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  • Writer's pictureKate

Paris, here I meet you again...

In August 2016, my lovely friend from university invited me to celebrate her birthday in Paris, where she's from.

I only went there for a few days (after already being off work for a whole month I couldn't ask for any more holidays) but those days were very fulfilling.

I hopped on a bus at Vitoria station in London, directly to Paris, it only took 6/7 hours to get there, overnight. I was so tired when I arrived, I think I slept most of the day... Great waste of time!

As soon as I started Art High School, I realized I want to learn more about the art of photography, found a photography teacher, he told me about the course he's doing at the Youth Center every week, and I started going there. At first, it was only 5 or 6 of us, but year after year there were more and more people attending. It was still fun and I made some very cool friends from different schools and learned almost everything I know now.

So this awesome Youth Center one year decided to organize a trip to France. Since I've been dreaming about traveling to that beautiful country again I started begging my parents to let me go and they finally agreed to do it as my 18th birthday present YAY!!!

This is how I went to Paris for the first time. It was unfortunately only one day and it was raining but that didn't stop me at all. We managed to go to Versailles, got up on Eiffel Tower, went to Sacre Coeur and walked down to Moulin Rouge. It was magical despite the rain.

So here I was, a few years later, traveling to Paris again.

In two days I saw more museums and exhibitions than I've ever seen in my life.

My friend Kenny was amazing at showing me around and telling me about living and growing up in Paris. We even went to her family for the birthday dinner. It was lovely!

Back then it didn't cross my mind to write a journal from short trips, so some of the things I might've forgotten, oh well.

We walked a lot, I remember checking my steps in Health app and it was something over 40,000, I've never walked this much. But I guess this was my first trip focused mainly on sightseeing. It was a great lesson. We've made a list of things I wanted to visit. So as I've been half-way on the Eiffel Tower before, I thought there's no point in doing that again.

But I wanted to see it from the north side of the river, from Palais de Chaillot.

After taking in beautiful views of the famous tower, we took a bus to Pantheon, 18th-century mausoleum which has something called Foucault pendulum in the middle of its dome, this device demonstrates Earth's rotation, looks a little bit like a strange clock placed on the floor.

The church itself is stunning, paintings, sculptures, and facades are breathtaking.

15 minutes walk from there is the Notre Dame cathedral that recently and very unfortunately burnt partly. We didn't have the opportunity or time to go inside but seeing it from the outdoors was enough for me. It was also very busy!

A short distance from the cathedral is the Pompidou Centre, the home of modern art with a very cool and colorful exterior. In front of it, you can find Place Georges Pompidou, space where people sell their art, draw stuff on the pavement and chill with pigeons.

Central Paris doesn't have many tall buildings, which is great, it means from many taller ones you can see the panorama of the city. So we went to the top floor of Pompidou and could see Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur and everything else in between.

This art Center has a lot of exhibitions, there were installations, paintings, and photographs (my personal favorite, always). Kenny was so kind, she modeled for me and hope she won't mind that I'm posting these old pictures (thank you for being my model again).

Finally, the time came to go to the Louvre Museum that I've been dreaming to visit for ages.

I know you need a LOT of time to see the whole museum but I only wanted to feel the atmosphere, didn't have to see the whole things. What's great about places like Paris is that most places you can see for free if you're under 26, and I was.

Louvre has the coolest entrance, just look at it:

Saw Mona Lisa, thankfully already knew how big (small) it is, so no disappointment but there was a massive crowd around it so couldn't get too close. This museum is AMAZING! not only for the paintings and sculptures but the building itself is so picturesque, I used Kenny a lot to pose for me.

When you get out and walk towards Place de la Concorde, you're in Jardin des Tuileries, which used to be tile factory in the 16th-century. Now, it's a beautiful garden open to the public with two basins/fountains where we sat down and had some time to breathe in the views.

There's also a super fun part of these gardens, on the north side you will find rides, shops, and games, Parque de Diversao - a small amusement park with a lot of colorful lights.

We went out that night but couldn't stay too long, we had another busy day ahead of us.

The next day, our first destination was the Louis Vuitton Foundation, a museum with contemporary and modern art. This museum is located outside of the busy center so it took us quite a bit to get there from where we were staying.

It's worth seeing this even for the building on its own. The architecture is visionary and innovative, looked a bit like a space ship to me. So we walked around a lot, saw every corner, experienced every art piece inside and headed back to central Paris.

Next on my itinerary was the Dali museum. Dali is one of my favorite artist, even tho I am not a crazy fan of surrealism, I appreciate his work, all of them, even the tiniest sculptures. Plus, he was friends with my absolute idol Philippe Halsman, photographer, they've done a lot of crazy portraits together. My love for photography started with this image (created by both artists):

The museum is tiny but filled with so many creations, couldn't stop looking. Normally, I go through exhibitions quite quickly and only stop if I really like something. Here, I liked everything so it took me longer than usual to leave.

Oh forgot to mention, don't remember the station I got out at but to get to the museum I had to walk up soooo many steps...

My third and last stop was Sacre Coeur, from Dali Museum I walked down and next to Moulin Rouge, passed all sex shops and those smelly parts of Paris and got to the cathedral. It was beautiful sunny moment and I could see the whole of Paris.

I was leaving that day to go back to London and to work I neglected for so long.

Paris was amazing, it's definitely a city for art lovers, I don't think it's as romantic as everyone thinks, but what do I know, I'm not a very romantic person. If I had tho choose tho, I would choose a place with as few people as possible, so the Sahara Desert or some jungle.

A lot of people like to visit places and stay there a bit to absorb the culture and atmosphere, I can't do that, I never have time or money to afford to stay in one place for weeks. Plus I think I would get bored quickly. I'm not a foodie, I like going to restaurants but I like cooking myself more, and sometimes when you travel, you can't do that.

For me traveling is about experiencing places, not restaurants necessarily, taking pictures and meeting people.

So this is my story from Paris when I didn't know how to travel yet but I learned a lot about planning from Kenny, she prepared a very good list for me ;) Thank you

And thanks for reading you guys ;*

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