From Freiburg we made the journey to the City of Lights – Paris!
I had been warned beforehand to not have unrealistic expectations about Paris. No city can ever live up to the way it’s portrayed in the movies, and Paris has to be one of the most over-hyped cities in the world. So I tried to arrive with an open mind and not expecting too much. Maybe it’s because of this that it did wind up being one of my favourite cities that we visited on this trip.
To be honest, there are a lot of reasons to dislike Paris. It’s a big busy city so people will push past you on the train, on the footpath. The major spots was overflowing with tourists, even in the midst of winter whilst we were there, and a visit to any major attraction required an hour or more in line. Opportunistic pick-pockets and scammers follow the tourists like vultures (thankfully we didn’t fall victim). Everybody has to cash on Paris – I found the gigantic Apple billboard taking up most of one side of the Place des Vosges a bit over the top. But on the other hand: Paris more than lives up to its reputation of beauty. The locals were very patient with my few words of (badly pronounced) French. The pastries were amazing enough to deserve a post all of their own. The Louvre alone is worth a visit to Paris. We spent nine days in the city, but I’m convinced that no amount of time will ever be enough.
On our first full day we met up with our somewhat nomadic friend P and did the Paris walking tour. From our apartment just a bit east of Notre Dame we pretty much followed the Seine River past famous bridges, through the Tuileries gardens, past the Louvre and along the Champs Élysées. We were treated to a cold but stunningly beautiful and sunny day, apparently unusual for that time of year. Tourists and Parisians alike were making the most of the weather, soaking up the rays around the gardens.
Plenty more photos of Paris to come!