in october and november 2012 on my way to prague, i made a two week pit-stop in paris between london and berlin. before this i had spent only a few days there eight years before, so i was thrilled to experience the city for an extended amount of days, this time with alex who had never been to france. now, inspired by reading the paris wife, i wanted to share about my fourteen day parisian experience and what my itinerary looked like.
i sublet a tiny studio apartment in the 13th arrondissement while the resident (a russian artist) was on a holiday in the states. her rent was about the same as mine in seattle was for a cheap 2 bedroom apartment in a slightly unfashionable 1960’s building ($1150). can you imagine a student paying this for a tiny studio?! no wonder she was looking for subletters! also, the district is called gobelins. gobelins…. halloween… perfect!
in the anticipatory days leading up to our arrival, i made a list of all the places i wanted to go and things i wanted to do. (this is much better made beforehand, as you get ideas while you’re there but it can be overwhelming and you’d rather use your time out and about instead of on the computer). nine days of my fourteen day itinerary looked something like this…
fri 26: markets, louvre half-price evening
sa 27: market day (find a pumpkin), hang out in the left bank
su 28: musee orangerie(closed tuesdays), champs elysees
mo 29 pumpking carving at the flat, pantheon, cafe, jardin des plantes, ile de louie
tu 30: musee orsay(closed mondays), comedy show
we 31: ghost tour, eat candy, watch halloween movies, sainte chapelle
th 01: pere lachaise, marais, place des vosges, centre pompidou
fr 02: eiffel tower & the trocadero area
sa 03: montmarte district
this was an extremely loose and relaxed schedule as we had two whole weeks and i surely did not intend to rush anything! there were a lot of additions and subtractions….
what didn’t happen? my heart was set on visiting the catacombs on halloween day but they were closed due to ventilation problems. we didn’t enter the beautiful sainte chapelle this trip because we were totally broke at the time (i know, but it leaves something for next time!). didn’t make it to centre pompidou this time either. what did happen? instead of the catacombs, we took a ghosts of paris walking tour, which was alright: really kitschy, not scary, but kinda fun to do on a halloween night. i didn’t expect to go out to the lovely harry’s bar in the opera area (birthplace of the bloody mary! below) after the evening at the louve but it was absolutely perfect… classy joint, wonderful cocktails, live pianist, and they serve american hot dogs! one of my favorite memories. we also didn’t expect to run into dominique pinion– such is the magic of paris, i guess! one lesson learned? don’t walk down champs elysees to the arc de triomphe on a weekend afternoon unless you like that sheep herd feeling. the sidewalks were so packed that you could barely move… so, no thank you, will not be trying that again.
so what did i do the rest of the time? made it a mission to spend hours in the great parks of paris! i lucked out on fantastic autumn weather: clear, sunny, and not very cold. i also wrote and drew at said parks and cafes. i perused markets to buy fresh produce to cook meals with back at the flat. i shopped, mostly at the galeries lafayette, and mostly for tea. and i WALKED. MILES and MILES a day. some days my feet hurt so badly when i got home, but i sure slept well those nights! some days we didn’t get out until noon. some nights we stayed in and watched movies. but with everything i did, i soaked up paris. and that was all that i wanted.
and although this post is about being in paris in the twenty-first century, sometimes my mind is stuck in the twentieth, so i had to find the apartment jim morrison and his partner pam lived in, in the marais (above). and now that i know ernest hemingway and his wife hadley lived in the 5th arrondissement, one which i am now quite familiar with because you have to cross it from the 13th to get anywhere, it’s fun to imagine them strolling the streets together that alex and i had so oft strolled ourselves during our stay, like rue monge and rue du cardinal lemoine. to me, paris is about enjoying beauty & life, spending your time there as you wish. and walking. everywhere.
what would you do with two weeks in paris? more writing about paris from this time can be seen here. happy travel tuesday!