An American in Paris! (Part 6)


Now, you might be wondering: why did The Finicky Cynic visit Paris? Especially since she had written a post on the 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Visit Paris? Very, very strange…

All right, all right. You got me there. 😛

…but seriously, here was the deal:

Originally, I had planned to stay in Marseille for three nights, but eventually cut it down to two, due to that 1) I had a not-so-wonderful experience Couchsurfing, and struggling to find Couchsurfers in the otherwise massive city, 2) the hostel that I stayed in, while amazing, would have added up quickly, in terms of costs- as a result, I only stayed one night, and 3) after booking myself throughout the city, as well as a day at the *absolutely gorgeous* calanques, I was pretty much finished seeing what there was to see in Marseille; there was no point for me to stay an extra night.

Therefore, I changed the time of my bus ticket to return to Paris, and so I left at night, taking an overnight bus back to Paris: I had planned to just spend the day wandering around the place, before catching my train back to Normandy in the late afternoon.

Didn’t sleep too much on the bus, unfortunately, but once the bus arrived in Paris around 8h00 the next morning, I was up and running. Even though it was my third time properly visiting the city, there were still a good number of places that I haven’t been to, and so I used that day to see them.

Started off at the Père Lachaise Cemetery; it is interesting, because the last time I was visiting Paris (back in September), the Airbnb that my family and I stayed at was very close to the cemetery, but we never got around to going! This time, I had the opportunity, and so I spent the first half of the morning walking through the tombstones (creepy, I know) of many famous figures, including painter Eugène Delacroix, pianist composer Frédéric Chopin, and the Doors’ singer Jim Morrison (whose grave is one of the most visited, as well as the most decorated!).

Frédéric Chopin's grave.
Frédéric Chopin’s grave.
Molière and la Fontaine's graves.
Molière and la Fontaine’s graves.
Jim Morrison's grave; even the gate is colorful!
Jim Morrison’s grave; even the gate is colorful!

Sadly, I couldn’t get around to all of the graves (would have liked to visit those of Edith Piaf’s, Oscar Wilde’s, and Honoré de Balzac’s), but I wanted to get to other places in the city, so I left and went over to Shakespeare and Company for the second half of the morning.

Now, the first time that I had ever visited Paris (for a study abroad program at my university), I had gone to Shakespeare and Company as a class field trip, but didn’t go inside, as it was only a general tour around the Latin Quarter. This time around, I went inside, and ended up spending a good amount of time wandering through the small bookstore. Ended up purchasing a book and a branded journal (overpriced, but souvenirs nonetheless!) before leaving the shop. Quite happy about my purchases, though! 🙂

Outside of the bookstore.
Outside of the bookstore.

Just before noon, I paid a visit to the Saint-Chapelle, a royal Gothic chapel that is famous for its 360-degree stained-glass room. Despite the expensive nine euros to get in, the Saint-Chapelle has got to be one of the highlights of my time in Paris…ever! Really, the place is a gem, located in an otherwise unassuming chapel in the heart of the city. So glad that I went. ❤

The Saint-Chapelle. Incredible~~
The Saint-Chapelle. Incredible~~

Afterwards, I had a small lunch break at a nearby boulangerie-café shop before heading back out and to the Luxembourg Garden. Like with Shakespeare and Company, I had been to the garden before during my first visit to Paris; I also went on a class field trip there, but we only briefly passed through it. That day, I took a short stroll, remembering certain spots like the Senate building and this antique scale that one could weigh oneself on.

Luxembourg Garden.
Luxembourg Garden.

Left the garden, and headed over to the Eiffel Tower (again, overrated, but still the highlight of Paris). Passed by the Invalides before reaching the towering metal structure that, even on a grey Monday in March, still had people in line to go up!

Back again at the Eiffel Tower!
Back again at the Eiffel Tower!

I had already been up the Eiffel Tower twice before, and so I didn’t have a desire to go back up again; I just walked under it, and took a stroll along the Seine over to the Musée de l’Orangerie, a museum near the Tuileries Gardens and Place de la Concorde. I had never been to this museum, and didn’t even know about it until a few days before! It was a shame, because the museum housed a solid collection of paintings from some of my favorite artists: Monet, Cézanne, Renoir, Matisse, and Modigliani.

Any case, I visited the Musée de l’Orangerie; it was small, and I was able to get through everything in about an hour. Nevertheless, the museum still had a pretty extensive amount of artwork- and of ones that I enjoy! 🙂

By that time, I was ready to head over to Gare Saint-Lazare, in order to catch my train back to Normandy. Walked over from the museum, passing by Place de la Madeleine in the process. Hung around the train station for about an hour, grabbing an early dinner at the boulangerie stands located inside the station, and caught my train at 17h30. Arrived back in Normandy around 19h15, got a ride back to town from one of my colleagues, and was finally back in the comforts of my flat by 19h30. Ahhh…it was so good to be back…

…not to say that I didn’t enjoy traveling- I did. But after being out of town for over a week, I was in need of some stability, instead of having to move around like a nomad from city to city every other day. The south of France was pretty nice, although I had wished for more sun throughout the time I was there (it had been cold, grey, even rainy during the first half of the week; it didn’t get sunny and warm until later in the week). Montpellier and Marseille were cool, very “city” while all of the smaller towns that I visited (Nîmes, Arles, Avignon, Aix-en-Provence) were cute, but really didn’t need more than a day in each.

As for Paris, it was interesting this time around: at first, I had mixed feelings about returning and properly visiting, especially since I had already been there twice (and many more if you count me passing through for other cities) and had experienced pretty much the main attractions, both the good and the bad. The magic was lost on me, and I thought that I was done with Paris.

But the city surprised me by having more than what I had originally expected; in other words, I saw places that I hadn’t been to before (Père Lachaise, Saint-Chapelle), as well as experienced previously-visited places, but in more depth (Shakespeare and Company, Luxembourg Garden). Somehow, through that one day spent in Paris, the magic sort of came back, and I was ready to give the city another chance. Perhaps I will choose to return later, to find more places unexplored and rewarding.

All right, that’s it for me! I promise you more travel posts to come soon; take care! 🙂

— The Finicky Cynic

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10 thoughts on “An American in Paris! (Part 6)

  1. Emily93

    Paris surprised me when I visited last year. I went on a trip there years ago and didn’t like it but it actually does have a lot to offer and I think is a lovely city! Lovely blog post

    1. rebbit7

      Thank you! Yes, I think one visit isn’t enough to make a good judgment on the city; a second, even a third visit, offers a more holistic experience while being there. Then again, one can’t ever “exhaust” Paris, as there’s so much to see! Good thoughts. 🙂

    1. rebbit7

      Yes, it’s only a four-hour train ride from Zurich. While not perfect, Paris is definitely a place that one should visit in one’s lifetime!

  2. Thank you, thank you for sharing your visit to Paris. I will never forget Chopin’s grave. It was so touching. They seemed to have cleaned up Jim Morrison’s grave. When we were there, many years ago, it was a mess with the cement slab moved to the side as if to free his soul. Oh and the Shakespeare Book Store, we spent many an hour browsing through the old books there.

    1. rebbit7

      You’re very, very welcome! Indeed, the Père Lachaise cemetery is an incredible place, with so many famous people whom I admire and respect. And I agree that one can spend hours in Shakespeare and Company; even though it’s small, it’s packed with all sorts of books! Glad that you find Paris a wonderful city to visit. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Destination: Paris, France – The Finicky Cynic

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