Sophisticated, arrogant, beautiful, dirty, romantic… There are a lot of words people use to describe one of the most famous cities in the world and it really is a complex mix of all of them. To be honest it has never been a must see for me. I never really saw the beauty in the Eiffel Tower. But I have to admit I was excited to catch the bus from Amsterdam to Paris: I was going to one of the grandest cities on earth to see one of the top travel icons. To be honest, it actually really did impress me, I liked Paris. So much so that we extended our stay beyond the four initial days because there was so much to see.
After studying the French Revolution, I enjoyed seeing everything I’d read about in person. Rather than rushing to see the Eiffel Tower, I was more eager to see the Pantheon where Rousseau and Voltaire are buried. Weird, I know.
In fact, it took me four days in Paris before I made the trip to see the tower. I’d seen parts of it from different angles all around the city. I saw the top of it from the streets surrounding the Pantheon, I saw it in the distance from the Notre Dame and I drove passed the base of it on the bus but I still finally made the effort to join the crowds at the Champ de Mars to stare up at it in it’s full size. I was neither overly amazed nor disappointed. It was a nice tower but I’d seen thousands of photos of it before and even miniature versions in the form of thousands of key chains being sold for one euro around the city. But the obsessive traveller in me still thought, ‘good, I’ve seen it in now’.
Of course the architecture was beautiful, the traditional Parisian buildings lining the streets, magnificent museums and stunning churches and palaces. The museums even demanded photos from the outside they were housed in such beautiful buildings. However, we also spent countless hours inside the museums gazing at incredible oil paintings, ancient sculptures and artefacts from around the world. Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, da Vinci, even if you’re not really into art it was pretty amazing to see the paintings by these famous people. Although we were a little shocked to be elbowed out of the way as the race for the Mona Lisa began as soon as the doors were open at the Lourve. I ended up taking pictures of people taking pictures of the famous painting because I was so amazed to see how much attention this one painting got for not much in return.
Being there at the height of summer and tourism season was not the smartest idea. It was boiling hot, there were tourists everywhere, which meant hours spent sweating in queues. There were selfie sticks hitting you in the head and getting in your photos and it was damn expensive, but somehow all worth it.
*post adapted from my trip here in July 2017 and from my previous site elishasbigtrip.wordpress.com