Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Paris - Day 4


We got up laaaaate today and made our way to the Champs-Elysées. We went to look around in Fnac since I wanted to improve my French by buying a French book or something but I didn’t buy anything. Afterwards we had a tasty breakfast in one of the cafes.  I think it might have been the same one where I bought some breakfast on our last day in 2009, but who knows. I was actually also searching for a bookstore there that wasn't where it was 5 years ago- It was completely gone! 

 While walking we got closer to the Arc den Triomphe. Mom waited downstairs under the arc while I went upstairs, once again. I LOVE Being on high buildings ^.^


The sight is great, you can see la Defense at one side and with much imagination you can tell yourself that you might be able to see Versailles in the far distance (with LOADS of imagination :D) . Entry was once again free for me!

This little thing was so clever! You could just turn around the mini arc de triomphe, which also turned the white one, where the pictures of the arc were shown on AND in the far back an explanation of them! :D

 After that we went to the Louvre to take some photos. We’ve already been inside before and I do think that it wasn’t even worth it. 5 years ago the queue was so long and why wait for nothing really interesting? 
We went through the Jardin de Tuileriers and either I am crazy or they changed everything! IT LOOKS SO DIFFERENT THAN IT DID 5 years ago! WOW!

We went over to the Orangerie, the queue being tiny as always, to look at Monet's Nympheas we love so much. They changed the prices though (I was still for free!) and it was now forbidden to take photos. I don’t really understand why but ok…. 
Afterwards we made our way to the Place Denfert Rocheau, where you can find the official entrance to the Catacombs. It was soo crowded, and since they closed in 1 ½ hours already and the queue was about 2 hours already it was really useless to wait. Last time when we were in Paris they were closed due to vandalism (Those skull-stealing bastards!) and now they were too crowded. Suuuuucks!
Instead we went to McDonald’s which is right around the corner! Yaay Free Wifi!

We went to the Jardin de Luxembourg because I heard it was really pretty and it was supposed to have a glasshouse, and it was starting to rain so a glasshouse would’ve been great.
When we arrived at the Jardin it started raining really badly, forcing us to get our raincapes out.

 The garden was really pretty but we didn’t really see much of it because of the rain we just quickly walked through. The glasshouse didn’t have any flowers, but instead it had paintings in it – the painter was there as well. Some of the paintings were not too bad, but not really worth our while!
 We left and walked over to St. Sulpice because I couldn’t remember being there last time – I remembered though, as we walked up to it. We were talking about Dan Brown’s Sakrileg back then!:D
 It was prettier from the outside than from the inside. 

We then drove to La Madleine, another church close to the Opera and I could show my mom where the JMF was! I also finally googled where the heck they sell the “Japan Lifestyle” magazine which had an interview with SuG, and apparently they sold it at the metro station opera. Thank god I saved a picture of the magazine on my phone so I could show it to the shopkeeper who then found the magazine for me and I bought it yay!  I also translated the interview to English >HERE<
We walked around and found the Uniqlo store that was located close to the Opera as well and I got some reeeeeally cute stuff on sale! I wish Berlin and the uniqlo store weren’t that far away from me!

Mommy bought herself a new scarf in the Galeries Lafayette and we had sweets there. We finally went home since our feet hurt from all that walking around. If the weather had been better we would’ve visited the garden of Claude Monet in Giverny- but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. 
That's definately on my bucket list for next time though!! :) 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Paris - Day 3


This night I definitely slept better than before, but I was still really really tired! But whatever, today we went to Versailles! We had to get out of the RER at Viroflay Rive Gauche since our Paris visite ticket was only zones 1-3 and Versailles is in zone 5, to buy another ticket from there to Versailles.
 The RER C, which is going there, is huge – I mean, all the RER are pretty huge, but this one was a doppeldecker and was full of people wanting to go to Versailles! 
From the train station there are actually many busses going to the Castle, which is honestly quite unnecessary because the castle is not even that far away.  

Tip of people visiting Paris: Do not get in the huge general line if you don’t yet have a ticket. There is a different building to your left where you get your ticket first, after that you can get into the bigger queue. Good thing: Everyone under 15 is free, and every eu citizen under 26 is free as well. I only had to pay special entry to the Jardin later. We got in line and waited: 1 ½ hours. And I’m guessing that that’s not even long. When we finally got in we saw the line at the ticket office, and it was so huge, whereas we only waited 10 minutes so my mom could get her ticket. Also something really great about Versailles is, that it has free wi-fi, so if you are waiting a few hours, at least you got a bit of internet access. 

It thook me out a couple of times but with thousands of people using it I guess you could expect that… Finally we reached the entrance hall, which is a specially build building so they wouldn’t have to put that into the castle, I guess. And since I didn’t buy a ticket I had to explain that “J’ai moins de 26 ans et je suis allemande” (which means “I’m not yet 26 and I’m german” which also means I’m a EU citizen.) The French are behaving weird recently. 5 years ago no one spoke English to save their lives, and now everyone talks to me in English while I’m trying to improve my French. Not very helpful, duh!  The guy at Versailles spoke French though, merci monsieur! So we went to the palace, which was very impressive but had horrible lighting which made it hard to get any decent pictures. In the hall of mirrors I saw a cosplayer!^^ The hall of mirrors is really one of the most impressive places there, it’s beautiful. 

