8:10p.m. 22th May in London
I’m on the tube home, ah, don’t know how many times I have to suffer the horrible transportation here. In Taiwan if this happens it goes on TV news, but in London people have already got used to it. Pathetic!
Anyway it’s time to talk about Paris, although it’s been a while after I finished the trip, and I am less passionate talking about it, but sometimes I still miss some moments, some of the specific moments in Paris. People say Paris is a romantic place that makes you fall in love, I guess it’s not totally a myth.
The first day I arrived really late since the bad traffic, it was Friday night. I look TGV train from Luxembourg to Paris East.
I didn’t want to go to bed right after I arrived, I mean, it was my duty to be excited about going out, I’m a senior tourist, aren’t I? (senior tourist: this was not my first time to go to Paris, done all the tourist places, so for senior tourists I should focus on local things)
I found a party on meetup.com, it was a party for internationals in Paris. My sister and her husband Sergei said it was like a party for guys and girls to find something interesting together privately, but I was thinking as long as I keep myself friendly but independent it should be okay.
The thing is I didn’t go in the end, it’s not far away to where I stayed but I found some bars even closer. So I went to a bar, took some pictures, and went to cycling. Yes I left the bar and went cycling in the middle of the night!
It was a cool bar though.
Have you seen the movie Midnight in Paris? A man sit on stairs on a secret street in Paris and went back to 100 years ago, I’ve been there, I sit there, on the stairs, but, apparently I’m still here, damn, movies lie all the time!
2:30p.m. 23th May
Now I’m at home, finished works and ready to finish this post.
So I was riding the bike in Paris in the middle of the night, but it was Friday so there were quite a lot of people on the street, and they are not tourists. I passed by gay area, the river Senne, and many beautiful places. I’m not an expert of Paris’ famous sightseeing spots, so I guess I missed many things. Like when I passed by Notre-Dame de Paris, I didn’t know it was the famous cathedral which is in a famous musical and disney movie Notre-Dame de Paris. And there were many places that I didn’t know, and I couldn’t list here. But it was beautiful, cycling in Paris in the comfy wind, I guess I’ll remember this moment.
Oh so I should talk about the Cycle Hire called “Vélib‘ (try! try to pronounce it like a real Parisian)”.
It’s the same as Barclays Cycle Hire, but they had it for longer time. Vélib’ was launched on 15 July 2007, Barclays Cycle Hire was launched on 2010. So in Paris the bikes were much older but they have more bikes and docks (bicycle stations). You can literally only use the bikes to go around the city. The pricing is similar to Barclays Cycle Hire, once you pay the access fee, you can use them multiple times not over 30 minutes in the access period.
Here’s the price of access fee: (looked up on 23 May 2012)
Vélib’ / Barclays
€1.70 / £1 — 1 day ticket
€8.00 / £5 — 7-day ticket at
€ 29 / £45 — 1 year
Looks like it’s still cheaper in London.
But because they machines were really old, the next day when I wanted to try again, it just didn’t work! So my Vélib memories stays in the midnight, cool!
I felt okay to fail the Vélib, because I bought 10 metro ticket right after I arrived. If you’re going to stay there more than 4 days, it’s most likely you’ll use the metro (same as tube in London) for 10 times. So it’s good to buy 10 tickets from the machine, easy and cheaper.
I walked around the central Paris (around Châtelet), Bastille market, Ménilmontant, les Champs-Élysées, Arc de triomphe de l’Étoile and Montmartre, until my feet were totally sore and can’t move anymore.
In central Paris around the Senne, there are many stands selling arts and books, they gave the whole street the feeling of art, maybe also make the street more crowded.
This is when they are closed. (background is Notre-Dame de Paris)
And because I was there during the weekend and Monday, Tuesday, I felt the total difference between “Paris that full of tourists” and “normal Paris”. When it’s crowded, it was funnily crowded, even an old small tiny street can be crowded, and you don’t know why everybody’s on the street, they are not shopping, they are not going somewhere, they are just walking around. Like zombies. (I was one of them!)
During the weekend, some of the famous places are worse. This is Notre-Dame de Paris.
Berthillon is the best ice cream in Paris. Also crowded. (So I didn’t want to try, and I’m not an ice cream person anyway. But I’m sure it’s good.)
And on the famous backpacker forum in Taiwan, they all suggested me to try a traditional market around Bastille, so I went. I bought prawn and avocado, they were delicious, but other than that I didn’t see any special point for this market. I like all kinds of market-like atmosphere, but nothing better than Taiwanese night market yet.
On Monday I went to Montmartre, I was here last year. It was funny that I can make it on my own, I went to the same metro station, post the postcards at the same post office, took the same funicular and walked through the same streets. Didn’t feel any lonely but free instead. Basilique du Sacre－Coeur is as beautiful as usual, you can see the whole Paris from here.
And I finally understand why I talked about how I like Montmartre, Gwen (a French friend) used to joke about the so-called “artists” there. She was right, there were so many artists trying to sell you things, maybe their drawing, painting or portrait.
There was a man stopped me while I was smiling at my camera, he said “You have such a perfect smile, can I make a portrait for you, I really want your smile. Just one minutes!” He didn’t mention it’s free or not, so of course I’m not giving you one minute to kidnap my smile. It took me like 2 minutes to get rid of him.
And I started to act like a cool girl, you know, not easy going one, and didn’t smile at my camera anymore. But still another man stopped me said “hey could you give me one minute?” I said “I’m sorry I’m in a rush.” He said “hey just one minute!” but I just left. Felt so bad about this.
But I still love this place, maybe it’s no longer the number one in my heart, but I still remember how happy I was here last year and how relief I was here this year.
Later on I went to les Champs-Élysées and Arc de triomphe de l’Étoile, then to a Tech Meetup, met some good entrepreneurs, was so happy to share ideas with them and got some feedback. And Jessica is a really good host.
Unfortunately I felt a little sick since the meetup, I’ve been walking around too much, suffer the sudden hot and cold, finally got a high fever, so I went home and slept.
The next day I met my mum and we went to Château de Versailles, really beautiful (really tourism also). Next time I’d still want to go but not going in the building, I will explore the garden more. But I got stomach ache the whole day, so I stop writing more about that day here.
5:00p.m. 23 May in London
So let’s finish here, because I’m tired…. There are still so many things I’d like to share about Paris, if I think of any I’ll write. It’s not good to keep things in mind so I’ll use writing app on my phone more. Yes I will! If you find it interesting to see my posts and photos, follow me on Twitter (@hanamizuki) /Facebook or subscribe my RSS feed.
PS. By the way, on this post about “Luxair sucks” (that was a story happened after the Paris trip), I mentioned many time-wise things, and I always use “PM6:00″ as time format. There was a guy can’t contain himself and mailed me to correct me, so funny. And really thanks to him! If you find any mistakes, grammer wise, spelling wise or anything, please don’t hesitate to tell me. My email is hi(at)miss-hana.com.