Friday, August 5, 2016

paris: day one

I arrived in Paris in the early afternoon, and then, as I said earlier, I spent about three hours in my hotel room. I took a short nap and watched an episode of Orphan Black on Netflix (sidenote: in Paris, Netflix doesn't stream The Office, 30 Rock, OR The X-Files! Luckily I had two of my Office DVDs with me so CRISIS AVERTED.) I also spent a pretty good amount of time staring out my window, because THIS was my view:

I think this actually helped ease me out of the room, though, because seeing such a beautiful city waiting just outside your door makes it all the more difficult to stay cooped up inside. Now the next thing I did might seem kind of weird if you don't know me that well, but my very first stop in Paris was the Montmartre Cemetery.

It had been on my list of things I wanted to see in Paris before I knew where I'd be staying, but once I received my hotel assignment and realized I'd be one street away from the cemetery, I knew I *had* to stop there. It's the resting place of my favorite director, Francois Truffaut, so I visited his grave to pay my respects and then strolled through the grounds for a little while. It seems like a park, a lot of people meander through or sit on the benches situated along the cobblestone walkways under a beautiful canopy of trees.

It was such a peaceful, gorgeous place that I actually returned there on my last morning in Paris and sat down for a little while to write in my trip journal. There are cats that wander the grounds there (I legitimately had a 5 minute staring contest with one of them, it may have been the highlight of my whole trip.) so it helped calm my "I miss my cat!" feelings.

My mom brought me up to be okay with cemeteries. She likes to read the names on old headstones aloud, so that names that might have remained unspoken for centuries are still remembered. I'm so glad that I was raised this way -- to have a reverence and respect for cemeteries, to appreciate their beauty and be okay keeping company with the dead -- rather than to think of them as spooky, eerie or unsettling. If you're of the same mind as me, I'd highly recommend visiting this cemetery if you're ever in Paris. It was so beautiful, and even though they built a road above it it's still remarkably quiet and peaceful.

I kind of wandered aimlessly after that, and found a little bakery where I bought a baguette to munch on for the rest of the afternoon. Around 6pm I met up with the rest of my group for a planned dinner in Montmartre (it was pretty good, but definitely not my favorite meal of the trip) after which our guide led us on a walk around town to get acquainted with the area we were staying in. I regret that I didn't actually hang around in Montmartre after this -- I spent the majority of my free time in the Latin Quarter -- and I definitely want to rectify that when I go back. It seemed like such a beautiful, quaint part of the city and the views from Sacre Coeur were BREATHTAKING.

I feel ignorant admitting this, but I had no idea that it stayed light so late in Paris (and Rome.) When we got out of dinner it was around 9pm but it still looked like it was the afternoon! It didn't even begin to start looking like dusk until around 10pm. Whoever coined the term "magic hour" for sunset clearly must have been in Paris when they did so, because I've never seen a more magical sight in my life. Everything glows, and then it's tinged with the most beautiful blue. I don't even know if it's describable. On my last night in Paris I experienced this time of day at The Lourve and it was, hands down, my favorite part of the trip. I feel so dramatic saying this but I honestly could have wept at how beautiful it was.

outfit details: dress - modcloth (old) | shoes - blowfish | bag - vintage