Arrived in Paris at Gare du Nord after sleeping most of the way from UK to France. Completely missed coming out of the tunnel into France but oh well.
Two interesting human observations on the train:
1) Everytime someone talked remotely louder than usual, or someones phone rang, the lady next to me kept mumbling under her breath 'Infuriating!'...'Terrible!'...'Is it going to be like this the whole way?!' If she had a problem with it she should have said something.
2) Waiting for the toilet in between the carriages and a mother was telling off her daughter (who was no older than 6) . It went... 'We are on a nice train going to Paris for a nice holiday and you are being a little b****' I think whatever the little girl was doing there is probably only one person she could have pick it up from, her mother.
Anyway, back to my trip... Arrived at the hostel which sits next to a river (could be part of the Seine, not too sure). Place is pretty busy, and the elevator is SLOW so every day I climb up and down 5 floors (I guess its good for the buttocks and thighs).
At 6pm I went on another Sandeman's New Europe Free Walking Tour. This is the same company that did the ones in London as well. Technically they are not free, but you pretty much tip your guide at the end of the tour and you give him/her however much you feel like the tour was worth. I think they are pretty good because the tour guides really know their history of the region so they tell stories and not just show you around. They also have ones in Amsterdam and Berlin which I think I will do too. (I just gave them some free advertising there didn't I?)
The 6pm tour was of the Montemarte area. This area is where the artists like Van Gogh and Picasso used to chill out and also where the red light district is. (Moulin Rouge is here too).
The tour covered:
• The Artists' Square
• Montmartre Vineyard: Paris's last authentic vineyard
• Van Gogh's House
• Café des Deux Moulins (from the movie Amélie)
• Basilica Sacré Coeur (a beautiful church with the highest view of Paris)
• The Moulin Rouge
• Paris's Red Light District
• Paris's last surviving windmills - all were destroyed by the enemies because at the time the windmills were used to grind buckwheat which was part of the Parisians diet.
• Picasso's Studio
• The incredible legend of Paris's first bishop, headless Saint Denis
• Renoir's world-famous painting, Bal au Moulin de la Galette
• Toulouse Lautrec and French can-can dancers
• Lapin Agile - the cabaret bar where Picasso often exchanged paintings for food
• La Place Dalida, dedicated to one of Paris's most famous gay icons
Always wanted to go see Basilica Sacre Couer and it was definatey worth it. The building wasn't as white as it is in pictures because the stone that it is built with is self cleaning, but only after a big douse of rain. Inside is also pretty amazing, wasn't allowed to take photos like St Pauls Cathedral in London, but again.. absolutely stunning.
Outside the basilica the view on Paris was amazing as well. Paris is pretty flat though.
Another quirk of the area are random tiles stuck onto random buildings of Space Invaders, yes, the ones from Atari. Apparently some guy goes around places at night, and puts these up where they are not allowed. He is trying to put one everywhere around the world and apparently there is also one on the Sydney Opera House and the Forbidden City. You can go here to see more: http://www.space-invaders.com/
Anyway the weather here is actually quite chilly. Left NZ to escape the cold but its not much better here. Nice when the sun comes out though. Met some kiwis today on the tour today... way more than London.. must all be congregated here. They weren't hard to spot... One had an All Blacks jersey, another one had a Black Caps one, and the remaining had Kathmandu backpacks haha.
Till next time.