I´m currently on winter vacation. YES, we have vacation here :). My first destination was Paris. Uhhhh, yes you read correctly: Paris. Even though I was in Paris just two weeks ago my first stop was once again the French capital. I did not plan to go to Paris so soon again, but my buddy from Korea was in town and I took the opportunity to meet her 🙂
This time I took the train on Thursday afternoon. I showed up to my classes, got my luggage from home and headed to the train station. The train ride takes only 3 hours (compared to 8 hours a BIG difference). I found a cheap ticket for 35 Euros over the SNCF webpage, so it´s definitely worth checking it out even if you don´t have the SNCF jeune card. The journey was short and comfortable. I arrived in Paris-Montparnasse in the evening and straight away headed to my hostel. I stayed at the same hostel, which was very convenient as I knew where to go and everything. I booked a dorm for 10 people and got a 4-bed room. Felt like a VIP 🙂
After some miscommunication I met up with Annie (my buddy and friend from Korea for those that can´t remember) to catch up and have dinner. It was extremely weird to see her in Paris, I can only imagine her in the Korean context. Well, it was fantastic to see her again. Even though she was my buddy (forced thing), we ended up being great friends (voluntarily) and we had a lot to talk about. Annie just spent the last 1.5 (!!) months travelling around Europe. She´s probably seen more than most Europeans 😉 Paris was her last stop before heading back to Seoul.
Great start to the vacation!
BLUE SKY AND SUNSHINE!! First time ever to have AMAZING weather in Paris. I met up with Annie at the station to take the RER (long distance metro) to Versailles. It is very convenient to take public transportation to Versailles Castle, since it´s cheap and quick. We went early to escape the masses. The entrance was free for me, Annie unfortunately had to pay since she is not a EU citizen (unfair). We headed to the castle and were stunned by it´s vastness! It´s huge!! When I think of Versailles I always think of the Treaty of Versailles for some reason ( History Higher lever heheh). Inside you get an audio guide in various languages (German for me ; Korean for Annie). The audio guide is great since you can walk at your own speed and look around as much as you want. There were some people in the castle but it wasn´t too crowded. The rooms were very impressive. So much gold and decorations! The king really wanted to have an impressive castle.
The garden is also huge, like everything in Versailles Castle. In summer it obviously is nicer, but in winter it also has it´s flair. We also visited Trianon (Grand and Petit), which are super cute little castles.
After spending 4 hours in Versailles we headed back to Paris. We had lunch close to Notre-Dame (for some reason we ended up in a restaurant with 60% Koreans!!) and walked around. We went to a shop (“Merci”) where apparently all Korean tourists go in order to buy a bracelet. Since I was walking around with a Korean, we obviously had to do exactly the same. I don´t think I´ve never seen so many Koreans in one single store !! Hilarious. Annie told me about the Korean hotspots in Paris and I was able to spot many of them around the city. Koreans are very easy to identify for me, since they all have the same style of clothing and hair cut. I had to smile ever time I saw Koreans (awww, lovely people). Another very popular thing to do in Paris if you are Korea is to go to a certain Pharmacy and shop till you drop. I think that this is a bit to extreme but if it makes people happy. I don´t think that Germans (or Europeans in general), google “souvenirs in Paris” and then buy the things that they have been told to buy. Cultural difference I guess. I would buy macaroons and a magnet or something, but I´m not as stylish as Koreans are.
We had dinner in a brasserie. Croque Monsieur (as french as it gets) and some drinks. I was not fully recovered from my cold, so headed back to the hostel afterwards.
We said farewell. Annie´s flight was on Saturday evening and before she wanted to do some more shopping. I had such a great time with her! Can´t wait to see her in summer.
Day 3 and Day 4
The next two days basically were all about Museums.
I visited 6 museums (3 a day). Since museums are free for people under 26, you should absolutely go to Paris whilst being that age! I cannot stress this enough, it will save you sooooo much money!
I love museums! I Love history! I love art!- Paris is a cultural heaven. Unfortunately the tickets for the Opera were so insanely expensive (surprise, not!) so I couldn´t go. However I really went to some great museums.
Musee D´Orsay: the building itself is super interesting and beautiful. The museums mostly has impressionist art ( all famous people are there).
Musee du Moyen Age: I went there simply cause I was in the area and my tour guide said I should go. It is worth it. Very interesting exhibitions about the middle ages. Better than expected.
Centre Pompidou: This museum has my favorite art: Modern Art (Expressionism and Impressionism). The exhibition had it all, only not Franc Marc (my favorite painter) but I can live with that.
Musee Rodin: I´m not a big fan of statues but Rodin definitely knows his stuff. The museums is in a beautiful village and had a great garden. So even if your not interested you have something to look at.
Musee d´Armee: Basically the war museum. Naja, the usual arms and weapons. I was bored and walked out after 30 minutes. If your interested in the “art” of warfare it might interest you more. Napoleon´s grave is there too.
Orangerie: Once in a lifetime you have to see Monet´s waterlilies! The huge paintings are amazing. The exhibition room was made just for the paintings. The rest of the collection is also worth a visit but the Monets are unbeatable!
Cemetery Pere-Lachaise: Not a museum but lots of history. All famous people are buried there (if you manage to find their graves). Mysterious atmosphere included.
I also did a Seine Boottour, it was soooo worth it. On Monday morning I took the bus back to Bordeaux.
Some tips about Paris:
- Download the metro app: saves a lot of time.
- Buy the day card (Saturday or Sunday) for the metro.
- Walking a bit more saves you a lot of money
- Do a Seine Cruise, I did that it was AMAZING. Such a great way to explore the city (and to relax your feet).
- Get up early! Tourists are lazy so you better be at the museums/sights when they open in order to have some peace. 9/10 is perfect.
- If you want to go to a concert, show etc. you have to book several months in advance.
- Randomly walk around Paris and explore: there´s so much to see
- Don´t be intimidated by the security checks or queues in front of the museums. Mostly only the security check takes a while.
Now I´m back in Bordeaux before heading to Barcelona. This vacation is all about big cities and reunions 🙂