beautyfoodnerdrunningshoptravel

March 29, 2016

easter trip to paris - part 1

when my company landed on budapest for our basis of operation, i was pretty bummed out. we had been looking at london for several months and i was super stoked about that. i had previous co-workers in london, the language barrier is zero and the eurostar is right there. but budapest it was to be.

i quickly jumped on kayak and google maps searching for quick weekend trips. if i was going to be in europe for a year, i was going to make the most of it. the first 3 day weekend we had i decided to stay in town to get my apartment settled. traveling now is a bit more complicated since my kitty requires medication each day, but that's another, longer, post for later.

i'm not a terribly religious person, but i've always enjoyed the easter service at the church i grew up in. i haven't done much besides dinner with friends for easter since i've been in los angeles, i figured with the 3 day weekend, paris was as good a place as any to spend the holiday.

i've been to paris 2 times before, i've hit most of the typical tourist spots, so you won't get much of that here. this trip was all about what i wanted to see.

i had 2 days to get it all in. i landed in paris around 12:30pm and left monday mid-day. somehow, i managed to get everything that was really important to me taken care of.

when i began planning, i discovered that my carry on suitcase, which i've had for 7 years, is technically too large for many of the budget airlines. just to play it safe, i purchased a north face base camp duffle. i'd seen a family navigating the christmas crowds carrying them and thought it seemed like an excellent idea, i was right.

traveling solo female woman wanderlust europe backpack paris france the north face basecamp duffle
do i look legit?

day 1: saturday

i flew into charles de gual and made my way to the train terminal. i'd done come research and decided to purchase a 3 day metro card that covered zones 1-5. you can easily get around paris on just zones 1-3, but i was going to be taking the train to and from the airport, so i needed a bit more reach.

traveling solo female woman wanderlust europe backpack paris france metro north face
on the rer b from cdg to gare du nord

i decided to stay in monmartre, home of sacre coure and the moulin rouge. i've been to monmartre before, but never really explored that side of paris. i found a good (not great b/c holiday) rate at the hotel le monmartre saint pierre. it was a very small room but, i wasn't in it very much. small rooms are very much the norm in europe.

my plan for the day had been: drop my bags and head towards the catacombs. i've wanted to see the catacombs for a while now. my first trip, when i was 12, we were too late to take the tour and last trip, 7 years ago, my companion didn't want to go, lame. i dropped my bags, swapped out my small purse for my new budapest backpack (i'll post that later) and headed for central paris.

first stop was notre dame. i wasn't going in, but i wanted a specific photo. it occured to me when planning that my first trip to paris had been 20 years ago this very weekend. i decided to commemorate that with a duplicate photo.

traveling solo female woman wanderlust europe backpack paris france notre dame point zero vans from where i stand
paris revolves around me

this is point zero in front of notre dame, the geographical center of paris. all distances are measured from here. i did a quick walk around the cathedral, i've been up and in before.

traveling solo female woman wanderlust europe backpack paris france notre dame
notre dame

i made my way across the bridge to shakespear and co. my plan had been to get a copy of the little prince, which is one of my favorite stories, to leave behind in the apt i'm renting. i also hoped to photograph the stairs which read "live for humanity" but they weren't allowing photos inside. it was so crowded i did a quick in and out, no purchase, sad.

traveling solo female woman wanderlust europe backpack paris france shakespear and company book stores
such a long line, such a tiny space

by this time i was really hungry. i exchanged so usd for euros, should have done so in the airport b/c the exchange rate screwed me a bit, and went in search of food.

traveling solo female woman wanderlust europe backpack paris france food foodie cafe
i ate so much cheese

rather than take the train i decided to walk to the catacombs. this turned out to be a slight mistake. by the time i got there the line was too long for me to get in that day. i'm not sure the train would have made that much difference. i decided to get up early on easter and be there before they opened, hoping everyone would be at church.

missing the catacombs meant i was able to make it to bon marche, which i'd never been to. it's like bergdorf's for paris. the escalators and ceiling are awesome.

traveling solo female woman wanderlust europe backpack paris france bon marche shopping
bon marche

i hopped the train toward central paris and squeezed in a few more photo ops.

traveling solo female woman wanderlust europe backpack paris france pont alexandre 3
pont alexandre iii

traveling solo female woman wanderlust europe backpack paris france belgium je suis
showing love for belgium

by now it was nearly dinner time so i hopped the train back to monmartre. i did a full loop near the moulin rouge and settled on a spot that didn't have a wait and looked oddly familiar. it also featured baked camanbert as an entree so, score!

traveling solo female woman wanderlust europe backpack paris france cheese dinner
it's basically cheese fries

as i waited for my check, you have to flag the waiters down here and beg for it, i noticed a massive painting of amelie and that's when it hit me.

traveling solo female woman wanderlust europe backpack paris france monmartre deux moulin rouge amelie
cafe des deux moulins

ahh, flashbacks to film school and seeing quirky amelie for the first time, knowing i could never pull that off.

i wrapped up the night with a nutella crepe, from a tiny creperie wedged in between two restaurants, while i walked back to the hotel.

next week, day 2, aka: the day i spent with all the dead stuff.