“A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of Life.”
― Thomas Jefferson
The next morning we get up just in time for the free breakfast our hostel offers: croissants, bread rolls, cereals, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, hot milk, orange juice, butter and jam. I’m spoilt for life. I will never be satisfied by a hostel breakfast again.
We get ready and start exploring the city. In the beautiful Jardin du Luxembourg we stop using a map and simply walk along whatever street seems interesting. We make our way to the Seine, walk over the bridge with all the lovers’ locks and accidentally end up in front of a huge building. Driven by curiosity we cross the open space in front of it, enter an inner courtyard, walk through another archway and there we are, facing the pyramid of the Louvre.
Speechless by this accidental success we wander around gazing at the composition of impressive buildings, ponds, fountains and the glass pyramid. A few minutes later we meet our friend at the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, which is only about half the size of the big famous one. We walk through the Jardin des Tuileries getting lessons on the artworks spread across.
At the end of the Champs-Élysées we get off the métro and see the big famous Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile right in front of us. In order to get close and to make sure not to get hit by a car on the scariest roundabout in the world, we take the underbridge. Under the Arc, there is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (La tombe du soldat inconnu). A flame is burning 24/7 to remind people of the unidentified soldiers who died during the war.
Sightseeing makes for hungry travelers. After some searching and comparing, we end up at a restaurant in the Châtelet area close to the Île de la Cité. Afterwards we get to see some really cool and crazy art around Centre Pompidou.
Not having come to Paris for shopping (seriously, there are so many better things to do!) we are probably part of a tiny tiny minority. A relaxed alternative to running around designer stores and buying ridiculously expensive clothes is going to the Eiffel Tower an hour before sunset, get a Crêpe, find a good spot from where you can see the Tower and surround yourself with great people. Another French friend of ours who happens to be in Paris at the same time – we had also met in Australia, about a year ago – joins us there for a while.
I had read that the tower lights up in the night, plus, our Parisian friend had promised us a spectacular light show, so I am watching with excitement how the sky darkens. Finally it is dark enough and the Eiffel Tower lights up in all its glory. When the clock announces the next full hour, it literally goes crazy with small lights twinkling like billions of stars all over the framework. I am so overwhelmed by the fact that I am in Paris, (in PARIS!), and that I am given the chance to witness this. A few seconds later I have to think about how disturbing it must be to watch this light show while being on some kind of mind altering drugs.
Even though we are tired from all the walking and exploring, the night is not finished yet. Since the three of us met in Australia, what is more adequate than partying in an Australian bar?