Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Recap of a trip 13 years ago {Paris, July 2002}

After spending a week in Stockholm for a clarinet convention, taking a long ass train ride from Stockholm to Hamburg (and almost getting attacked by swans), and spending some time in Amsterdam celebrating my 20th birthday, we finally made it to the "City of Light," Paris.

We stayed at Hotel Mirific in Paris. 4 tiny beds in a small room. By now my suitcase had a broken wheel, weighed 90lbs, and was so ridiculously difficult to pull up the spiral staircase at the hotel. So by the time we got settled, I was feeling crazy.
We took the subway to Sacre Coeur.
The streets were narrow and charming and super hilly to navigate to the church.

I really enjoyed the view from Sacre Coeur, which was on top of a hill.
For dinner, we went to the HRC again...
We also walked by the Moulin Rouge
Another day we walked to the Arc de Triomphe and did touristy shit like stand in the middle of the road to take a photo of it.

And continued risking our lives to take photos of it.

We took a steep spiral staircase to the top- which I personally thought had a much better view of Paris than the Eiffel Tower.
Another day we took the train to Mantes la Vie, France to see the Buffet clarinet factory. All of our clarinets were made there, so we were very intrigued to see the whole process from chunk of wood to beautiful clarinet.

Sadly, the photos from the tour are lost. But it was incredible seeing the start to end process of how a clarinet gets made.

We went to the Eiffel Tower.

It was really cool to see something in person that I had only only seen online or TV.

I always wanted to return to Paris and have a picnic on the grassy field in front of the tower. Bottle of wine, baguette, stinky soft cheese... Heaven

I plan to recreate these photos when we go to Paris soon.

The view from the top of the Eiffel Tower.

Cheesing it up at the carnival below the tower.
I cant wait to return soon!
We saw Notre Dame cathedral. (the back side of it)

And we went inside the cathedral.

We also went inside Cathedral St Chappelle which was even more gorgeous than Notre Dame.

We went to the Louvre.

And saw the sad Mona Lisa in its protective box surrounded by hoards of tourists snapping photos.

We saw the Seine river.

We also went to Musee D'Orsay which contained all of the impressionistic paintings from Monet, Manet, Degas, etc. It was really cool to see "Waterlilies" and other works I had only seen in books.

We also went  to the Pere LaChaise cemetary which was a short ride by subway.

We saw Chopin, Poulenc and Bizet's graves (all composers), as well as Jim Morrison's grave (from The Doors)

And then after a whirlwind 15 days, it was time to come home and back to reality.
It was a crazy awesome experience to see another part of the world for a few weeks. I cannot wait to return to Paris and visit Copenhagen soon. It is so amazing to look back and see how different I was 13 years ago vs now. My tastes in food and travel experience have changed significantly since then and I am super excited to stay away from just about everything I saw 13 years ago and truly experience the culture of these cities. Because traveler > tourist.


  1. At least the tour of the clarinet factory and visiting the Pere LaChaise cemetary are things that are not super touristy. Since you got the "highlights" out of the way, you can feel less pressure and just enjoy some stinky cheese in a garden somewhere. You probably learned your lesson on packing light that trip. I never check a bag any longer. I wash a few things out in my hotel sink from time to time! Makes me more mobile and savs your back!:)

    1. Ive never washed things in the sink, but might try it this time to cut down on more space! We are planning on going to the Pere Lachaise again (L wants to see Jim Morrison's grave) and maybe the top of the Arc because it was nice. But this will be a super relaxing trip with no real plans because he is exhausted from traveling so much over the past 2 months :)

    2. If you plan on running in Europa more than a couple of times, washing stuff in the sink is key. That way you don't have to pack multiple shirts, shorts, etc. Most of my trips were for at least 10 days so I had to wash stuff otherwise I would have needed a 90lb. suitcase! Before I took up running, I was able to wear one pair of shoes for the entire trip (hey, I'm a guy). So that would free up about 20% of my carry on since running shoes are such a space hog! I guess if I were to go back I would bring a disposable pair of old running shoes that I could throw out after my last European run for more carry-on bag space for the return trip!

    3. Done. While I was being very minimal with packing clothes, I knew my running stuff was going to start adding up quick... Washing them in the sink is a great idea! I can bring 1-2 pairs of shorts and socks and 2 shirts and that will last me. You guys have it so easy with shoes! I count no less than 4 pairs I'll be bringing with me. Stupid running shoes will take up the most space... I wish I had a pair of shoes to dispose of but I recently purged all my old beat up pairs... I'll just stuff socks or something into the shoes so maximize space in the suitcase :)

  2. St Chappelle is so damn pretty. I was so happy I got to see it!

    I remember I visited HRC once in Rome when I lived there cause it was the only place I could get something close to Mexican food and I was craving it SO BAD!!!!

    I don't think I went up in the Arc... didn't know you could! Church bell towers usually have cool city views, too!

    It cracks me up that you hate so much on tourists! Of course, I can totally picture the obnoxious tourist you are thinking of, but I just keep thinking about the people I know who have no interest in other cultures at all. Which is worse... no interest in it, or going there and being a big tool? Ha ha... not sure!!!

    1. PS - it will be so cool to go back to that spot and picnic with L!

    2. OH YES. That was the plan all along :)

  3. For all the time I spent in Paris, I never went inside Notre Dame. I did do Pere LaChaise though and there was a light snow that day with big fluffy flakes that made it that much more beautiful. Hard to believe that in a couple weeks it'll be the 10th anniversary of my return from study abroad.