More than anywhere else in the world, Paris was the place I had always wanted to visit. You know what they say about getting your expectations up too high? Well, that sort of happened. I don't know if it's because it was so grey every day I was there, or because I had been on my own over a week already, or because I found getting around the city really confusing (getting pick-pocketed and harassed by men a lot probably didn't help, either...) but I didn't quite have the picture perfect Paris trip that I expected. Although, after speaking with some friends who had travelled to Paris before, most of them also had the same impression.
That being said, I still have some pretty great memories from it, and I'm sure within 6 months or so I'll only be remembering the good things. I would likely go again, but with someone else this time so that I feel more comfortable walking around alone (the pick pocketing really put me on edge for the rest of my time there), and maybe with more money allocated for food (food is so expensive! 4 euro for one tiny cup of yogurt!).
I got to walk along the Seine while there was one of the most gorgeous sunsets I had ever seen and then arrived at the Eiffel Tower just as the lights turned on, and I got to walk in the rain in Paris at night like I had always wanted (more than a few times, since it rained practically every day). I got to see The Undertones which was really great, and went to this crazy dance night in this indoor/outdoor venue (the walls were just windows and the floor was just the cobblestone roads) to see some friends of mine DJ at 4am. I ate crepes, and escargots, and baguettes, and wine, and cheese, and macaroons. I went to Versailles, and to the top of the dome of Sacré Coeur, I visited a Dali museum, I stayed in the heart of Montmartre, I went to the Louvre (when there was almost no one there, which was amazing), and got to see this incredible exhibit of artistic depictions of demons, witches, vampires, and other ghoulies at the Musée d'Orsay. I took a boat ride along the Seine, and went to Notre Dame.
I really wish I had known that pretty much everything but museums close on Sundays (even restaurants, which made eating difficult) so that I could have done the museums on Sunday instead of other days since I ended up doing basically nothing at all on Sunday [I had already done a lot of just random wandering and since nothing was open, and my feet were killing me, I took that day to just lounge around the hostel] I also missed out on going to the Catacombs because I had planned to do it Sunday, but it was closed, and was also closed on Monday and I was leaving that afternoon...sigh. Make sure to check when things are open!
The last thing I did in Paris, was eat a baguette with cheese in view of the Eiffel Tower. It's all I really wanted.
I also got to visit Dijon, which was amazing. It was more of the quaint feel I was expecting from Paris that I didn't really get, so it was definitely a worthwhile side trip (mostly done because a friend of mine was living there since she was doing a year of school abroad). My friend took me on the owl trail - basically they have a ton of little owl plaques all over the city and you follow them to find different culturally or historically significant landmarks around the city. At the end, you rub a golden owl on a church for good luck. So cute! I'll finish up this picture-heavy post with some of my favourite pics from Dijon.
Have you been to Paris before? Was it everything you had expected? What would you recommend to do differently to get a better experience?