Today we say “Bonjour Paris”.
Despite missing some luggage, our first day in Paris started well. Thankfully the two girls whose baggage was lost were much smarter than I was and packed at least a day of clothes and some toiletries. Had it been me, I would have been wandering 20-degree Paris weather in all my heaviest and biggest clothes (which I wore on the plane to avoid forcing them into my suitcase)…
Paris is full of museums, with over 60 in total! I’m not a huge fan of spending several days in numerous museums, but found that with the assortment of options, certain museums quickly became intriguing. I figured this one was a must, after Amy walked by and asked what this building was that was “under construction”:
Which was funny, because that’s just how Center Pompidou looks.
The building was purposefully constructed to show its skeleton on the outside: including pipes, ducts, and other mechanical elements. Inside, the building is prettier, with a library and several galleries, plus an outdoor/indoor escalator that takes you to the top of the building for views of the surrounding area. We stopped inside to enjoy a bit of modern art and then continued on our way.
This pretty cathedral was a nice little visit, especially with a trip to the top which offered great views of the Paris skyline. The church is renowned for its French Gothic architecture, which includes a multitude of gargoyles positioned in various (sometimes silly) postures. I enjoyed those. I also enjoyed the huge festival of bread that happened to be going on at the plaza in front of the church offering a plethora of freshly baked croissants and baguettes. Yum.
We ended up strolling across the Paris love lock bridge…
Sure the locks are neat (do they affect the weight of the bridge and it’s structure, we pondered?) and are not even attached to the bridge anymore but more to one another, but I couldn’t help but be more distracted and somewhat fascinated by people managing to get locks even to the top of the lamp posts:
Lunch in the Park
No day would be compete without a stop in the park with some snacks and lounging!
Nor would it be complete without an iPad photo (I caught this in action)…
You know my thoughts on that…
And finally, some first impressions of the city:
- I heard a little about the impression that people in Paris/France can be rude… However, we found that an attempt to speak French (despite being quite poor/broken) and a smile go a long way. People from all ages and genders have so far been quite kind, offering help when needed, starting discussions about where we’re from (Denmark apparently), and helping us with restaurant menus. It has been a pleasant experience thus far!
- It’s quite expensive here! (I realize London will be worse). Lunch costs 15-20$ it seems, and everything appears double the cost of home. We’ve been doing a lot of at-home dinners in our apartment and going out for lunch instead of dinner, which has helped us save some dollars.
- In Paris it’s not about finding the beautiful old town or pretty street nearby. Every street seems as beautiful as the last! And the main parts of the city are so walkable that we haven’t needed to use the metro yet.
- People smoke a ton. Meaning there are many cigarette butts to be found on most city streets. It didn’t bother me too much – maybe because the city is otherwise so enchanting – but I’ve heard other visitors scoff at this a little bit.
People are probably just checking you guys out because it’s four pretty girls altogether! And yes, I think the Centre Pompidou may be the ugliest building in Paris! It reminded me of that building across from the Education building in U of A.
Haha, did you end up going into Centre Pompidou? The idea was to keep all the pipes and inner workings visible on the outside… the only bad thing is that I don’t think that ages gracefully!
Hi! I enjoy reading about your Parisian impressions, a view point of someone 2 generations younger. I agree with you that a sincere attempt to speak French, delivered with a smile, hardly ever fails. There really are very few grumpy Parisians! And those locks have turned into a manace. Here’s a quote from a piece by Will Coldwell of the Guardian, March 31, 2014:
‘ … The mayor of the 6th arrondissement, Jean-Pierre Lecoq, also supports their concerns, describing the love locks as “madness”. Since this walkway overlooks the Seine, and there are a lot of tourist boats that pass under it, any relatively heavy object falling from a certain height could cause a passenger an injury, or even a fatal blow,” he told RTL radio last August. And, according to Anselmo, it’s not simply an aesthetic concern: “This isn’t just two Americans butting their noses in and saying this isn’t pretty,” she says. “The weight of the locks presents a safety issue. The Pont des Arts is just a little footbridge and is now holding 93 metric tonnes from the locks; regularly the grill work collapses. The city replaces it and two weeks later it fills up again. Sadly a ban seems to be the only way.’
Bonnes journées in the City of Light!
Thank you so much for the informative comment! It’s interesting to learn our suspicions were, afterall, true regarding the locks on the bridge, and I’m glad you pointed out some of the major concerns and risks they create. We were all shocked to learn that the grill works fills up within 2 weeks of replacement! That is shockingly fast, and I suppose demonstrates what a big draw this is for visitors to Paris. I can see that a ban might be the only way out! Thanks again for visiting and sharing your thoughts :)