Before I arrived in Paris I had my first journey on a night train with several stressful connections due to my bad luck with trains. After barely sleeping on the 6 hour ride that left at midnight I got in my second train on which I had reserved a window seat and everything, but after about 20 minutes that it started moving we were told it was damaged and to take another train that would be waiting for us at the next station. When I saw the train it was surrounded by people who reserved seats in it like I did with the other and they had to be seated first so I followed the other frustrated seat-less people to another much older and slower train with no a/c that obviously was not going to make it in time for my connection from Brussels to Paris. So all the people that arrived late to Brussels had no idea what to do and the train company Thalys was of no help since they did not have another train for us there and did not even give a refund or discount on the original reservations. All that was left to do was get on the next train and hope the seat I took was not reserved, and at least the first two I tried were so I ended up in a wagon that had a faulty a/c meaning instead of cooling, it was heating and I was still in my warm Berlin clothes (face palm).
Though hungry, hot, and sleepy I made it to Paris and found the hostel I booked in Montmartre. As soon as I left my luggage there and changed my clothes I went on to explore the city with no plan at all. First I went to Sacré-Cœur, which was easy to find since I could see it from the hostel. Getting there was a difficult climb since the heat was so strong that day, but it was worth it because of the amazing view you can see from up there. After that I explored the streets of Montmartre and found Le mur des je t'aime, which I remembered seeing in the film Amélie. Then I took the metro to Place Charles de Gaulle to see the Arc de Triomphe and walked down Champs-Élysées. I crossed the Seine and took a break at a cafe where I could see the Eiffel Tower peeking up from the trees and buildings. I decided that I wanted to plan my evening out so I went back to the hostel to wash up and eat something. When I got there I met my roommates and became Paris partners with one of them, Noémi from Montreal. My evening was all planned out thanks to her. She asked me to join her on the Seine river cruise and we made it to the last ride right when the sun went down and the city of lights came to life. When we finished the cruise we arrived just in time before they close the Eiffel Tower too. We went up to the second floor and the view was surreal. I still couldn't believe I was in Paris! After we left the Eiffel Tower we headed back to the metro but it turned out to be closed so the adventure to get back to the hostel began. I was brave enough to walk since I was no longer alone and I was lucky Noémi's native language is French. After a while we saw a bike taxi and riskily took it. The driver turned out to be really nice and took us pretty far for good price, but we still had to walk through Montmartre's red light district Pigalle. We survived the cat calling, got a nutella crepe and even took a picture walking by the Moulin Rouge so it was actually very fun. I enjoyed every second of that night!
The next day we met Noémi's friend Victor and all together went to Versailles. You definitely need a full day to see this, especially if you include the train ride and some extra time to get lost trying to catch the right train like what happened to us. At least it was a minor set back. A bigger problem was the amount of people that come visit the palace, which means lots of lines. Noémi and I had our tickets already, but Victor had to do an extra line to get his. After about an hour and half we finished the line for the entrance to the palace. We didn't sign up for a tour, but most of the time we were walking almost hand in hand with the tour groups. Still, it was amazing to see all the luxurious and intricately decorated royal apartments! After that we went to see the Gardens, which were jaw dropping. I think we spent more time there than inside the palace and took so many amazing and fun pictures. We even rented a boat and rode on the Grand Canal, which made me feel like I was in a movie. When Noémi and I arrived back from Versailles we tried to go see the Catacombs, but by the time we got there and had something to eat it was getting late and I had almost forgotten I had a reservation to see Moulin Rouge! (yes I know, how could I forget something like that?!) I arrived half an hour late unfortunately, but at least I enjoyed half a bottle of champagne and an amazing performance. I was not allowed to take any pictures, probably because of the nudity and how famous the show is so I'll have to leave it to your imagination. As I expected, its not like the movie, but it was just as amazing and I was surprised to see an all male performance that was very impressive (because of the stunts and choreography)! By this time I still could not believe I was actually in Paris doing all the things I had done and having much more to do. There were two more days left, of which I'll tell you all about on my next Europe Diaries post, otherwise this one will be never-ending for you. Enjoy until next time!