Friday, 31 October 2014

Paris - Day 5

First thing in the morning we went to the Catacombs. When we arrived (50 minutes before they opened!) There was already a HUGE Queue! But we got inside about 20 minutes after they opened (which was still a long time waiting but for me it was worth it!) I really loved the catacombs. I am a totally morbid person. When I was about 13-14 I wanted to be an archaeologist soooo badly! Dig out bones and stuff! I AM SO INTERESTED IN DEAD THINGS! It’s really morbid xD

  There were many inscribtions in latin and French (can you feel the joy when I translated some of them? Jesus!)

I could’ve spent much more time there but mom didn’t like it too much, who would’ve thought XD
Also the stairways back up were… tiny. and long and I was getting dizzy climbing up round and round and round~ 

Afterawards we weren’t really sure what to do next so we just slowly walked around until I decided that we were going to Fountainbleau NOW. Fountainbleau was one of the things on mom’s bucket list, and since walking through a castle would work even If it was raining (it didn’t rain. But we couldn’t know that before!) I decided that my mom deserves to go there. I googled how to get there before we went to paris, just in case, and thanks to a few tourists going there it was pretty easy. Go to the Gare de Lyon, get a ticket. It’s pretty easy since you can just type in your destination and it will give you the right ticket, most likely. I was still terrified so we walked around searching for someone to help and tell if it was right. Some French people from the lost and found finally said it was right but made some stupid jokes I luckily did not understand. 
You will need a ticket from Paris to Fountainebleau-Avon. The general direction is Montargis Sens, Montereau or Laroche-Migennes*.  You usually have to validate your ticket before going upstairs to the platform. The thingy to validate was broken though, but when we were controlled no one said anything so I was very glad! The ticket inspector probably saw that we were tourists and was being nice, but still, do that if you don’t wanna pay loads of money for nothing at all! ;)
I've read people saying that Fountainebleau is in zone 5, 
and to be quite honest I would not trust that information.
Tbqh I don't even think it's still on the Île de France so~

And please, always be aware that many ticket machines DO NOT ACCEPT PAPER MONEY. Most just want coins or a credit card. Sometimes it really troubled us because we didn’t have that many coins. If you do not have enough coins and no credit card you are required to talk to a lady selling the tickets, and she will, in Fountainbleau and in Versailles definitely not know much English. Do get a tourist dictionary if you do not speak French!
When you arrive you will take the bus then take the ‘Ligne 1’ bus destined for Les Lilas, descending at the ‘Château’ stop*. A ticket for one person is 2€. You will exit at the Stop Chateau. There, you will not go left at the first opportunity. You will get lost if you do that. You will just go straight ahead, follow the street. At some point the street will go to the left. It is still the same street so don’t go left before that! You will already see the fence on the left side of the street early on, so you can pretty much follow that, and when you turn around the right corner, you will see the castle in front of you.
Obviously I am telling you this like that, because we got lost. 
We were standing in front of a gate that was not the gate we saw online, and it was closed.
 So we went a really weird and wrong way until we finally FINALLY found the actual entry! 


  Also, did Napoleon inspire Game of Thrones Clothing? Huh? 

In fact Fountainbleau – from the interior – was very nice, I think nicer than Versailles? Versailles was just way over the top. Both are beautiful castles though, and I think both are worth visiting!


The very good thing about Fountainbleau is that there really aren’t many people, and it’s not as big as Versailles, so if you visit Versailles it will probably always take you a long day to see anything while it’s really easier and much faster to visit Fountainbleau. We thought Fountainbleau would be a One-whole-Day-Trip but it really wasn’t, so when we came back to Paris we drove to the Place de la bastille (have I mentioned that I love history? GOD!)

When we got back I got this little sweet thingy at the Gare de Lyon.
I have no idea what it is- some kinda lemon baîser thingy. It's great.

Also the quariter maraise is around there and mom read that it is pretty so we walked around. I saw a sign saying that there is a Victor Hugo house somewhere and since Victor Hugo is amazing we followed the signs – which at some point disappeared. I still have no clue where that is! We totally got lost around there! There was a garden – don’t ask me what it was called, there was a huge hotel as well- if only we lived in such a fancy hotel! And there were wells with water as well! We walked through some small passages and alleys and magically got back to the place de la bastille. I still have no clue how…. 

Also: Trains without drivers. WELCOME TO THE 21st Century!

We took the metro to Louvre-Rivoli where we walked along the Seine and got on the batobus. Of course you can also get on one of these hella expensive bateaux mouches or whatever they were called, but the batobus was fine as well, it was actually really nice. Thr tour went Louvre - > Champs Elysées -> Eiffel tower -> Musée d’orsay -> Notre dame - > St. Germaine de Pres -> Hôtel de Ville and back to the Louvre.
Awesome weather, can't you tell?!
Also saw these guys at Notre Dame! They are soooo awesome!

