A Love Hate Relationship with Paris

9:37:00 PM Brooke Neal 0 Comments

 We took the overnight train from Munich into Paris.  It is a super convenient way to travel, but honestly it does not provide the best night's rest. 

We left Munich Saturday night and arrived in Paris Sunday, Easter Morning.  After checking  into our apartment we spent the day walking around the Marais neighborhood.  We visited the Jewish Holocaust Memorial where they were celebrating something.  This parade of drummers and soldiers walked past us. 


 Walking up to the Sacred Heart Basilica.

 This church looks really old, but it's not.  We sat down for a few minutes inside to hear the organ playing then left to continue exploring.
All over town there are these water fountains.  It's a good way to avoid paying for bottled water.
 Was it Pablo Picasso who lived here?  I can't remember, but it was some famous painter.

 Van Gogh's home


I had a love/hate relationship with Paris. It was beautiful! The gardens and parks are wonderful to walk through, one can easily imagine parosoled women strolling down the lanes. The architecture is a feast for the eye; everywhere you look there is something nice to look at, but I was surprised at how dirty the city was. People don't pick up after their dogs, the subways (however efficient) were dirty, and every public toilet was dirty and smelly, even the ones with an attendant. I was super annoyed by all the people and LINES, LINES, LINES.

I think the advantage of living in Paris is you get to do the touristy stuff in small doses where someone like myself was trying to cram the week with as much as possible. A friend told me, "don't try to do all the museums, just enjoy the city." Now I understand why. We were so busy trying to check things off our list (the same list every other tourist in town had) that we left little time for simple wandering with no destination in mind. I think I would have enjoyed the city more in smaller doses.

The museums do not disappoint, but after a while you just don't appreciate what you are viewing. You're like,"oh, another Monet". The day Bob and I went to the Orsay I wasn't feeling well, so we stayed only long enough to walk the main floor then left. We didn't even see the Manet exhibit because that required a timed ticket and I didn't feel up to waiting.
We were blessed with good weather though which was nice and the evening boat ride was great. Loved seeing the city lit up at night and wished I was 21 touring with Bob sans children. All the kissing lovers on the bridges and park benches were romantic. We had no problem with the people, although we didn't interact with many outside of tourist places. Versailles was a zoo and after hearing so much about it, I was expecting a palace built of solid gold. Fact is, I've been to many royal palaces/retreats/cottages/residences lately and they all look about the same. Versailles trumps them in size, but they all bought their furniture from France, the beds look the same, they all paint the ceilings with some mythical scene and they all have fancy tables and cabinets. The gardens were fantastic though and if I could go again I'd go on a weekend when the fountains are running and spend the entire day just wandering the grounds.

Probably our best day was spent at Paris Disney. I had zero expectation because I'm not into amusement parks, but my kids were thrilled and in the end I even liked the rides. Plus, it was nice to have fun with the girls. They endured the museums, but at Disney they smiled and laughed, we all did.

So, yes we enjoyed ourselves, but next time I would go for a weekend without my children and without any set itinerary other than eat good food, (treats) walk around and shop. We did almost zero shopping despite the plethora of stores.

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