Travel

paris • travel diary (day 1 of 7)

On the morning of Wednesday the 5th of April, my family and I went on our spraaaaaang break vacation to – PARIS!!! Like all cliché impressionist art/Madewell/baguette-loving women out there, I am hopelessly enamored with Paris/France. A Parisian could sneer at my favorite shoes and I might think something like, “Oh wow, merci beaucoup for noticing little ol’ me!” Anyway, this is the start of what will be an 8-part photo diary of our 8 days in the city of love/light/ladies in the Cool Parisian Girl uniform of striped shirts and leather jackets. (+ cigarettes, which aren’t so cool because, you know, lung cancer.)

Day 1 was our train ride to Paris from London, followed by the Musée National du Moyen Âge/National Museum of the Middle Ages and the Pantheon! Also some, uh, fine French cuisine in the form of McDonald’s, because that is what you get to eat when you let your 14-year-old brother decide what’s for lunch. Insert eyeroll emoji here.

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the bb brudder and I sleeping on the train

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Our Eurostar train left London at, like, 7AM, meaning we left the house at 4-ish. My dad and I are both kinda nervous travelers, in that we like to get to the airport at least 3 hours early because we’d rather sit in the waiting area than have even the slightest chance of missing a flight. This morning, my dad practically pushed us to the bus stop, and we ended up waiting in the cold dreary air for maybe half an hour until we could get on the bus. I was not amused, but that annoyance pretty much vanished upon arriving at Gare du Nord and seeing a public piano being played by a random dude waiting for his train, though. France!! You have pianos in train stations!!!

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Our Airbnb was in Le Marais, so after some struggling with a ticket machine we gave up on technology and headed to the ticket desk, where we managed to buy a carnet of 10 tickets to get there. The last time I was in France was maybe five years ago, on a high school exchange program, and my already shoddy French ‘skills’ have further deteriorated, so it was quite impressive for me to remember what ‘carnet’ and ‘billet’ meant, haha. I am, as I mentioned before, a pretty nervous traveler, though, so in the rush of getting on/off the subway I rolled my suitcase over, like, 6 people’s feet. I feel like that emoji of the monkey covering its eyes, only not cute and bashfully smiling but significantly more ashamed of myself. @InnocentParisiansWhomIRolledMyCarryOnOver I am sorry!!

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Our Airbnb host left a bottle of wine for us! It was such a nice touch and a lovely ‘welcome to home base’ gift. 🙂

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After dropping off our bags, resting, and marveling over the Nespresso coffeemaker (no one in my family is particularly into coffee, especially me, so my knowledge of coffee-making doesn’t go beyond beans + water = somehow many different types of coffee now exist) which had a bunch of little K-Cup pods in different flavors, we set out for our first Parisian adventure!

The adventure was to find McDonald’s. A bajillion exasperated Mugsy the Facebook pug stickers go here. The idea of McDonald’s in other countries never fails to amaze me, because they’re all supposed to have their own specialized items, tailored to the interests and food habits of that country. So, France had a Croque McDo, which as far as I could tell from the picture, was kind of like a Croque Monsieur but with pancakes?? I have no idea, and we never got around to trying it. We did try that weird triangle-shaped thing in the picture above though, albeit accidentally – we thought it was apple juice in a funky looking juice box, but it turned out to be more like a drier apple sauce.

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I have no idea what the function of these lions spouting water from their mouths is. My top three guesses: public water fountain (gross), flushing toilets (grosser), to create rainbows on the ground when the sun is shining (wasteful). Having my cats in the place of these anonymous lions would be great, though.

Assorted finds spotted in store windows – I want them all for my #dream house, and, in the case of the cats, personalized, so they look like my cats!

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A reminder spotted on a bridge crossing the Seine. It’s kind of lovely and heartbreaking all at once to think of someone taking the time to write this and stick it here for others to find. What sadness did they go through to want to send this note out into the universe? I hope they’re OK/better now. (And I hope I’m OK/better after any heartbreaks I’ll experience, too.)

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Our first stop was the National Museum of the Middle Ages, which was, well, exactly what it sounds like. Lots of tapestries and stained glass windows about apostles.

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This was from a piece called The Lady and the Unicorn (or La Dame à la licorne in French), and it’s six tapestries, five of them which most art historians agree are meant to represent the five senses (touch, taste, smell, sight, sound). The sixth one is a ~mystery~*, and is maybe supposed to represent a sixth sense to do with the heart or mind or soul or something like that. I thought it was a really cool concept, and I’m not hugely into medieval timey art. (Mainly because I don’t really understand any of it or find it particularly aesthetically appealing lol.) Also cute bunnies!

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Ceci n’est pas un smoker?

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These plants were so green! This photo is just brightened a little bit, but the saturation and vibrancy isn’t turned up at all. How tf are they so green?! What is in the Parisian water!?

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We walked to the Panthéon (I’m not sure if I can just say “the Pantheon” or if I have to put in that accent it has in French, but I’ll play it safe) after that museum, and were all like 😮  at the architecture. This was the first in a long line of “😮 ” moments to come.

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Foucault’s Pendulum! I sound very excited, and I am quite excited, but to be real I don’t entirely understand how this proves the rotation of the earth. Part of this is down to me being impatient and getting distracted every time my dad tries to explain it to me, but how do you expect me to stay interested in a big shiny ball swinging slowly back and forth when there are tapestries of WINGED LIONS hanging on the walls?!

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I was psyched as fuck to realize Paris was warm enough to wear my beloved Birkenstocks again, even if it was with socks most days, which ruined any hope I had of passing as a Cool Parisian Gal myself. Sliding my feet into those sandals after, like, half a year of closed toed shoes felt like coming home. This is not being overdramatic in the slightest.

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“Live free or die” is a good sentiment and all, but is it reaaaaaaally #cool to have statues of white dudes everywhere and glorify them to the moon and the only non-males in the entire space are Saints, personifications of glory/justice/some other unreachable concept, and animals of an unspecified gender/sex? The answer is no. Nope nope no no nope. Get it together, French government. Take all the money you’re not putting into anti-smoking ads and erect some statues of cool French ladies/trans people/POC! (Disclaimer: no clue if the anti-smoking ads thing is actually a thing, but I assume it is because I literally was never in a public space without someone smoking 3 feet away from me.)

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The aforementioned winged lions!!!!!! I love this decor and would like to hire a medieval tapestry maker to make some depicting my two domestic cats perching on top of cardboard boxes. I’d hang them right in the doorway of my dream house, so as soon as anyone enters my home they’d know what’s important in this space.

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And that’s the end of the first day, I think! Or at least my photos from it. Thanks for reading/scrolling/resting your eyeballs on my snapshots, dudes.

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2 thoughts on “paris • travel diary (day 1 of 7)

  1. this is lovely. your signature in this is lovely. “break your heart, find your spine” is gut wrenching and cold water reality and “re-evaluate going back to seeing them, shalom” and lovely.
    paris is lovely, as are you. i hope to find as much wonder as you did when i visit one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • oh man, thank you for this sweet comment. i don’t want to promise the world of paris for when you one day visit, but if ever there were a city that would meet and rise to your expectations – it’s probably paris.

      Liked by 1 person

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