A Lone American in the City of Light Part 2

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February 24th 2015
Published: February 24th 2015
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My second stay in Paris came after touring the D-Day sites. I brought the train back into Paris from Bayeux and made my way to the Champs Elysees. I walked along the famous avenue and admired the size and the many different people that I passed. I made my way down the road toward the Arc De Triompe. I was surprised at the size of the Arc. I had no idea exactly how large it was until I was standing across the street from it. Also watching the traffic drive around and weave in and out was amusing. Of course the area around the Arc was packed with tourist and with lots of tourist comes scammers and pickpocketers. I had an encounter with one, but I was well aware of what he was trying to do. He was trying to convince me I had lost my golden ring, it’s just too bad that I am a 20 year old boy and had gloves on so the ring could not have been mine. This man wasn't very good at his trade either considering I saw him throw the ring down. That did not stop him though from trying again before he recognized he had just tried it on me. This time he laughed and then asked for a cigarette, no doubt trying to get his sticky fingers close to my pockets. He could have reached in my pockets, but all he would have gotten is maybe 5 euros and some used tissues. Either way, I had my fill of the Arc and the bad thief. I decided to make my way to my next stop which was the Eiffel Tower. I had a ticket to go to the summit, but had some time to kill so I went to a little cafe and went and enjoyed my sandwich I bought looking up and admiring the tower like a true Parisian. Finally, my time came to ascend the tower. Having been crammed on the elevator like sardines, we reached the first level. The view from here was already spectacular, but I didn't come to Paris to settle for this so I made my way to the summit line and patiently waited. My turn finally came and once again, packed on the elevator we made our ascent. This ascent was a little more nerve racking, especially for a person who has a fear of elevators, as we continued to go higher and higher up the tower. Once at the top though, the views were even better. Feeling like a king, I looked out over the entire city and saw the city from a very different view. The view really shows the separation of the old city with Notre Dame being one of the tallest buildings and the more modern outskirts where skyscrapers tower over the land. My stay at the top was not too long though as large crowds that high up in a small area are not exactly comfortable. Once back on solid ground I walked the River Seine back to my hostel. Along my walk I saw some areas along the river, where they have set up ping pong, badminton, mazes, maps and other activities for people to do. I was interesting. I also walked past the French National Assembly. Once I checked in my hostel it was time to head back to the Latin Quarter for a cheap dinner.

For my last day in Paris I started off at Sacre Coeur. I got a little lost trying to get there from the metro station and saw a little more of the neighborhood than I really wanted to, but I made it finally. That morning was quite foggy in Paris so I could not get the famous view of Paris, but I was still able to enjoy the beauty of the church. I walked around the inside admiring the beauty before heading back to the closer metro station to go to the Catacombs. Of course Sacre Coeur being a tourist attraction, scammers are all around. This time a nice man wanted to tie a yarn ring around my finger and insisted after I told him I had seen the trick. This encounter ended with me pushing the hands of the man away and walking off. Don't worry, I was never in danger, but I am glad that I have been educated about the various tactics of these scammers and pickpocketers. I made my way across town on the metro to the catacombs. The Paris Catacombs are the largest in the world and house over 6 million skeletons. The first part of the walk does not have any skeletons and talks about the history of the catacombs and takes you down various little underground roads. The second part is walking through the ossuary. This is the part that houses all of the skeletons and I have to say that at first it is very neat, but after looking at human bones and a lot of skulls I was kind of freaked out. I was delighted to see some sunlight by the end. After the catacombs I made my way down to the Luxembourg Gardens where I enjoyed my lunch. After the gardens, I stopped at the only American place so far in my entire trip, Starbucks. I was in need of free Wi-Fi so I could check in for my flight and my hostel didn't have Wi-Fi so I didn't feel guilty. After Starbucks I walked to the Louvre. As I was standing in line to get in, I was struck at the number of parents that stood in line and let their kids just run wild in the massive courtyard. It was really quite shocking. I finally got into the museum and using my Rick Steves App, toured the museum. I got to see the major pieces that the Louvre is known for like Winged Victory, The Mona Lisa, and The Wedding Feast at Cana along with many, many, many other pieces of art. I also made sure to see the rooms of the former Kings and those of Napoleon who was just as bad as the Kings that had ruled France before him. The dining room for Napoleon was definitely fit for a king and was really just beautiful and magnificent. After about 2.5 to 3 hours inside the Louvre, I was museumed out so I decided to leave and go grab dinner. For my last meal in Paris, I ate at a bar down from my hostel and had a cheeseburger, fries and a beer. It was so American, but was so good that I have no regrets about it.

Overall I really enjoyed Paris. The city has so much to offer and I felt like I saw loads of places, but also realize that I really only saw a fraction of the city. I will definitely be going back someday and hopefully I will have someone to go with because my one complaint, dinner in Paris alone is not that fun.


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