Monday, December 18, 2006

A week ago I made reservations at a hostel and bought train tickets to Paris. Ever since I was a child, I have loved (obsessed about?) Paris - in elementary school I had already memorized the pocket map I was given one Christmas. The rest of the week seemed to drag on and on and on with the exciting prospect of three full days in Paris.
Day 1:
I arrived at the Paris train station, took the metro, and found the hostel with out any real problems. After claiming a bed and getting my stuff settled, I put Rick (as in Rick Steves, author of amazing city guides, host of a great T.V. show, and my most frequent travel companion (in book form)) my camera, some Euros, and a pack of gum in my satchel, I headed out into the great city. Up, up, up, to Montmartre. How beautiful this district is! The hilly streets lead up to the imposing, bleached facade of the Sacre Coeur. People say that the interior of the church, being less than a hundred years old, is not that impressive; however, I beg to differ! It lives up to its post-WWIness with bold geometric lined stained glass windows casting amazing colors on the white stone and the powerful outlined mosaic is truly an impressive testimony to the Parisians who built this church (after their humiliating defeat and occupation, many Parisians blamed this on their wayward ways and built the church so that it would never happen again - maybe they should have built a bigger church - don't tell any French people I said that). After the Sacre Coeur, I ambled along the country-turned-artistic-haven of Montmartre. Every time I rounded a corner I either saw a scene from a well-known painting or the studio/home of one of Montmartre's famous inhabitants. I wanted to whip out my canvas and start painting everything - despite my lack of artistic talent. By the time I meandered down to the Moulin Rouge, darkness had settled on the city and all of the bordellos and sex-shops had turned on their amazing neon lights. Despite the unfortunate anatomy lesson along "Pig Alley," I really enjoyed my walk in the area. There is a green way down the middle of this famously seedy street where kids are riding their bikes and soccer balls were flying. All of this amidst signs for the "Sexodrome," "Erodic Souviners," and all of the amazing sparkling lights.

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