The whole thing was a great end to a wonderful week!  
Afterwards we still went to the Louvre as it was getting dark, then finally headed home and left the next day quite early~

*The Informations are from the official Homepage of Fountainbleau.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Paris - Day 2

Again I also included some tips that could be helpful for anyone travelling to Paris! These tips will be bolded!


About 5 hours after I finally found some rest I was woken up again to get ready. We wanted to be at the Eiffel Tower as early as possible so the queue wouldn’t be too long. That worked with the Louvre 5 years ago, so why not try? First of all we bought our Paris visite metro Tickets. They are expensive, but then again you can use the metro and the RER, the buses and trams, and I think that’s great. We had a Paris visite ticket for Zones 1-3 since our hotel was in zone 2 and we only left those zones twice! We were a bit out of luck though since the line 6 Viaduct was closed due to repairs so we went a really weird way to Place Trocadero. The good thing is that if you take the complicated way, you will not see the Eiffel Tower before you arrive. The moment when you exit the Trocadero metro station, turn around the corner and BAM! there’s that huge ass tower, that’s so amazing - and using the line 6 always ruins it a bit ;) 
Tourist tip: be at the attraction as early as possible. The Tower opens at 9am, and since you usually have to buy the online tickets about 3-4 month in advance (they are sold out until December at the moment, I think?) and we planned the whole trip only a WEEK in advance, I did have to get into a queue. Well – my mom did while I bought petit-déjeuner – Sandwich Parisien for 5 effin € - and when I returned to mom we were really getting somewhere! Yay! Mom is afraid of heights, therefore she took half of the sandwich and a coffee to sit by a bench next to the Tower and wait for me. I finally got my "Sommet" ticket – Tip for Paris travelers: If you are reading this and you are under 26 years old you should really get your ass up and go to Paris! Many tourist attractions are cheaper – or even free! When you are a “Jeune” – which starts from 15 years old I think and ends at 26. Unfortunately that only counts if you are from Europe, sorry! :D

Anyways, got my sommet ticket, went upstairs and had a great time! I actually chose the day with the best weather conditions of the whole week and so I could see everything around without rain and it was great! I think I spent more than an hour up there, I had a great time! Since I couldn’t go there 5 years ago because you (usually) need an adult with you if you are under 18 (at least that’s if you wanna climb up Notre Dame and the Arc de Triumph… so I guess it’s the same for the Eiffel Tower^^), so I was as excited as a child on Christmas! I went to the souvenir shop on the 2nd platform and bought a “J’adore Paris” bracelet (everything else was just way to pricy, even for Paris standarts!)

I decided it would be fun to use the stairs back down. It was not fun. Walking downstairs is easier than upstairs, but still not a great Idea and afterwards my legs were shaking weirdly XD I stopped on the 1st platform to look down through the glass floor they have and I tried to text my mom to look up to wave me but I had no network connection there, unfortunately. So I went further down, bought another Sandwich Parisien and water from the metro station. Tip for Paris travelers: Do not buy water at metro station. You will find cheaper ways, trust me. I’ll get there later ;)

From the Eiffel Tower we took the RER to La Muette to search for the Musée Marmottan Monet. On the way to the Metro I saw to girls with a JMF T-Shirt, but was too shy to approach them :/ Anyways, we went to search the Museum (Tip: Do get a city map and not only the Metro plan, sometimes you still get lost easily XD) But! The Musée Marmottan Monet is closed on Mondays. Another tip: Always look up if the place you wanna visit is open on the day you wanna visit! So we took the Bus back to the Metro station and then went to Notre Dame. We didn’t go in and to my own dislike I wasn’t able to go up to the roof this time either since both queues were really long. It was probably also because it was the second week of June, which means many European countries and even the US were on summer vacation. Tourist tip: Don’t go to Paris when everyone else does. It’s soooo crowded! But I saw a very beautiful Korean bride walk around XD

Next was one of the less nice things in Paris: Food. We spent most of the day not eating and we were stressed and the weather was weird. And Paris is so expensive! BUT, we knew there’s a McDonalds in the Galeries Lafayette, so that’s where we went next. If you know your way around Paris or if you’ve got a map at hand you will notice that we drove through the city like crazy, it was a bit exhausting, but it was nice to be at McDonalds, to sit down, eat and enjoy the free Wi-fi. Ofc it’s great to enjoy the local food, but that’s even more expensive than McDonalds and if you’re stressed you’ll happily find yourself a place like McD’s. The Galeries Lafayette are a great tourist spot anyways since you can get loads of souvenirs there – I got this metal Paris box where I put all my train tickets and all that stuff in to look back at it in 20 years. Last time I got myself some manga there, you can also eat other things than McDonald’s there – as far as I know there’s 1 asian place, a tea lounge, a bakery of some sort and a lunch place that’s a bit like Germany’s Karstadt restaurant, just more expensive.