The whole thing is amazing, especially if you have a bit of a clue about history. French revolution y’know. I could write you a whole essay about it here, it’s just so damn interesting!
We had our lunch in front of the Mesdames Apartments and finally left for the Jardin when it started raining. 

We hoped it would stop and after one hour waiting under a kind of passage it really finally stopped and we were able to enter the garden! We didn’t buy tickets for the Trianon Palace and the Domaine de Marie-Antoinette because we were afraid it was going to start raining again and the garden is really huge and walking there would’ve been so exhausting. Next time though!
We walked up and down a bit – they were restaurating a lot and the fountains were also turned off, which was quite disappointing. In addition they apparently play some kinda classic music every Tuesday (which also made it more expensive to visit the garden) which was totally unnerving.
There were some really wonderful fountains that I would’ve loved to see with the water flowing but yea, can’t change it. I still think 8€ is too much if you still have to pay for the Trianon and Domaine as well… And what the fuck is wrong with the French for putting some modern metal art shit in that beautiful garden? People go there because it’s old and beautiful and full of history and they put a freakin metal arch in the middle of it and some metal walls all around and it really annoyed me a lot. In my eyes modern art is usually shit.
It just sucks.
It doesn’t fit there.

We also met an elderly couple from germany, and they were really nice and talked to me about history, about French and german history and the wars and revolutions and since I’m really into history I really enjoyed talking to him!
Even though we drove to Versailles so early we drove home at like 5pm, so pretty late. We stopped by in Montparnasse where we found another quite cheap supermarket (<- Tourist tip right there)
We were so exhausted though and our feet hurt so much that we just bought some water, dinner and lunch for tomorrow, as well as more peaches and bananas, and a bit further in a cute café we bought another sandwich! Because they are really tasty! And feeling accomplished, we went home. It started raining pretty badly, but soon the sun shone through again.

A bit later we left our apartment again and drove to Trocadero again to take a look at the Eiffel tower at night, as we knew it was gonna sparkle so nice and I really love the sight, and so does mom! (For some reason it gets us all sentimental! We also went to see L’hotel d’invalides at night (I still have no clue what that actually is and we didn’t properly visit it lol). We finally went home and slept a LOT.

And here I start my unbelieveable Metro story I mentioned earlier. The metro stations. Up and down, down and up again.

Wanting to see the sparkling Eiffel Tower, We took the Line 13 and left it at Saint Lazare. And Saint Lazare is big. And with big I mean freaking scarily huge. Gigantic. Enormous! SCARY! So a thing to be aware of is, that Saint Lazare is not only huge, but it is also connected to other stations, like Gare Saint-Lazare, Saint-Augustin and the RER station Haussmann Saint-Lazare. Haussmann Saint-Lazare is connected to Havre Caumartin – a metro station again, which is connected to the RER station Auber, connected to Opera, which is a metro station. You can walk all that way underground. That connects 4 RER Lines and 7 metro lines. It’s a freakin labyrinth. If you heard the catacombs were dangerous and you could get lost there than this is insanity. INSANE hear me!
So we left line 13 behind us. We want to head to Trocadero, meaning we’ll have to get to line 9- direction Pont de Sèvres which you can enter at Saint-Augustin or at Havre Caumartin from there on, well, which way do you follow because there’s many of them. After walking 2 stories further underground than you already are you follow a long tunnel just to climb upstairs again, follow another long hallway and then we finally after about 15 minutes down in the metro ended up at Sain-Augustin. It was insane and frankly scary.
Can you believe we did all those touristy things in just TWO DAYS? Wow!

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Paris - Day 1 - Japan Music Fest ♥

So I finally got around my familiar troubles and am now able to publish this and that makes me really happy ♥ I also included some tips that could be helpful for anyone travelling to Paris! These tips will be bolded!


Early in the morning my mother and I took our heavy luggage and drove to Cologne (and all that with public transportation, phew). After a coffee for mom and hot chocolate for me, we made our way to platform 6 and entered one of the fastest trains of Europe – The Thalys to Paris. 
The Thalys is really amazing! It's actually pretty cheap (If you don't book it a week before you leave... that was a bit.... late XD)
Only a few short hours, that we spent in the warm comfy train (with free Wi-Fi and electricity to charge our phones), later, we finally arrived at Paris, Gare du Nord. 
From there on we made our way to our Apart hotel in Malakoff, just out of Paris- which took ages, especially since about a million people needed to get their metro tickets. 
 With my limited French I was able to ask some Metro staffs about our line – line 4, which apparently got a new station during the 5 years that I wasn’t in Paris, changing it from direction Porte d’Orléans to Direction Mairie de Montrouge. I was also able to obtain a new “Paris poche” metro guide, which was helpful.
About half an hour and a metro ride with hobos who had puked on themselves later we arrived at the station and found the reception of our hotel. It was tiny! And since a couple of American teenagers already waited in there we were forced to wait outside. In the pouring rain. Until 3 pm, when the reception finally opened (It really wouldn’t have hurt them to open a bit earlier, jeez!)
From there we were given directions to where our apartment was. Another 20 minutes walk then. Yay-.-! 
We finally managed to find the place and heaved our luggage up the 4 flights of stairs, where we found a tiny apartment. It wasn’t really as dirty as you’d expect with this price – we still refrained from using any of the cups or dishes in the apartment. There were hairs and mold in the tiny bathroom, but let’s be honest, it was cheap and we really only slept and showered there and that’s it. No big deal, mold doesn’t kill you. 

