The thing about being abroad and only just having arrived is that you are overly keen to see everything and anything. This was abundantly apparent today, given I was hoping to see the Cemetery du Pere Lachise, the Catacombs, Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower.
My first stop was the Cemetery du Pere Lachise where I wanted to find both Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrision’s graves and just look around. I don’t know why but for some reason exploring cemeteries with their old tombs and winding pathways is just something I love to do. You can buy maps to make life easier for $2 at the entrance way, so unless you like spending hours there I would recommend it.
Wandering around I admired the old tombs, some having stood for well over a century while others were relatively new. Finding Oscar Wilde first I read the messages that had been graffitied across his grave before chatting to a polite Irishman about the great man.
Next stop was Jim Morrison and what blew me away here was just how out of the way and hidden his grave is. Tucked in partly behind another large grave you can’t help but feel as if they really didn’t want to have him here. If it hadn’t been for the well worn path and group of tourists I don’t even thing my map would have saved me in finding him.
Leaving for the Catacombs next I had just the name of the train station I needed to get off at and no other forms of direction. Luckily for me when I exited said train station I found them on the other side of the road. In saying that if it hadn’t been for the line up outside I’d have been oblivious to the building as there is nothing that stands out advertising it. You know your at the right spot if there is a large roundabout with a lion statue in the middle of it.
I won’t post photos from my visit to the catacombs out of respect for the dead but if you have the time stop in and have a look. A winding tunnel of approx 1.6km will find you walking past corridor after corridor of bones stacked up the walls. If dark spaces full of bones gives you the shivers however you might want to skip this place.
Ending the tunnel and climbing a narrow staircase that goes on forever they check your bags to ensure you didn’t snag yourself a souvenir. The exit leaves you in a little street with no directions as to where you actually started so break out that nomadic frame of mind and just walk around, you’ll find the train station… eventually.
Making my way to the Arc de Triomphe next I grabbed a baguette and sat down to watch tourist after tourist snap photos and marvel at how so many lanes of traffic can exist without crashing into each other. A funny story I heard from the free walking tour the day before about this place was that some alcohol infused Australians decided it was a good idea to roast hot dogs on the flame here.
This flame is a an eternal memory to all of those who were never identified from the world wars. Needless to say said Australian boys were quickly caught and deported back to Australia for their act of idiocy.
Deciding to save 8 euro and not climb the monument I walked my way to the Eiffel Tower. Funny how such a big thing appears closer than it really is. Eventually arriving I navigated the endless number of spruiker’s selling miniature statues and lined up to mount the monument.
With a choice of 3 levels to visit all ranging from 7/11/15 euro approx. I stopped at level 2, partly because of the cost and partly due to the +1 hour wait for level 3. While up there I took up the bet from a twitter friend and grabbed a beer (my first for Europe, I know right very slack) while enjoying the view.
Getting lost while trying to find a Metro station home was the first time I wished I hadn’t. With tired feet and my first tweet-up just hours away I trudged onward with only the Eiffel Tower as reference point to where I had come from.
A quick pit stop back at the hostel before I headed out to get lost again, this time trying to find the local bar in the latin quarter where I was to meet Chris from ikangaroo.com. A few drinks and a terrible game of trivia on my behalf later it was already time to leave.
If it hadn’t been for the Metro stopping at midnight or there about’s I could have seen an even better night ahead. I hope next time I’m there I can finish off the drinking we started and maybe even study up on my European trivia so we don’t get well and truly beaten again.
And so ended my busiest day in Paris, unfortunately for me tomorrow was museum day and I prayed my feet were up to the task as I crawled into bed.
Aww, you didn’t walk up the Arc de Triomphe? I guess if you go up the Eiffel Tower you get pretty much the same view (only you miss the swirl of traffic just below you!), but I really love the Arc…it’s actually my favorite monument in the city O:-) But, the walk up is quite the workout.
Glad you had a good (and busy) day.
.-= Heather´s last blog ..Cathedral. Castle. Cupcake. Curry. =-.
No Heather my budget just didn’t allow for both the Arc and the Eiffel Tower and being the tourist I am, I chose the Eiffel Tower.
I’m not sure I have a favorite monument in Paris but I could lean towards Sacre Couer and the amazing view from its steps.
