Day 10: Paris

Yeah, so waking up at 5:30am to catch the sunset didn’t happen. I rolled out of bed at 6:45am, ate breakfast at the hostel, and then walked around the empty city. I took some nice pictures over the reflection of the Seine River and then walked into Notre Dame at 7:45am when it opened. I was going to get an audio tour, but the information counter didn’t open until 9:00am. I ended up just walking around and taking some pictures. After Notre Dame, I planned to go Saint Chapelle but it didn’t open until 10:00am. I swear, this city just isn’t awake in the mornings. Instead, I took the metro to Les Invalides, a building originally commissioned by Napoleon as a military hospital.

Now it’s a museum that houses his tomb. While in line, I met a guy my age from Montreal and we talked hockey while we waited.

After Les Invalides, I took the metro to the Eiffel Tower (to take pictures) but got lost along the way. I guess there are two different subways in Paris: the metro (for the city) and the RER (for the suburbs). Of course, I get on the RER which takes 3x as long because it doesn’t run as often. I finally get to the Eiffel Tower but there’s a large tarp over part of the tower and they’re building a skate ramp for someone to break a world record after dropping from the first floor, so I didn’t take any pictures.

After the Eiffel Tower, I make my way back to Notre Dame to find a good lunch. I’ve haven’t had a sit-down meal by myself yet in Paris so I decided to eat a café next to Notre Dame for lunch. I started off by ordering French onion soup (8 Euros) and roasted chicken and frites (12 Euros) and water. 20 Euros is a lot for lunch, so I thought I would get water instead of a beer. Big mistake. The water was bottled water instead of tap water, and cost 4 Euros for 25 cl (8 oz). What a waste. So instead of getting a 2nd water, I get a Heineken instead for only 40 cents more. For those keeping track at home, that’s 29.40 Euros for lunch, close to 37 dollars. Last time I do that.

If you look closely, you can see the 4 Euro water:

I then went back to the hostel and crashed for couple hours before going out again. I stopped by Berthillon on Ill Saint-Louis and got some amazing gelato.

The line was long enough that it had to move whenever a car went by.

After the ice cream, I went to the top of Notre Dame where I met some girls who go to (and were born in) Clemson. They recognized my bright orange Clemson shirt and it turns out they were backpacking through Europe too – pretty crazy odds meeting someone at the top of Notre Dame who goes to the same school as me.

I then went walking to the Louvre and got some good pictures near sunset. There is a front coming in tonight so the clouds made a good backdrop.

It is expected to rain tomorrow so I went out and bought an umbrella at a department store. The cashier was real cute but I couldn’t figure out the credit card machine for the life of me. Every time I swiped my card, I put it the wrong way, which you would think is impossible because there are only two ways to swipe a credit card – apparently not. She finally got it to work and I promised myself to use cash more often.

I did manage to find a McDonald’s that has free Wi-fi. It has little kiosks where you can place your own order and by the time you pay, your order is waiting for you at the counter. It also has a glass elevator and overlooks a main shopping street in Paris. I got dinner here to make up for my expensive lunch, raising the Big Mac count to 2. It’s open until 1am so I’m trying to get some work done while I can.
Tomorrow I am going to the Louvre and some other museums in Paris. I’ll probably post another update tomorrow night.

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