I’ve been to Paris a few times before, and done all the wonderfully touristy things that there are to do there. I’ve visited the Eiffel Tour, the Louvre, Luxembourg Gardens, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, millions of museums, churches and monuments. I really love the city.
But the beauty of the city is in being able to explore it. And that is largely dependent on the weather. It’s not so much fun to walk for hours when it is cold and rainy!
We lucked out when we went into the city the other day with some of our teachers for a ‘sortie’. It had been grey and threatening all morning, but as we got to Notre Dame the sun came out. It was a gorgeous, if cold day. We toured the Quartier Latin, which I have to admit isn’t the most exciting area as far as tourist sites go. We did get to see the should-be-famous ‘Indiana Grill’, which apparently serves superb Tex-Mex food. Who knew Indiana was so close to Texas or Mexico? Not me. We also visited the Sorbonne, where the students were staging a serious 80s revival in the main square. Leg warmers, tight pants and leggings galore, and dancing around to ‘Fame’ and ‘Sweet Dreams’. Not what I would have expected from this revered institution.
Yesterday I really wanted to visit Montmarte, a quarter in the North of the city that is where all of the (somewhat crazy) writers and artists hung out until right after WWI. It’s also where the Moulin Rouge is, in the seedy Pigalle area, and where one of my favorite movies ever was filmed, ‘Amelie’. I should have known that it would be touristy! Montmarte is at the North end of the city, and is basically one huge hill. At the top is the Sacre Coeur, which is an absolutely amazing basilica. I was pretty awestruck (or maybe it was just that I was so out of breath just from climbing the steps!). I was determined to try and catch a little of the Bohemian ambience, so I walked all over the town. I did have a lot of fun, but basically ended up soaking wet and chilled. I’ll have to trek back someday when the weather is a bit nicer…