FYI the French absolutely did NOT want Jim Morrison in Pere LaChaise. His friends fought to have him buried there, and played up his status as an “artist.” They basically just squeezed a place in for him. And for next time, I always recommend going up the Arc de Triomphe rather than the Eiffel Tower–isn’t it strange to see the Paris skyline without the Tower?
Glad you’re enjoying Paris!
.-= Christine´s last blog ..My dirty little travel secret =-.
You see Christine I so got that impression. I did mean to google it but now you’ve saved me the trouble.
I wanted to go up the Arc de Triomphe but just couldn’t spare the extra 8-10 euros for it as my budget was already pretty much spent for the day. Next time I’ll make the trip up there though as it would be good to see the cars all going around.
I recently discovered my love of visiting cemeteries, so I’m stoked to discover a new one to add to my list!
.-= JoAnna´s last blog ..Reading: The Lost Girls =-.
JoAnna its a great cemetery to look around in. SO so big as well. I spent over an hour there and really didn’t even see half of it.
If I wasn’t trying to see so much that day I would have allowed more time for sure.
What a fantastic day!!! I wish I could have joined you for some baguette eating/people watching. 🙂 Love the picture of you with the view of Paris!
.-= Andi´s last blog ..imgp2629 =-.
Thanks Andi. It was good just to sit and watch for awhile. I had been so busy that taking time out was just what I needed.
Sure wasn’t a bad view up there thats for sure.
I do am a fan of visiting cemeteries at home and abroad. They just look so interesting and are different everywhere you go. But three trips to Paris and I still haven’t made it to the Lizard King’s grave. I hear it’s wild though.
So much walking Chris, but it’s totally worth the burning feet. You’re time is limited so it’s good to hear you’re making the most of it.
Good tip on just following the lines, especially in Paris.
Hey Bobbi, its a very cool cemetery and I’m glad I made the time to go out too it, If only to snap some cool photos.
haha OMG I never stop walking, I had to slow down the other day as my feet were actually sore like before I even got out of bed. All good now though.
It’s true too I’m very much doing a quick 1-2 month tour of everything. Its a holiday before I set up to work in the UK and I also find that after 3-4 days I’ve seen enough of the place and am ready to move on.
Plenty of time to come back to see the sights once I have money coming in again.
what a fantastic day you had, it was wise decision to opt for Eiffel tower since it is one of popular tourist attractions in Paris. The way you have written this article is excellent…while reading i had a feeling that i was myself touring with you
.-= Nadia´s last blog ..The Treasures of Samoa Islands =-.
Hey Nadia, I think so too and as I’m going to live in the UK Paris is a quick trip away so I can do it one day.
Aww thanks for the kind words too, I love knowing people are enjoying what I write. Makes it all worth the time.
Cemeteries just creep my out, never a fan of visiting them and probably why I wouldn’t want to be buried. Although drinking a beer at the Eiffle Tower sounds cool.
.-= Cornelius Aesop´s last blog ..30 Days to Get Rid of Everything =-.
haha cemeteries are awesome, all the old tombs etc. And yes beer on the Eiffel Tower was very cool indeed which on such a hot day worked out well.
Woo Oscar Wilde represent! One of these days I’m gonna get myself to Paris I swear.
And i totally agree with you on cemeteries. They are awesome.
.-= Stephanie´s last blog ..The Lost Girls: A Review =-.
Steph I can’t believe you’ve never been to see Oscar yet.
You know, I’m starting to think that a love for exploring cemeteries isn’t so weird after all, since so many of us obviously love to do it! 🙂
.-= Gray´s last blog ..Shiny Travel Objects: May 9, 2010 =-.
haha Gray. It was never weird, at least that’s what I kept telling myself.
Another cemetery fan here 🙂 Sounds like you had a great day! I also visited the Catacombs but never realised why they checked the bags on the way out, that’s a pretty gruesome thought! My highlight of Paris has to be the ‘The Paris Sewer Museum’ though, where you get to don a hard hat and walk through the Paris sewers!
Kate I can’t believe I never went to the sewers after making note of it before I left for Paris. I’m going back to Paris I think before making it to the UK so I have to check them out.
Argh I so completely forgot about them, so annoyed now haha.
It’s nice to hear about a lesser known site in Paris (Cemetery du Pere Lachise). Of course I say this as I’m currently writing about a tourist hot spot: the Colosseum in Rome 🙂
haha Laura. The cemetery is only a little ways out on the train and with good weather (like I had) it was nice to just wander around.