Monday, 10 February 2014

The Perfect Part of Paris | Without Expectations

One of the most memorable places in Paris was the little islands on the Seine River called Ile de la Cite and Ile Saint Louis, Ile de la Cite is where Notre Dame and The Saint-Chapelle is located. This was my favorite part of Paris, it was lively, beautiful, easy going and relaxed. Paris itself, in my opinion can be slightly dangerous. There's a lot of pick pocketing and the city center is filled with all sorts of seedy and dodgy looking people, you just have to be a little more cautious. However, Ile de la Cite and Ile Saint Louis was different, it had a different sort of atmosphere than central Paris. The clear weather that day also added to the atmosphere. There was a lot going on, markets, buskers, tourists lining up to see the Notre Dame and so on. It was just such a nice, relaxing, entertaining and completely French day. Outside the exit from The Saint-Chapelle, we found a little market selling all sorts of birds, cages and bird food. There were also, flower stalls and quaint little shops selling garden decorations and other stuff. Everything was just so different, the flowers, birds, what they sold in the little shops, everything single thing was completely different from what you find in Perth. I wish they sold this sort of things we found at this market in Perth.
They had these furry little animals for sale too, does anybody know what it is?


The Notre Dame was also exceptionally beautiful. Like so many other iconic buildings in the world, I felt somewhat privileged to be able to view something so spectacular and famous. I couldn't really comprehend that what I was staring at was the one and only Notre Dame. I've seen it in movies, documentaries and travel shows and it was just so cool to be standing right in front of it. Unfortunately we weren't able to climb it, because the queue for it was just so, so long, and there's no queue cutting even if you have a Paris Museum and Monument Pass on you. Nevertheless, it was nice seeing, the intricate carvings and the gargoyles.

We then went around to the back of Notre Dame and crossed a bridge, with no particular plan or sense of direction and decided to buy some crepes, from a one man crepe stand outside a French cafe. He didn't just sold crepes, he also sold, hot wine, drinks and jumbo hot dogs. We bought, a Nutella crepe and a marron crepe, which is chestnut. It was great seeing how he worked, all by himself, with all these crepes, and cooking jumbo sized hot dogs. I love it when there's food cooking in open air, I don't know why but it has this special quality about it. You can see what you eat get cooked, you can smell, hear and see it and I think it kind of adds to the experience of eating foreign food, or any food for that matter. After getting our crepes, we walked towards a small bridge where there was a gathered crowd. I'm so glad we stopped and looked at what everyone else was looking at, because it was so great! There were two men, one with a piano and the other with what I assumed to be a saxophone (I'm not good with identifying instruments), busking and making lively music. That was the cherry on top of that day, everything was just so nice and peaceful but lively, this part of Paris was just perfect.

The French buildings added a beautiful backdrop to the busking show.

We also walked through the little French roads on Ile Saint Louis, there's lots of cafes, restaurants, shops and bakeries along the streets. We stopped by at a tiny little bakery and bought a baguette that was still warm and crusty and snacked on it while we walked through the island. The buildings are so pretty, not one building was boring or ugly, it was all different colors, lots of iron railings, French windows and festive decoration. That part of Paris, and that part of our Parisian trip was perfect. I couldn't have asked for more.

That day was the defining moment of what Paris is to me. I heard so many bad reviews about Paris before we went there, for example the streets being dirty and disgusting, the French are obnoxious and rude, it's dangerous, there's pickpocketers everywhere etc. To some extent, it was the truth and I did encounter some rude and dangerous looking people, but it wasn't all that bad. People come back from Paris saying that they hated it, but I didn't. I didn't love it either, but rather I loved bits of Paris, like that day on Ile de la Cite and Ile Saint Louis. Also, another thing that a lot of people say is that Paris is so hyped up, over rated and overly not that great, but I feel like it's been turned around now. As in, now everyone is saying that Paris is so bad, but in truth, it isn't really. If you're going to Paris for the first time, don't have any expectations. Good or bad, just don't have any. Just go there and see for yourself what it really is like in your own terms and without any other influences from what other people might say about Paris. You're bound to bump in to rude and dodgy people in Paris, but you're bound to do that anywhere.