Friday, 9 September 2011

Day 1, Part 2

We arrived at Gare Du Nord station around 8pm, exhausted, excited, and expectant young tourists. My very first  impression was that Paris was very hot and humid! I hadn't expected that at all, for some reason.
It was a little bewildering getting off the train, surrounded by throngs of Francophones, with automated recordings playing in French, and all information written in FRENCH. We eventually wandered out of the station and started our short journey to our hostel, Le Regent Montemarte.
It was our first real trek loaded with our full backpacks, and we quickly learned the importance of proper weight distribution and tightening of straps!
This is actually taken in London, but the point is:
that bag is heavier than you might think. 
Our trusty guidebook, Let's Go: Europe!, informed us Montemarte was the "Bohemian" neighbourhood, and as far as hostel research was concerned it was the slightly sketchier part of the city. We loved it! I thought it had a pretty cool vibe, and lots of interesting shops and places to eat. I kind of wish we had spent more time there!

Brit met the challenge with a smile.
After we registered at Le Regent and dropped off our bags, we decided to head out and see some of the nearby sights. This included the Sacré Cœur Basilica, a beautiful cathedral perched on Paris' lone hill. At least it felt like that was the only hill! We earned the surreal views by climbing a bazillion stairs (yes, I counted). 
It wouldn't fit inside my viewfinder!
There were entertainers and live music, and plenty of street vendors selling tiny Eiffel Towers on keychains. I don't know what the occasion was, or whether they did that all the time just because they were Parisian and lived in a beautiful city. Seems like a good enough reason to celebrate, to me. 
I had no idea Paris was so flat! The Basilica is situated at the highest point of the city.
After snapping some photos and taking a peek inside, we wandered back down the hill and enjoyed a relaxing evening strolling the streets of Paris (!) and reveling in the novelty of it all. Its such a gorgeous city!
We took pictures of side streets, because we were tourists and we think its pretty.
Eventually we headed towards the "Red Light District" to see the famed Moulin Rouge. It was....interesting. Not the sort street you would want to walk with your grandmother, I guess. Not quite the same as Amsterdam, but still raises a few eyebrows. After I got my picture, we agreed to make our way back to the hostel since it was getting late. 

To Be Continued in...Sightseeing in Paris. 


britt. said...

I love just thinking of the moment when we took those hardcore backpacker pictures. Haha! Sooo tired.

Jill.and.Regis said...

I KNOW!!! HA HA!! Its too bad you weren't prepared when I had my LEGIT H-CORE backpacker face on! ;)