This arcticle is going to be about my latest trip to Paris on november 2013. It was pretty amazing!
The first interesting thing I should talk about is probably the means of transport I used to get there. One-way coach ticket, departing at 10.30pm (UK time) from Victoria station, arriving at Paris Gallieni the following day at 7.30am (GMT+1). Those uncomfortable seats plus the “not newest” vehicle I’ve evere seen, actually prevented me from even the tiniest form of rest. I literally felt the burden of the lack of sleep for the two following days. It was a new experience anyways, so I don’t regret it.
One thing I didn’t understand is why there are still so strict border controls in between two european countries!! I mean, in Italy my home is not far away from Austria, and over there you can basically pass through the border as much as you want, without any kind of problem. By the way I should also say that the british police tends to be more severe and effective from this point of view.
With that said, let’s get back to the story. I had to buy a subway ticket, so I just looked for a ticket office or some underground employee in order to get informations. Well, the first impact with french people… Let’s say… Not properly the best. Basically no one spoke english there (at least that morning), and even if someone could understand something, they just pretended they didn’t, or even worse answered me in french. That was so annoying, but eventually I sorted it out and got to Châtelet station, where I finally met a friend of mine who was waiting for me there.
I’ve rarely been to big cities in my life (other than London of course!), so my default mindset for big urban areas is mostly based on my living experience in the capital of United Kingdom. There are several things that immediately came up to my mind.
Even if Paris is quite extended, it actually felt kind of tiny if compared to London. The city centre looks ancient and there are lots of little streets and boulevards sorrounded by nice cafes and typical bars. That was cool.
Prices are insanely high by the way, expecially if you are a penniless young guy. One pint is about 7 euros… Four days of stay costed me about 400 euros, and I was sleeping at my friend’s place so I didn’t have to pay for accomodation. That’s completely messed up!
On the other side, the panoramic views are really cool; there’s a tube stop (Trocadero) from which you can literally see the Tour Eiffel in front of you while staying on a marble (probably concrete more than marble… :P) nice terrace. The above picture was actually taken from that particular spot.
The landmark tower stands 324 metres tall, and I also learned it was designed and built by Gustave Eiffel in 1889 (well, probably he didn’t build it. Maybe his emplyees did).
Let me tell you something about the Louvre museum. The nice thing is that if you are under 25 you can visit it for free, I really appreciated that.
It is absolutely massive… I stayed there for about four hours and I couldn’t even see a third of all the exibition halls. I can say it is the biggest touristic building I’ve ever seen in my life. Among all sculptures, protraits, ancient objects and findings I would say that my favourite was definitely the “Psyche and Cupid” by Antonio Canova.
I didn’t have enough time to see everything properly at Louvre; this made me a bit disappointed, so I decided I’ll go back to Paris one day in the future in order to accurately visit it again.
Drastically changing topic, public transportation is definitely cheaper in Paris than London. One thing I noticed and pissed me off (a little bit) is that even if the ticket prices are cheaper, lots of people enter the “metropolitain” without paying for their journey. In UK I always pay my tickets. Everyone does. When you are always used to pay for the services you get (and used to see everyone else doing the same), you start thinking like you are part of a community aimed to the best shared benefit out of every public activity. That’s what happened to me at least, it should be normal I think…
In the parisian underground stations there are sleeping clochards (homeless) everywhere, weird smells and this thing about “not paying if possible”. This uncivilized habit reminded me a lot about the lovely Country where I come from…
The nice thing about Paris subway by the way is that there’s network coverage for mobile basically everywhere; the reason for this is that the tube runs only one floor downstairs so there’s not enough ground in between to stop the signal.
Anyway, I realized this arcitcle is getting longer than expected, so I will write the next part in a new post. I will talk about french girls and the impressions about people in general, about the magic of eurostar train Paris to London, other visited places and many things more.
For this reason I highly recommend you to find out more here! 🙂
Talk to you soon, bye!