After pulling an all nighter in Lisbon all I wanted upon arriving in the city of love was to sleep. I checked myself into my hostel, went up to my 14 person room, and attempted to pass out for the forceable future. I made friends with my dorm mates who were present and then became very aware that my lofty plans of grabbing a bottle of wine across the street and going to be early were simply not in the cards. Therefore friday night in Paris we rounded up everyone who was interested in going out, and set off.
Our merry band was made up of two Americans, three English girls, two Kiwis and an Aussie. As we walked to the metro in order to reach our destination, I was peppered with questions from the Brits asking about American boys and whether or not college parties were really like they are in the movies, which was rather endearing to be honest. We got off at Blanche and discovered that our clubbing destination for the night was in Montmartre right next to the infamous Moulin Rouge. We danced most of the night and stumbled back to our hostel at 5:30 the next morning.
After sleeping in the next day I wandered out to see the sights! it was a gorgeous day, which I had been informed was a rarity for the week, and I walked down to the Seine. I came upon a large carnival near the Louvre where food was actually affordable, a rarity in Paris, and enjoyed seeing the attractions before moving on. My objective for the day was to visit the D’orsay (I knew that there was no way I’d get through the Louvre) however I got a bit sidetracked because there were some amazing street performers set up at the entrance, so instead of seeing the impressionists I sat and listened to a jazz piano and clarinet duo set fire to the streets.
From there I wandered along the weaving Seine and enjoyed a street fair that had popped up to accompany a film festival. Now Paris is a rather large and sprawling city, so night was falling by the time I walked to the Eiffel Tower which dominates the skyline for miles before you actually come to it. It’s was as large and metallic as I had expected, but it still prompted the ‘Pinch me to let me know that I’m really here’ reflex.
The next day was far gloomier but I dressed warmly and attended the international Mass held at Notre Dam, then went and got yelled at for taking pictures in the D’orsay.
Monday morning was equally bleak as far as the weather goes, but it was the day I had waited for for many years. Back in middle school I was quite the Francophile and always wanted to be in Paris for Bastille Day, which is July 14th. I got up and walked to Montmartre (conveniently located through the Arab district so I was able to get some street Melwi), and climbed the hill to see the panoramic view of Paris. After that I toured the Opera house, which was rather appropriate for me due to the fact that The Phantom of the Opera has been my favorite movie since I was twelve.
Around seven I went to find a place on the Eiffel Tower lawn and watch the fireworks that were not set to commence for several hours. It was a good thing that I went so early because there was scarcely room for one person to sit down. However, I did manage to find a seat and promptly made friends with some American girls who were sitting nearby. The fireworks were spectacular, utilizing the tower itself in the show and blasting both patriotic anthems and John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ in what is arguably the most diverse firework show I have ever witnessed. I honestly couldn’t imagine a better last night in Europe.