While in the States we found BlaBlaCar.com, a ride-sharing website that seemed popular in Europe. We tried it in California but no one seemed to use it. The train from London to Paris was almost 100 euros each so we were happy to find a rideshare that was only 70 euros for the both of us. We met up with our driver at 6am and two French girls and a guy joined us in the van. It was early so no one really talked, but our driver buzzed through the busy London streets with ease and we soon found ourselves in the British countryside, flat land with trees and small villages with farms of corn and sheep. I soon fell asleep and before I knew it we were at the white cliffs of Dover waiting in line for the ferry to France.
Once on the boat everyone woke up and started talking. Kindred spirits, we talked about our plans and they taught us some last-minute French. We were soon out in the English Channel and before we knew it the hour-and-a-half trip was over and we were docking on the shores of mainland Europe.
The French countryside reminded us of Ohio with its flat, never ending corn fields. We both fell asleep again and soon were on the edge of Paris in terrible traffic. Our driver dropped us off a few blocks from where we would spend the night CouchSurfing and since our host was not home until nighttime we stopped at one of the many cafes for our first wine and cheese of the trip.
Paris was so different than what we were used to. Everyone sits outside on chairs that all face the street. The locals can spend an hour drinking an espresso and chain smoking. Sitting down and having this relaxing lunch time is a very important part of their day. After work, everyone is walking home with a baguette or two; the bread is amazing here.
The next day, despite having all day passes for the Metro, we ending up doing a whole lot of walking. I can’t remember ever seeing so many famous things in one day. Drum roll…
Pont des Arts bridge over the Seine river in Paris. The locals ask people to NOT put locks on the bridge because the weight of the locks is about to collapse the bridge.
I cannot even guess how many locks are already there. I would bet more than a million.
Carrie at the tower. We had a nice picnic in this park.
The Arc de Triomphe. It’s surrounded by the worlds most impressive round-a-bout.
The Moulin Rouge
Sacre-Couer (Sacred Heart)
The view from Sacré-Coeur in the Montmartre district
Monument where the Bastille used to stand
Yes, the French can be a little grumpy – especially when your French is as bad as ours. But they grow on you and we soon figured out how to properly order food and drinks at the restaurants. The city was like nothing we’ve seen before. Old and grimy in parts, but full of flavor and overflowing with history. We were able to see a lot in our three days but hopefully we will be able to return someday to continue our explorations!!!