Really, it’s crazy to believe that I’ve been in France for almost two months, and I’ve yet to recount my time in detail since living here. While I have yet to go on an actual trip (namely, because I’m a bit tight on money now), I can at least recount some of the places I went to when I first arrived here.
That said, when it came to arriving in France from the United States, I had to go through Paris first, since there are no direct flights to Lyon (where I’m living closer to). Considering that I was getting in towards the evening, it was better for me to stay a night in Paris before heading out to the Lyon region the following day. With that said, I booked a night at a hostel and headed there as soon as I got off the plane and through customs. I took the RER B into the city center, went over to my hostel, checked in, and got settled into the 10-bed all-female room, with a not-too-shabby view from the window.
After getting settled in, I decided to head down to the hostel’s bar and restaurant for some food, since it was around dinnertime and I was starving. There happened to be a sort of “happy hour” going on, with free, unlimited refills on some vodka punch– in a way, it was more of a “social hour” than anything, and I decided to join in. I got my *free* drink and started mingling with the other hostel-goers, getting to know a handful of them from the United States, Australia, and even Poland. We ended up hanging out that evening in the hostel bar and restaurant, getting other drinks (beers that came with a complimentary shot) and just chatting about our travel plans and different cultures. I also got dinner there, albeit overpriced for a couscous wrap, but otherwise, it was something to fill up my empty stomach with.
At a certain point, some of the hostel-goers decided to head out to the Eiffel Tower, checking out the lights at night and drinking together. While I wanted to go, I knew that it was better to stay in, rest, and prepare for the journey that I would be taking the next day– in other words, I had to be well-rested, so I politely declined the offer, and we amicably parted ways. Exhausted, I returned to my room where I did a few errands (e.g. reactivating my French SIM, messaging my family to let them know I arrived safely) before turning in for the night.
My train to the Lyon region wasn’t until noon the next day, but all the same, I woke up around 8:00, got the complimentary breakfast in the hostel, and thought of exploring the nearby surroundings briefly before having to check out and head to the train station. I discovered that the Canal Saint-Martin was not too far away and, since I’d been meaning to check it out from a blogger’s recommendation, I decided to head over while I still had the chance.
Unfortunately, weather wasn’t good that day– it started pouring as I walked over to the canal, getting a bit lost in the process. Thankfully, I’d brought my umbrella with me, even though I did get a bit wet as I trudged along the streets towards the riverbank. I stumbled upon a small, lovely garden called the Jardin Villemin, and I took a quick stroll through it. Eventually, I came across the Canal Saint-Martin and, despite the dreary rain, it still looked lovely with its sinuous waters flowing under the bridges. I can imagine that it’s even more gorgeous when it’s sunny out; I’d like to revisit it when the weather’s better!
Afterwards, that was pretty much it for my exploration of Paris, since I had to check out of the hostel and make it over to the gare to catch my train around noon. I handed over my room key at the hostel, took the metro over to the train station, and from there boarded my train towards Lyon, thereby leaving Paris for good.
While my time in Paris this time was very brief, I’m glad that I got to make at least a small dent in places that I’d wanted to visit. Namely, the Canal Saint-Martin had been on my list and, in spite of the rain, I’m glad to have had the opportunity and time to take a look at it. Although I live further away from Paris this year, thus having less of a chance of going there often, I hope to head back at least a couple of times this year, whether in passing or for a proper stay. There are so many things that I’ve yet want to see there, from museums to landmarks to restaurants, so here’s hoping that I can do so!
Thanks for reading– until later!
— The Finicky Cynic
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