For the first time in my life I was in Paris. It was only one day, but it was enough to feel the spirit of Paris, and to want to visit it again.
Before the journey I made a little plan of what to do, but it had to be changed in place due to certain circumstances. But we still managed to fulfill some points of it.
We started the day by a visit to Centre Georges Pompidou. It was wonderful, especially the exhibition ‘Dreamlands’. What I remember most from it is an art installation ‘No one can stop a New Yorker’ – but there were many other wonderful art projects in there, too. No wonder we spent several hours in this centre of modern art – but it is possible to spend a whole day in there.
In every big city I go to I try to pay a visit to a local centre of modern art (CMA), as they reflect a part of local culture. Here, one whole floor is devoted to female artists and other minorities, and school visits are a very common thing. Also, a book shop in CMAs is a must to visit, as often they serve as an additional exhibition.
Next stop was Notre Dame. Even though we saw it only from the outside, it looks so majestic. Here I noted to myself: next time, go inside.
Shakespeare & Company is an English book shop recommended by Lonely Planet. It is nice, but I wouldn’t include it into a must-see-in-Paris list. However, if we came there on the time when the events take place, I would probably think differently. We spent there maybe half an hour, at the same time waiting for the rain to end. (Update November 2010: the Scanorama magazine (the one you find in SAS flights) was writing about this bookshop as well. Apparently it has a very long history and traditions, and there’s also a second level with a reading room and a piano. We missed it! Now we definitely have to return there some time.)
The Eiffel Tower. Probably the biggest tourist hot-spot, and I think it’s worth it. Wonderful view from the top. Here I made another note to self: next time, go here in the dark hours (as Lonely Planet recommends), as a view of lit-up Paris must be breathtaking.
At this point we couldn’t do anything from the plan, so we decided just to wander a bit. We chose to go see the Louvre at least from the outside, and this decision brought us into the middle of a massive flash-mob, called ‘Dîner en Blanc’ – ‘The White Dinner’. I can definitely say that this was the best part of the day. We weren’t dressed white and didn’t have treats with us, so we couldn’t join, but nevertheless watching all those white-dressed people was a remarkable experience. I would totally love to see such event take place in my hometown, Vilnius.
And this is all I’ve seen of Paris in one day.
Next time I’d like to go to Eiffel Tower during night, take a cruise down the Seine (also preferably during the night), go to the tower of Montparnasse (so that the Eiffel Tower would be visible in the photos:), visit the Notre Dame, go to other museums and galleries, and just explore the town.
Accommodation. We were living in a suite hotel near the Gare d’Austerlitz. While making your own breakfast is a nice thing on long vacations, a ‘normal’ hotel with breakfast is a more convenient choice when on short trips, in my opinion.
Other things about Paris:
- An incredible amount of homeless people on the streets
- A labyrinthine and old Metro without excalators and gates munching your luggage
- French hamburgers/cheezburgers are totally NOT like you would expect them to be.
Thanks for reading!