Friday, February 13, 2009

Little girl, big city

I don't need to tell you that Paris is big. Huge. In French, enorme. I also don't need to tell you that, being something of a small-town girl, I feel like I'm about to go to the moon. I'm a little nervous, very excited, and doubtless will have lots of trouble sleeping tonight.

I've been to Paris before, but only for a couple of days (and as we went to the Louvre, the museum that never ends, most of one day was eaten up by that), and with a large group. The thing about traveling in a large group is that you tend not to notice things, being too distracted by what the people around you are saying/doing. As such, I don't remember a lot about Paris except thinking that the Mona Lisa was really tiny, being swept off my feet by the austere beauty of the cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris, and feeling weak because I was dehydrated (this time I have my trusty water bottle; and no I'm not afraid of Paris tap-water).

This visit to Paris will be drastically different. I will be with a friend, but no doubt he has certain things on his agenda that aren't on mine, and vice-versa. I have a lot of chocolate on my agenda. I'm guessing he doesn't. But the more I look at the metro map, the more confident I am that I'll be just fine. Paris is an amazingly accessible city, and thanks to a Paris guidebook that a friend is letting me borrow, I have detailed maps of the city and the transport systems. Being a student, I get discounts on museum tickets, although I only plan to visit 2 museums a day, max. Museums are great, and I'm a museum-goer if there ever was one, but to be honest, after looking at paintings for a couple of hours, sensory overload starts to set in and really impressive works of art become ho-hum.

But if you want to know what I'm really looking forward to (here comes nerdy little me again), it's just sitting and taking in the city. Sitting at fountains, in cafes, on park benches, and watching people walk by is what I want to do. I just want to be a sponge. I don't want to try to see everything in four days because that would be exhausting and disappointing (because there's no way you can see Paris in four days). I want to take my time, see, taste, smell, listen, be. Being is highly underrated.

I've already talked to at least 4 people who aren't going to Paris this weekend, but are planning to later in the semester, so I will doubtless have the opportunity to go back multiple times if I choose. And who knows, I may decide that four days of Paris is enough (or my wallet may decide that for me). I might rather see Belgium or Switzerland or Germany or Spain or, why not, Finland. Cities are nice, but I think I'll always enjoy the countryside more. So, I'm hoping that these four days when I will not be posting will whet your appetite and that you'll check in later next week for lots of photos and notes on Paris. A bientot!


Fiona said...

I hope you enjoy it. I love Paris. The Metro is easy, IMO, and you can certainly walk almost anywhere if you prefer. I crossed Paris once in 45 minutes - on foot. That was crazy, though, and I don't recommend it.

If you're at the Centre Pompidou and you need lunch, consider the Cafe Bouldogue. It's about 2 blocks away and really lovely. And if you get a chance to visit St. Eustache, near Les Halles, I think you'll find it more beautiful than Notre Dame.

Phillip said...

You must go to the Sainte-Chapelle. Stunning.