I woke up at a leisurely hour for my first full day in France, lovely weather, perfect for a run. One of the reasons I took up running was so I would be able to explore places I visited faster than walking and yet more closely than biking or driving. For Paris, I had it in my head to run along the Seine, so I headed in that direction. My table neighbors at the Pig’s Head (I’ll always call it that because of the sign) suggested a route but… I’m terrible at directions and ended up meandering all over the city, nearly ten miles according to my app.
What a great way to see Paris, stopping to take plenty of photos along the way. I have a very bad habit of running much farther than I intend to at the beginning–I only meant to take a half hour jog, but became so mesmerized by PARIS that I kept going until suddenly I realized I was miles from the hotel. Without my prepurchased Metro ticket, sadly. This screen cap from my running app still amazes me, my “Paris crack run,” since being in Paris was as stimulating (or so I hear).
Place de la Republique was freshly graffitied with messages connected to the Charlie Hebdo tragedy. I was surprised to see that this sort of thing was allowed–big difference between American monuments and French. On I went, in search of the Tuileries, the Seine, anything gorgeous to run along or through. But anywhere in Paris will do, or so it was on this the first full day of my first visit.
As for my garden run… well, it was not till much later that I looked at the map and realized it was the garden of the Palais Royale. The layout fooled me, from the little I knew of the Tuileries. Here’s my vid of the experience:
So many charming sidewalk cafes of course. But also such surprises everywhere I turned. It was just SO MUCH PARIS, all so French and very exciting for me to finally be able to take in after so many years of dreaming about this visit.
Beautiful old churches, majestic buildings, charming details…
Finally I managed to find my hotel, picking up a baguette mixte and pain au chocolat along the way. I devoured them in my room as I rested, stretched, and cleaned up before heading out for some leisurely sightseeing. This time I brought my prepurchased Metro day pass to cut down on the walking. It looks like a regular paper ticket, but it allows you to access the Metro and buses all over the city… unless you happen to get it anywhere near your cell phone, as I discovered the hard way. The second or third time I went to use it, the gate just buzzed at me instead of opening. Fortunately, most of the stations have humans working in them, so I turned toward the booth by the gate. For the first time I happened to notice a placard, asking the relevant question: “Votre billet est demagnetise?” with a jolly looking cartoon figure holding a ticket. There was more information written there, including something about not storing your ticket near a cell phone. No one tells you this! I thought I was out of luck, but the attendant didn’t seem too concerned. She said she couldn’t replace it, but she would open the gate for me.
What about the rest of the day though? I thought more about what she said, and realized that maybe she meant she was unable to replace it. The attendant in the next station was able to take care of it for me, and I was able to make my way all over the city for the rest of the day, my precious pass carefully stowed far away from my cell phone.
[pics, pics, pics]
All I could think about though was how badly I wanted to come back to this wonderful city, to explore it more at my leisure.