As much as I’d like to imagine that I’ve assimilated into Parisian culture and look like a local, I realize that’s sooo not the case. I’m the typical tourist, and I can guarantee that any Paris local can spot me coming from a mile away. Although I’m visiting parts of Paris that many tourists don’t see or aren’t interested in, I am visiting all of the typical tourist locations. The past couple of days have been spent walking all over the city, going from the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and various parks like the Champs Elysees. I love walking around the city and recommend that everyone explore Paris this way. It’s really the best way to find unique shops and cafes that are tucked away and hidden between the tiny streets.
Yesterday, my sister’s sixteenth birthday, we took the train to Versailles. This is when we really let our tourist flag fly. What was supposed to be only a 35 minute trip by train ended up taking almost three hours. Unfortunately the train system is not as simple to navigate as the Metro. We got on the wrong train and went about 45 minutes in the opposite direction. When we realized that we may not be on the right train we asked the only other people in our train car (four police officers) how to get to Versailles. They chuckled and informed us that we were not on the right train at all. We got off at the next stop and they were kind enough to escort us to the correct train that would bring us back to the station we wanted. When we finally made it back to the station in the city we disembarked and walked to our new train. After two minutes though I realized that yet again we were headed in the wrong direction. We stood dumbfounded looking at the map in the train car, trying to figure out WHERE we had gone wrong. Three men with accordions realized our predicament and told us to follow them after the next stop. Hoping the third time would be the charm, we followed our accordion playing friends to our third and final train. From there it was smooth sailing and we arrived (much later than we had expected) at our destination.
So although I may try to blend in with the locals and hide my blatant tourist appearance I’m accepting of the fact that it’s almost impossible. The map in my hand and nikon around my neck will always give me away.
Description of photos starting at the top and going from left to right:
1. waiting area for the metro
2. Street performer near the Notre Dame. He was dancing with and bowl of goldfish on his head. I have to give him credit for being creative, and not killing the goldfish. (yet)
3. Another performer, by the Sacre Coeur Catherdral. He was standing on a railing at first bouncing a soccer ball between his feet. His moves were quite impressive given that he was standing in such a precarious place. And if the railing wasn’t impressive enough, he then proceeded to climb the lamp post with the ball on his head and then continue with the dribbling while hanging from the top.
4. Me in front of G. Detou, a baking and pastry ingredient store frequented often by my favorite Parisian blogger, David Lebovitz
5. Beautiful fountain located in Luxembourg Park
6-11. The gardens of Versailles. Everything was absolutely gorgeous and it was a beautiful warm day which made enjoying the gardens even easier.