Paris, France (Part Three)
Fifth day. My feet had recovered from their mammoth walk yesterday and managed to take me on another hectic sight-seeing day around Paris. First stop was Bastille, where there was a huge open air market selling everything you could think of. With some restraint I managed to only buy a handbag and some churros (cooked to order – best churros ever).
Next I visited the Pompidou Centre (modern art museum), fairly different to the previous museums I had visited in Paris. Firstly, the building was created "inside out", so all the pipes, escalators and scaffolding were on the outside. Secondly, there were so many styles of painting from 1900 onwards that it was hard to keep track of them all. Definitely more of a fan of the works prior to 1945 rather than the more recent creations (I really did try to interpret their pieces, but generally they were lost on me). The other great thing about the museum (other than the art) was that it offered fantastic views over the city.
I caught a train up to Montmarte (I wasn't climbing the hill again) and met up with Danny. We decided to be really touristy and have a our portrait drawn by one of the artists in the main square. Major regret. The drawing itself wasn't bad, it just seemed to be of two people that weren't us. It will probably stay tucked away for eternity so we don't remind ourselves of how much money we spent on a portrait of two strangers.
From Montmarte we walked down the hill and back into the centre of Paris, where I strolled around randomly while Danny went to the Musee de Vin, which covered the history of wine and wine-making. Danny was pretty happy with it, especially as he scored a free glass of wine at the end. When I heard this I was a little jealous I didn't go too.
Lastly we (finally) made our way up the Eiffel Tower. We picked a perfect day, with a little blue sky around and, most importantly, it wasn't raining. We impatiently waited in line for about an hour before eventually travelling right to the top. It. Was. Amazing. The views went on forever in every direction, over a sea of buildings that looked exactly the same height and exactly the same beige colour. Unfortunately it was absolutely freezing, so we spent a lot of time indoors trying to warm up. We arrived at 6 p.m., when it was still light and decided to hang around until 7 p.m. so we could see the lights of Paris too. The view from here was way better than the Arc de Triomphe. It was incredibly touristy, but it was obvious why this was such a popular attraction.
We tried to catch the train back home but the train gods were against us again. It broke down at a midway station, which we were stuck at for half an hour. Like our first adventures on the Paris train system, we had no idea what the announcements were saying and how long we would be stuck here. By this stage it was 9 p.m. and we were starving, so our dinner came from the vending machine on the platform: potato chips, a waffle (disgustingly dense and sugary) and Madeleine sponges (quite good). Not the most nutritious dinner but it did the job.
Last day in Paris and guess what I did? Disneyland!!
The day didn't start great. I made toast for breakfast under the grill (which is inside the oven, under the stove) and I didn't think about the laptop sitting on top of the stove. The smell of melting plastic alerted me to my mistake. While it was so deformed that I could see all the working parts inside the laptop, incredibly it still worked.
After the laptop debacle I then went head to head with the Paris public transport system yet again. They say that the French train network is the best in the world. I would beg to differ. Three trains and two hours later, I arrived at Disneyland Paris. I swear the people who run the RER in France are the same people who run the trains in Melbourne.
Danny stayed home to do some housework (like a good housewife) while I had a fantastic time. It was another chilly day (6ºC) but thankfully it didn't rain. I thought it might be quiet, being a weekday in winter, but I was completely wrong. Thousands of other people were all thinking along the same lines. The average wait for a ride was 45 minutes, which I was crazy enough to do. There were eight rides under the 'thrill' category, the only category I would even consider. Two of these managed to break down while I was waiting in line for them - I had already waited for 70 minutes for one ride before hearing the news. The other six rides were fantastic, so I guess they made up for the busted ones. One ride advertised a short line for single riders (i.e. loners like me) so the wait time was only 15 minutes - best idea ever. The whole place was fairly tacky, very American and catering for kids but I loved it. Disneyland has been on my bucket list for a long, long time and now I can finally cross it off.
For dinner we chose an Italian restaurant, primarily because it was just around the corner from the caravan park. We were the only ones in the restaurant, which is never a good sign. We both ordered pizza and they turned out to be probably the best pizzas we had ever tasted. They were enormous, cheesy and absolutely delicious. I wish I could have taken the restaurant with me for the rest of the trip.
On the morning we departed Paris I started with run along the river. I don't think I have ever run in such chilly conditions - it was absolutely freezing. My eyes were watering the whole time from the cold air, so it must have looked like I was bawling my eyes out to the thousand other runners I passed. Afterwards I enjoyed a nice, long, hot shower, possibly my last for a few days.