Encore, un week-end magnifique avec tous les garçons et les filles d’Erasmus. Arriving vendredi matin, leaving dimanche dans l’afternoon. We were 10/11/12: – JB (&Kate&Sister) – Maman Nancy – Aurélie – Luca – Doris – Martin – Annemiek – Steve – Julian – et moi et moi et moi.
Annemiek and I took le premier train á destination de Paris. Leaving early also meant arriving early, but it also meant: getting up early, VERY early. Rolling out of bed straight into the Thalys, where we continued to rest our eyes for a while. After Bruxelles-Midi we decided it was time for some café, so we took a little exploration trip to the on board restaurant. Needless to say it was very exciting, and the coffee was not. Luckily Paris was getting closer and closer, gradually introduced by the French countryside.
Arriving at Paris-nord at 9:35 left us feeling very touristic with our suitcases and no clue about where to go. We got us some Metro tickets for the weekend (it took us only an hour!) and headed towards Châtelet (stairs!) and transferred to Les Gobelins. After we got out we went straight into sunshine, Parisian sunshine. The best sunshine in the world. Looking for a sign saying: ‘Oops! Hostel’ we walked down the street a bit, and just as we decided to ask quelqu’un dans la rue about the place, there it was.
The welcoming committee was already waiting for us; cheering and singing (…) as we walked in there. Hugs and kisses and happiness happened, then dropping off our luggage and heading toward the city, finalement!
Monsieur JB (Parisian depuis quelques années) took us to a street that reminded me of a tiny, old, French town: Rue Mouffetard in the 5th arrondisement. We strolled down the market upwards the little street, and sat down somewhere halfway, to enjoy a little café with a petit lunch in the sun. It was lovely.
After letting the French feeling digest for a minute we decided to get moving again. Next stop: Panthéon! Now this is a special place, filled with the spirits of Voltaire, Hugo, Rousseau, Curie and many others.We followed them down into the crypte, where the air was cool and it smelled like earth. After letting those spirits inspire us we were craving for some sun and hurried out to a very special lady…
After calling myself a semi-Parisian, but not having actually climbed the Eiffel Tower, seen the Notre Dame nor the Panthéon, that title obviously didn’t really suit me. After this trip however… I am a little closer! So, my introduction to the Notre Dame was wonderful; bright sunshine, not too busy and a guy feeding birds with breadcrumbs from allover his body…. Especially the last part made this a memory I will forever cherish. After being in the presence of the dame for a while we welcomed Kate, Julie and Steve to the group! I’d never had the chance to meet him in Sweden, so another Erasmus buddy for me! We then continued our route into the Jewish district; Le Marais. Cutesy streets and many little shops that were yelling my name to get the hell in and spend all my argent. Although, maman Nancy and Luca were arriving around the same time so we decided to get back to the hostel, and catch them on their way in. After arriving we checked into our room, leaving us with this view…..
IIIIII KNOWWW! Truly amazing! I’ve never had a hotel with a view on the Eiffel Tower. Catching up, relaxing, making beds and improving our French looks were followed by another trip into the city. The gals and guys split up, doing whatever and cruizing around Haussman BLVD, the Louvre (Bonjour Mona L.), some Arc, and a bridge full of lovebirds.
We met again around 7 near a nifty little street called: Rue des Mauvais Garçons (street of the badddd boys!), where JB booked us a table at a similar named restau. Right before the wine Aurélie joined us, together with some of her friends. Altogether we had a great first night there… Then… exhaustion got on my mind, and we decided to call it a day. And so did the Eiffel Tower.
So… our first petit-déjeuner in Paris (yes including croissants) we enjoyed on the streets. The breakfast room was pretty full and the weather was good so we decided to have it outside. Sitting on the bench we let the Parisians pass us by, wishing us ‘bon appétit’ and continuing their daily rituals. Then we met the group at the entrance of the hostel, so we could take the metro altogether to the Eiffel Tower. We moved their in no time, like we were locals! That the train was going in the opposite direction and we were an hour late could’ve happened to any Parisian, non? Aurélie was already sunburned once we got there, so we took a quick glance at the Eiffel Tower (woooooooooooooow), took a gazillion of pictures and then crossed the street to Trocadero (although the skaterboys are really all I can remember of that). Then we took a metro to my fravorite part of Paris: Montmartre.
Off metro (extremely fatigué because of all the stairs and transfers etc. etc.) and onto the small Montmartresque streets to the top. First stop: le boulanger. Second stop: The Sacre Coeur. Big plus: a view over the city in the sun, since I have only experienced this view accompanied by lots of clouds, fog and rain. Sat there for a while dreaming of the day that I could spot my maison from there… lit a candle dans l’eglise and then hurried down the stairs, through the park and into the streets, where we found a café to restore the caffeine/alcohol/fluid levels in our bodies.
Energy restored means up and running to the next attraction: Parc des Buttes Chaumont, where we laid ourselves to rest once again. It’s hard to deny that we’re all getting older, and in order to pursue an active program we really need our little naps. To be honest this park looked more like a tiny forest than a park, it was full of hills (steep!), lakes, rocks (and ponies) etc.
Around 6 we got back to the hostel to get ready for our fancy dinner at maison JB & Kate & Tipsy.
It was truly French (with an Italian twist) including: pizza, baguettes, du fromage, paté, du vin rouououge and homemade perroquets (water, Pastis & sirop de menthe)! A truly special sensation I must say… Filled up we decided it was time for a partyyyyy! Back to Montmartre, to Le Bus Palladium, for a concert of Lolito. Surrounded by fancy dressed and fine looking gens, overpriced alcohol and all the best of the ’70/’80-ies, it rooooocked!
Dancing in the heart of Paris until tha breakka dawn, so no metro pour nous anymore. Monsiour Taxi was kind enough to give us a ride home.
Waking up sore footed, slightly tired but energetic enough to get started on the last day. Time flies during such weekends, that’s always the sucky part about it being just a weekend. Hurried down for our second and last breakfast (inside this time) and then we had our first goodbye, tschuss actually. Doris was leaving. Then it was time for us to pack our bags as well and store them in the luggage closet for the day. We were hoping to do some shopping but alas, closed, fermé, dicht! Strolled around Place Vendôme, l’Opéra, Jardin des Tuileries and then towards… Avenue des Champs-Élysées.
This was a nice end of our Parisian adventure. Annemiek and I left the group around 3 to get back to the hostel and pack our bags. Although not in luck of any big purchases we did get to manage to get some carte postales, timbres et des petits souvenirs. We arrived at Paris-nord very much on time, bought some French lit. and viennoiseries for the train and made a promise to the city to come back. On the ride back we looked back to each others pictures and even though we were tired, the energy level was still very much up. That’s always the big Erasmus reunion paradox; exhaustion yet energized, and very much looking forward to yet another one of those!