The actual reason for me to go to Paris was the “Japan Music Fest” which took place on that same Sunday in the Olympia hall in the middle of Paris. Therefore after arriving at the Apartment, I took care of my outfit and make-up.

 A bit before 5pm I made my way to the metro station Opéra, which was the closest to the Olympia. I didn’t find it immediately, I think because I was quite nervous, but I managed to ask (In French!) and found it easily after that!

Also, thanks SO SO SO SO MUCH to the cashier who spoke German. I haven’t spoken French in about 4 years and frankly at that moment didn’t understand a thing when I was told I printed a wrong part of the ticket (which almost made my cry for about half an hours while the nice NICE cashier helped me). He told me what I did wrong and helped me print my ticket after all!
I then went on to get some merch – I really wanted a SuG towel, but unfortunately it was sold out already! (And honestly, the hall wasn’t that full, did they only bring 20 towels or what? ) I bought the JMF shirt and went on to my seat. I would’ve bought an Orchestre ticket but since I had ticket troubles because I do not have a credit card (and apparently you REALLY NEED A CREDIT CARD IN FRANCE) so I bought my ticket from a girl who sadly couldn’t go, and it was only mezzanine. Well, fair enough it was first row and the sight was amazing!

First act up on stage was Sadie and they were really great, even though I was a bit shy to really enjoy it since everyone was French and idk, I felt weird with all these French girls all around. And the boy sitting next to me looked so bored the whole time it made me really uncomfortable.

 The set list was great, I was so happy to hear B.A.B.Y live and also Love Scream Party and 39Galaxyz as the last song was wonderful.
Takeru’s English has gotten really good! I’m so impressed with Japanese people being able to learn things so fast (if they really want to, I guess XD) Masato said some things in French (“Je suis contente d’être ici”, which translates to I’m happy to be here) and I was really glad I understood (I learned French for 4 years how can I be so bad at it?) Then Yuji said something in French which I did not really get at all XD They all looked like they had so much fun though and I really loved seeing them, I was so so so happy! I’VE WAITED FOR THAT MOMENT FOR 7 YEARS! AND I WAS SO HAPPY. I CRIED. LOADS. The girl next to me looked at me like “what the fuck is wrong with you, weirdo?” but WHO CARES?!
They also looked up to us Mezzanine people and waved  - there was a girl with a huge wig a few seats to my right which apparently caught their attention, but Masato and Takeru both also looked at me and I made a heart with my hands and screamed a lot and at some point Takeru noticed, hit his chest and pointed up to me! 
Someone caught it in their video!
Haha, Mission: “Takeru notice me” was successful! (Since there was only one row of people in the mezzanine area where I sat it was pretty obvious if they looked/reacted to me or to others. I usually wouldn’t think I have been noticed or directly looked on if I was in a huge crowd but really, very obvious.^^) Then they left *sniff sniff* Unfortunately this whole Paris trip was so expensive that a VIP ticket was completely out of question, and there was still the Credit Card problem anyways :D (Fyi: In Germany you don’t get a credit card right away, usually.)
Next up where Dead End which frankly, I thought were a bit boring. I made pictures and videos for the girl who sold me the ticket, since she also told me she wanted to go there because of Dead End. I still didn’t send them to her. Oops. :/
And you know what, I think it’s really funny how you recognise people in fandoms. There was girl there where I am almost 100% sure she is one of the Deco Rangers – she sat almost opposite to me, and I could tell she was a Deco Ranger almost instantly. She really couldn’t have been French or not part of the Deco Rangers! :D

Paris is truly the city of Hobos. I’ve been to a few bigger cities already but there are never as many hobos as in Paris. They are everywhere. And ofc I can’t be in Paris for a day without having to see them urinate right in front of me. Wow. I arrived in Malakoff not long after the concert and since we were exhausted and it was getting late we went to bed. It was really hard to sleep – the neighbors were really loud and you could hear people walk up and down the stairs all the time. Also the bed was not very comfortable. What did I expect? It was only a very thin mattress, probably used my hundreds of people and it was laying on bare wood. But the blankets where really fluffy and warm which was nice, and there was no dirt on it!  :D

 All in all it was still a wonderful Day. The Apartment wasn't really an issue for me, and I had loads of fun! ♥