I’m half way through writing Paris: The Prequel but I’m determined to actually do a half decent job of blogging about the trip this time. Plus it makes it easier when I come to write articles and things, because I actually have a record that’s better than my notebook.
I’ve been quite nervous about traveling alone. I’ve never done it before you see, but it’s a fear that I did really need to overcome at some point. I’m more likely to start traveling alone for work over the next year or so, so being self sufficient in an alien country is a good thing.
Of course I wasn’t traveling completely alone, I was with my classmates from university. But I don’t know any of them that well really and I’m staying in an apartment on my own, away from the group. So that added some extra challenges.
I managed to get about 800 words of an essay written on the Eurostar, which was a promising start to the week. It’s not for this Paris module, it’s for my Culture, Gender and Sexuality module. I’m writing 2000 words discussing if feminist methodologies in art history are outdated, and arguing for a new queer methodology instead. It’s interesting – if you like that kind of thing.
Gare du Nord was an eye-opener. It seems on the Paris Metro you can just hold doors open for people, and in fact this is utterly normal. Just wedging stuff in the doors so that they can’t physically close, sometimes delaying the train by minutes. Once going the trains are pretty much like the London Underground. But with smaller turnstiles (clearly, France does not like fat people) and with marginally more odeur de piss. And beggars. Gypsy beggars. Everywhere.
Finding the apartment was largely uneventful. I’m the street behind Bastille which is a bit of a score to be honest. I mean, this is how close I am:
That’s the Paris Opera down in the bottom right hand corner. The apartment itself is functional. It’s a single room with a shower room basically. But it’s fine for me to stay in for a few days and then for Adam to join me later in the week. It was dead cheap, it worked out about £300 for a Saturday to Sunday stay (there’s a £300 a night hotel just around the corner…). The hotels in this area of the city were much more than £40 a night! The walls are a little thin, I can hear my neighbour when they run the water, but frankly I’m not complaining. I’d quite happily come here again – and if I can get a cheap Eurostar ticket later in the year I may well do so. The wifi is more than good enough for me to work from in the summer.
Anyway. I met up with the guys from uni and we were treated to a bit of a guided tour around the Seine. We checked out some old medieval streets, a wonderful backstreet full of kebab shops (Rue de la Huchette) and a vegetarian falafel stall, some bridges, some doorways, Notre Dame and the Louvre. Then five of us went and had crepes to celebrate being in France.
Now I’m in bed, exhausted. Having got up at 0530hrs and walked 18km.
Some pictures with brief notes – enjoy!