Bonjour Paris

Paris, day deux.

After being totally knackered from day one’s marathon walk through the city, we kept day two a bit more low-key, with one important addition:

We took the Metro.

As I’ve mentioned numerous times, I rather enjoy public transit. I think it’s a great way to really experience a place when travelling, and I’ve tried to take some form of transit in every place that I’ve visited. Personal favourites include:

  • Learning colourful local slang on the national bus in New Zealand
  • Celebrating Mardi Gras with some very drunk locals on the CityRail in Sydney
  • The skincare commercials on the Bangkok subway that informed me that pale skin was in
  • Going anywhere on the Tube in London
  • Acting out the stops I needed on the bus in Berlin

The Paris Metro is famous for being one of the densest metro networks in the world, with a few different styles of trains – some, like the first photo, are double-deckers (much like in Sydney). Others reminded me of being on an old-style rollercoaster as the cars have rubber tires and the ride is a tad bumpy. It also carries about double Toronto’s total population each day on its 16 lines (yesterday I said 14 – after looking at it I realized there are in fact two minor lines as well. SIXTEEN LINES!).

So when we set out for our first trip on the Metro, it did take a few minutes to figure out A)where we had to change lines and B)what colour/number the line was. For when you look at the system map, many of the colours are awfully similar. Throw me a bone here, Paris. What do colourblind people do??

Miraculously, we didn’t get lost, and made our way to our first stop – a picnic underneath the Eiffel Tower! Armed with essentials (chips and wine) we popped into a boulangerie to grab sandwiches for our picnics. Much to my amazement, I found a sandwich that wasn’t just cheese – thank you, kind sandwich maker, for adding tomato, egg and lettuce to that delicious baguette. For unknown reasons, however, the cashier refused to sell water to Megan, despite her efforts. It was like a comedic sketch:

Megan: “Je voudrais…de l’eau”
Cashier: “Non.”
Megan: “Non? De l’eau?” (points to fridge full of water)
Cashier: “Non.”
Megan: “Perrier??” (points to bottles of Perrier next to water)
Cashier: “Non. Next.”

So no water for Megan. We went to a corner store to grab some instead, totally miffed. And then picnic time!

Not shown – the wine which we had to skillfully hide, as apparently you can’t drink under the Eiffel Tower unless you purchase the beer from one of the vendors onsite. Crafty.

We loafed for a bit on the lawn, taking in the sunshine and the sound of tribal drums (it is a tourist attraction, so I wasn’t surprised), before heading to Galeries Lafayette – another fancy-pants department store. And when I say fancy, I mean it:

How am I supposed to go shopping at the Eaton Centre now, Paris? It’s not like slapping berets on those geese is going to make it any classier.

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4 thoughts on “Bonjour Paris

  1. Love Paris and their baguettes. People actually walk around with baguettes. Under their arms. In their hands, taking a bite as they walk. So stereotypically Parisian.

    1. I know! I loved counting the number of baguettes that people had. I wanted to carry one somewhere, just so someone might think…”she’s so French”.

  2. Oh man and I thought Toronto transit was confusing. I’m screwed if I ever go to Paris (without you by my side!). That map makes my retinas ache!

    What the eff was with the shopkeeper not letting Megan buy water???! I’m sure there was a method to his/her Parisian madness…maybe de l’eau is only for locals, not foreigners?!

    1. I still have no idea why she refused to sell her water! It was too funny.

      And yes, the Metro map was massive! It actually made sense once you got the hang of it and if you squinted enough to see the difference between colours (i.e. magenta and hot pink).

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