A girls’ weekend in Paris that turned into a 7 week holiday.
I woke up the following morning to a bright blue sky … cool, but nothing like the predicted snow showers.
Off for a walk to find coffee and breakfast, which turned out to be a pistachio and chocolate scroll. I’m sure that contained all the known food groups and perhaps a few unknown ones.
On the first trip Stu and I did to Paris together, we tried twice to visit the Catacombs but they were closed. So this was on my list.
Despite advice to the contrary I opted to go first thing in the morning. I arrived and joined the queue at 9:40am – 20 minutes before opening – without a pre-purchased ticket. The queue was only halfway down the block. Considering this was March and not prime tourist season it seemed promising.
People with pre-purchased tickets got priority so it 10:45 before I got in. Today that was ok with me because there is quite a price difference between the walk-up and pre-booked tickets. At busier times it would be worth paying the extra for the quicker entry.
I recommend the audio guide which gives a lot of context to the tunnels.
Only 200 people are allowed inside at any time so you have to wait for someone to leave before you can go in. Don’t feel rushed. Those waiting just have to wait.
Because of the limited number of people, there were several places where I couldn’t see anyone else. It felt a little creepy. I loved it.
I’ve read a book that talks about communities of outcasts living in the out-of-bounds areas in the catacombs. It made me wonder what was behind those locked gates. I wanted to investigate.
Afterwards I shed a tear as I ate lunch in the Jardin des Tuileries, remembering the day Mum and I had so enjoyed walking around and eating there. It was too dismal to sit outside as we had done that day, but I enjoyed the memory all the same.
I walked to the Musée de l’Orangerie. Monet’s water lilies are immense. No amount of being told how big they are prepared me for the reality.
I had hoped to sit in quiet contemplation which is, I believe, the intention. Sadly, this was impossible. The tour groups do their best not to be intrusive by using headphones so that guides don’t have to speak loudly, but the hordes of people intent on taking preening selfies seemed to have no idea where they were or what they were supposed to be looking at.
Still, I managed some time with unobstructed views.
I thought, perhaps, the galleries downstairs might be less frantic, but alas, the wet day had driven everyone inside. I did enjoy them but I was beginning to wilt so didn’t stay too long.
Heading home, it was a good thing that I didn’t know how many steps there were when I started up them at Abbesses Metro. They were exhausting, but they did have some nice murals which gave me an excuse to stop and take some photos … and catch my breath.
And some strange person asked me for directions. In French. I obviously looked like I knew where I was going. I’m glad someone thought so.