Also you can go all the way to the top of the Galeries, where you can sit in the sun (if it is sunny. It wasn’t) and drink expensive drinks and stuff. It’s a nice place and you can see a lot of Paris (though not by far as much as you can from the Eiffel Tower!) Since mom’s still afraid of heights we left again pretty soon tho.

In front of the Galeries Lafayette I told my mother that I’m pretty sure that the Hard Rock Café was somewhere around. Mother says it’s definitely not, it’s somewhere completely different - but close to the Musée Grevin. Guess who was right? We both were. It was close to the Musée Grevin, but that wasn’t too far away from the Galeries either. Only 1 metro station! The Metro station is Richelieu Drouot. Last time I bought a limited edition breast cancer awareness pin at the Hard Rock café and the obligatory t-shirt, but this time they had no nice pins –and I already have a t-shirt. Though I – stupid as I am – lost the breast cancer awareness bow on the pin and I’m still trying to get a replacement. If only I wasn’t so greedy. There are pins like that on ebay but I only spent like 8€ back then, I don’t wanna spend 50€ on a replacement! Jeez! 

Right behind the Hard Rock Café is the Musée Grevin, which is a Wax figure museum. Since I’ve been to Madame Tussauds in Berlin – twice – I really didn’t wanna go there, it gets boring with time, believe me. But right between the museum and the Hard Rock café is a very cute little ally, which had book stores with old ORIGINAL EDITIONs and wow, they were so beautiful, and they had a café which sold the cutest little cakes and extraordinarily delicious macarons ♥

Since from our p.o.v. Sacre Coeur seemed to be pretty close we decided to go there next. Since we’ve been there before we knew of the Funiculaire de Montmartre, but we took the wrong metro station. On the metro map it looks as if you can access the Funiculaire from Anvers and Abbesses, but we exit the metro at Abbesses, I think, which was a wrong decision. We had to walk uphill for quite a while. I got to say though, that Montmartre is a very pretty part of Paris, and just walking around is very nice, and if you have spare money I think it would be really nice to eat dinner there or have a coffee or something. On the way uphill we also discovered one of the famous wells of Paris. Apparently they are all over town, but we just found a couple of them. This is also my Tourist tip for water: On the way to Sacre Coeur and pretty close by sacre Coeur there were those little wells where you could fill your water bottles for free, and the water has best drinking quality. It’s safe and clean and wonderful! Free water, yay!

We finally reached the stairs leading up to the Church, but before anything else had to sit down. Sitting down on the stairs is a really nice things, since you have a wonderful panorama view of the city.

I got to say though, Paris is quite exhausting. All the stairs, stairs, stairs, especially down in the metro are so exhausting. Some of the metro station are leading you up and down again and then up and down again until you finally reach your platform. They are so confusing! More on that later though :D

We took a few photos and then entered the church since we missed out on that last time. It’s huge. And so very pretty compared to our churches at home. Even though I am an atheist now, I was raised to be a good catholic little girl, went to my communion when I was 8 and stuff. I went to church irregularly but I went to church. So I just had to imagine – what if a wonderful huge and just plain pompous church like Sacre Coeur was the Church where you had your first communion? That must be so impressive! The church where I had mine was so fugly! (Though Notre Dame was prettier. And St. Mary’s which is close to the Centre Pompidou if I remember correctly, is also very very nice!)
 I also went to climb up all the 300 stairs to the Dome, the top of Sacre Coeur. Since you are on a hill AND additionally 300 steps over everyone else, you are on the third highest place in Paris – The Eiffel Tower being the only higher place, and maybe Tour Montparnasse – and this is so much better than the sight from the Eiffel tower – mostly because you can see the Eiffel tower and if you take pictures from up there they will include the Eiffel tower, and that’s what makes the view from Sacre Coeur so impressive.

Did you know that there is a law that forbids buildings to be taller than a certain height? That's why looking down on Paris is so nice, with all these little white/yellowish houses with their red little chimneys and grey roofs!

I climbed back down and as I reached the ground it has started raining. Tourist tip: right at the Funiculaire there is a little shop – it has toilets and it is incredibly cheap compared to most other stores. The water almost has a normal price and even the sandwiches are not too expensive! We walked to the next Metro station but exit again after only one stop, walked for a bit (right down the very obvious sex street…) and find one of the cheapest little supermarkets! Where we then also went to buy something to eat for the next day, and more water, also peaches and bananas!
But what we were actually looking for was the famous Moulin Rouge! (That's very close to the nice little Supermarket! I wanted to take a photo of the windmill in the dark but since it’s summer it wasn’t very dark at that time, but I got my photo. Also, for everyone interested in Marilyn Monroes shoots, they have a metro vent there ;)

Since it started raining worse, we finally went home, planned the next day and went to bed.