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.