Thursday, January 6, 2011

Recent adventures: Paris

It's been a while since I blogged!  Well, since I blogged here anyway.  I've been writing a travel blog with Charles about all our adventures.  Link here.  It's also the blog we used for both of our Japan trips.


Paris


We did so much stuff in Paris!  All the things you're supposed to do, we did.  Plus lots of other things while we were at it!  Mostly we visited museums: the Pompidou Centre, the Louvre, L'Orangerie, Palais du Tokyo, Arts et Metres, Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain, Musee des Arts Decoratifs, and a Dali museum.  That's a lot of museums!  Luckily we had a 3-day museum pass which let us get into lots of places for free!  


Lots of these museums are stupidly huge and contained vast amounts of stuff.  All the stuff is really cool, but it gets a bit tedious to go through the umpteenth hall of contemporary art that doesn't make any sense.  We could easily have spent many more hours at these museums except we got bored of them.  An exception was l'Orangerie, which is only two small rooms, with four paintings in each, of Monet's Waterlillies.  There are benches in the middle of the room so you can relax as you view them.  It's really nice.


We also did lots of cool stuff that wasn't museum-related.  Charles and I went to a morning service at Notre Dame on Christmas Day.  That sounds pretty good doesn't it!  The choir and organ was great, but the rest of the service... well, it was long, and in French.  So it was a bit (boring).  Our Christmas lunch was at ... McDonald's!  It was the only place we could find that was open.  A bit sad.


We went to Baby, The Stars Shine Bright.  I almost bought a dress - the Vampire Forest A-line jumperskirt.  It was really pretty, but also... it had pictures of graves and scary stuff on the print, and I thought "I couldn't wear this to church!" and then I thought "I couldn't wear this anywhere!  It's not really my style!" and then I shook of the Baby-induced crazy and left the shop.  It was fun to visit though!


We also went to a loli-fairy-kei shop called Boddywood, which sold a lot of Milk dresses (which were gorgeous) and Vivienne Westwood stuff (which was gorgeous and expensive) and some 6% Doki Doki stuff (which was super cute).  Angelic Pretty was in the apartment above the shop, and the shop girl from Boddywood had to come with us to visit.  So there we were, me, Lisa, Charles, and this shop girl in a TINY PINK ROOM with HUGE DRESSES.  There was no music.  There was no speaking.  It was the most awkward thing in the universe.


Food in Paris was really good, and reasonably priced.  The most delicious and cheapest way to eat (in my opinion) is to buy a delicious baguette, some camembert cheese, some prosciutto, and some sundried tomatoes and make sandwiches.  They're like normal ham, cheese and tomato sandwiches, except each ingredient has levelled up to make the sandwich super awesome.  Charles and I did this for dinner many times.  But the best thing was breakfast: go into any bakery and order anything and it will be delicious.  We found a place that does toasted ham and cheese croissants, oh my gosh, they sound so NORMAL when I write it like that.  It was ridiculous.


Shopping in Paris wasn't quite as fun as I expected.  The department stores like and Printemps and LaFayette were just really expensive designer brands - a whole floor consisting of ONLY haute couture by big brands - Louis Vuitton, Dior, Prada, Gucci, etc.  It's fun to browse, but then you see someone with eight Dior packages and just KNOW that that person just spent more money than you'd earn in years.  I suppose because they have so many designer shops, Paris is renowned for its fashion.  I didn't notice much crazy or special fashion on the streets, but I guess it's hard to be fashionable when you have to wear one billion layers and a huge coat.


However, Paris (and many countries in Europe) have some cool Japanese shops that we love: Muji, and UniQlo.  Muji sells homewares and clothes, and UniQlo sells pretty basic clothes.  They're relatively cheap compared to other French shopping.  I bought some good things from those shops, which I'll blog about later.  We found these shops by accident walking around the streets.  The best way to explore Paris is by going to a cool-looking place on the metro and just exploring by foot.  Go down side-streets that look interesting!


Weather: super cold oh my gosh.  It's a different cold from Sweden, because it's wet in France.  It gets into your bones.  If you're going in Winter, take waterproof boots and lots of thermals.  When the sun goes down, it gets way colder too, so always take an extra jumper.  I acquired myself a cold in Paris somehow, probably because I was too cold too often.  Be warned!


Crime: Apparently there's lots of theft in Paris!  We witnessed something of the sort in McDonald's on Christmas Day, some youths causing trouble and running away with stuff.  Lisa told me lots of horror stories about her friends getting stuff stolen, and apparently she saw some boys on the train going through a woman's purse that they'd just stolen!  So if you go there, be careful, use a bag you can put over your shoulder and zip up, not a backpack that you can't see.  Small bags are easier to snatch and are more likely to contain a higher density of valuables, so I'd recommend a bigger tote.  That way you can take an extra jumper too.


There are many homeless people on the streets in Paris.  They usually beg.  This upsets me a lot.  Often they have a dog that's just lying there, looking like it's been fed whiskey to make it look more pathetic.  Apparently there's quite a good social support system in France, so I don't know why there's so much poverty.  It was sad.


We took the metro everywhere in Paris.  It's really convenient and quick, and you get to know the stations well.  Some stations are smelly though.  Actually lots of Paris is smelly.  Lots of dog poop.


So Paris: Pretty good, you guys!  I highly recommend it.

1 comment:

  1. It seems that you had the most amazing adventure. I'm surprised about the crime, although the movie Taken that show the shady side of Paris. UniQlo is amazing - I bought two shirts that cost my $24 together and they are really high quality. It is good that Milk combined heads with UniQlo.

    I'm not all surprised about the length of the Notre Dame service. Christmas Catholic services are notorious for being lengthy. We went to one in Pretoria (my mom likes to go because of the beautiful glass windows) and it was three hours long.

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