the "Champ de Mars".
It was my third time in Paris so I wanted to avoid spending too much time walking in the usual places (although I guess it's kind of inevitable), so doing a bit of research online I came across some interesting websites with off-the-beaten-path places in Paris and decided to check out a few, although I didn't have enough time to go to all of the places I was interested in seeing.
Some of the websites I came across (there are several others, of course):
- Unknown Paris
- Discover secret Paris
- My little Paris - 11 secret locations
- Top (semi) secret Paris neighborhoods
Over the two days, some of the places I went
to see were:
“Les Arènes de Lutèce” (The Lutetia Amphitheater), built in the 1st Century, it housed games, gladiator fights and theater for 17000 spectators. Nowadays the arena is set behind building facades and is a widely used public space.
The "Impasse des Arbalétriers": it’s a dead end street. Here, Louis of Orléans, Charles VI’s brother was murdered in 1407 by order of John the Fearless. This isolated episode was the spark that ignited the 100 Years War no less. Today, this dead end street is covered in graffiti and is the location of the Swiss cultural Institute.
I walked in Montmartre and the surrounding areas by day and night. A specific thing to see which is mentioned in one of the websites is the "Je t’aime Wall". If you're near Mont Martre, it’s hard to miss. It's a wall with ceramic tiles with "I love you" notes written in about 300 different languages and dialects that a FRench guy collected while walking the streets of Paris and asking random people.
I wanted to go to the Paris Catacombs, but couldn't at the end . They seem pretty interesting though, same thing
with the Sewer Museum.
The rest of the time I just wondered around the areas near to these places, walking several hours a day, including the Rue du Bac, walking a great deal along the Senne, seeing the Eiffel Tower again and most of the usual Parisian sights, having lunch in a kebab joint in Rue Mouffetard, passing by the Place Vendôme at night, the Sacre Coeur, Montmartre, etc.
One of the nights I was out for a stroll I ended up in the Champs Élysées. It was about a month before Christmas and already there was a very festive carnival-like ambiance there (I'm guessing the reason were the holidays, I'm not sure). It was great fun to walk around having warm sweet wine (to warm up in the cold Parisian nights) and hot dogs to go. I think I got some good night shots of Paris there.
My last night in Paris was the November 24th and the 25th was my 32nd Birthday. As I had no one to celebrate with, I treated myself to a good dinner and a few drinks after midnight in a small bar in the
Boulevard de Grenelle, a few block from my hotel.
I left the next day in the afternoon and I started my 30 hour, four-flights ordeal to arrive in Chile after 21 months. From Paris to Frankfurt to the Dominican Republic to Panama and a last 6 hour flight back home where I was greeted by my family.
One of the best parts about traveling is arriving back home.
About 2 weeks after arriving home I went back to my previous job in the Navy and here I am. Plans for the current year include visiting places between Concepción and Puerto Montt in Chile, doing a bit of local tourism and keeping on writing.
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