Since this was my second time going to Paris, and as Asha had already been there a week, I didn’t expect to do a lot of touristy things. Like the pretentious douche I am, I imagined us lounging around cafés being so very Parisian and local – minus the cigarettes and fluent French. As it was, on our first day we knocked off a chunk of tourist attractions. We ran around the city, starting at l’Arc de Triomphe we made our way down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, then stopped for disgustingly delicious – and, really, not too overpriced – macarons and café crèmes. We weren’t expecting them to be anything special either, but dear lord, were they ever scrumptious. I got rose petal and chocolate coconut flavoured, while Asha sampled the raspberry and mint (the latter chosen because it’s her favourite colour), before taking a sit and stroll around the Tuileries Garden.
That’s something I really enjoy about Paris (actually Europe in general, I’m noticing): how many lovely public spaces there are. There are so many gardens with benches that encourage you to sit for a moment, chat with one of your best friends, and soak up the greenery and fountains. It’s one of the best ways to enjoy a city. At least, that’s the approach we take.
After loitering in two different sections in the gardens, we took the obligatory photos with the outside pyramid of the Louvre (Asha is still thoroughly unimpressed that it doesn’t line up with the underground pyramid) and followed the Seine down to one of the bridges with the padlocks or, as I so lovingly call it, the Barnacle Bridge (from the overwhelming amount of padlocks. Can we all agree that it looks like an overpopulated barnacle apartment complex?). We took a few pictures, I remarked how gross and barnacle-y the bridge is, and Asha came up with the best idea of the trip, which was to write our names on a blank padlock. We had joked before about buying a lock for the bridge, but as two frugal travelling young hooligans, this really was a much better and more hilarious option.
We went to Notre Dame to try to find Quasimodo (we’re definitely the only people who have ever made that joke), yelling ‘SANCTUARY’ and singing ‘the bells of Noootreee DAAAAAME’ as we lazed around the square in front of the church, before crossing another Barnacle Bridge, jacking another couple-in-love’s lock (even funnier the second time around), and making our way to the Shakespeare and Company book shop. It was one of those places that I wasn’t exactly sure why I needed to go, but everyone said to see it and I love a good English bookshop in a French-speaking city as much as the next gal so why not, eh? We browsed but didn’t buy (see again, frugal travelling young hooligans) and set off to find Berthillon, a luxury ice cream and sorbet shop. To our deepest horror, we found the shop to be closed on Wednesdays. After grumbling about the illogicalness of being closed on a Wednesday, we turned around, walked across the street and, what do you know, found a different shop selling the same brand of ice cream. And then we kept walking and found about three more shops selling it to. So apparently it was no big deal that we missed the main store. (That’s what I’m telling myself, please don’t say anything if you know better.)
Next, we tried an outdoor public toilet (successful experience, not much more to say) before making our way over to the Eiffel Tower. We craned our necks to take in its grandeur and decided not to mount it this time. (I still never have. Maybe never will? Maybe I’ll make that my thing. Or maybe next time I’ll just give myself enough time to do so.) More picture taking with Parisian monuments the way real couples do and tried waiting around for it to light up before deciding to call it a night. Meaning that we bought McNuggets, watched Anastasia, and gathered new material for future inside jokes.
Visiting a new city is great fun, for sure, but what makes it really special is doing it with a dear friend. Someone who is just as happy running around to take pictures with all of the tourist sites as she is curling up and sampling the local McNuggz.
‘Wow. I tell you what, wow.’
Next post: Asha and I take on Versailles, sit on more benches, devour more food, and more more! (Well, not really too much more, to be honest. But maybe you’ll be interested anyway.)