So I'm not longer on a boat. About three weeks ago I finished my contract and disembark AIDAmar. Though it was all in all a great experience and I'm going to miss the people I met, I'm also happy that it's over. It was after all a lot of hard work for almost 5 straight months. Finally being able to just sleep and relax felt so good...well at least for a while. After about two weeks at home not really doing that much, I felt kinda bored so I decided to hop on a train and went to Paris. This city has been really high up on my list of destinations I want to visit in Europe, it's actually so close but somehow I never made it. So it was about time to change that.
I took an early morning train from my home in Germany and arrived about five hours later in Gare de l'est in Paris. My hostel was just around the corner so I could quickly drop my bag and get started exploring the city. The metro brought me fairly close to the Louvre from where I decided to start walking and explore the city center on foot. While the metro is quite cheap, fast and has an extensive network it is also quite full and dirty. Anyways I prefer to see cities by walking around and most of the main attractions are easily in walking distance as long as you have some time. Now that there is now more ship I have to reach in the evening I had all the time in the world. The weather wasn't really the best during my stay so I visited the same places many times hoping for the best light. So from now on I'll just give you a run down of the most important places I visited, basically describing the pictures, in an order that hopefully makes some kind of sense.
The Musée du Louvre is one of the largest and most famous museums in the world. Obviously that's because of the Mona Lisa. Yea it's a nice painting but it's in a giant room full with way to many people trying to take selfies. Don't forget that there is so much more to see in the museum, so take you time to see some more. Starting at the Louvre you basically just have to walk straight across the main entrance with the big glass pyramid and through the park and you will reach the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. This big road takes you straight through the center of Paris all the way to the Arc de Triumph. Along the way you will have amazing views of the Eiffel tower, countless museums and fancy shops. Even in the rather poor weather I had on my first day the experience is hard to beat.
But the goal is of course to reach the Arc de Triumph. It's not just a gigantic arch surrounded by a gigantic roundabout with a traffic situation very close to something I experienced in south east Asia, it also offers amazing views of the city. Yes you can actually go on the top of it and you should definitely do that. The line is very short and if you are European and under 25 it's also for free. From up there you can see clearly just how long, wide and straight the Champs-Élysées actually is and you can spot all of the main sights as well as of course the Eiffel Tower. So you know where to go next.
Yes the Eiffel Tower! The essential attraction of Paris. I probably should have started this article with it but oh well to late now so here it is now. From the Champs-Elysees you have to cross over to the river Seine from where you will see the tower immodestly so you just follow the river till you reach it. There is really no way you can miss it. The closer you get to it the fuller it will get with tourists and of course people trying to sell stuff to tourists. Of course that's pretty annoying but that's just how it is no matter where you are in the world. Just be careful about your stuff and you'll be fine, actually the same is true all over Paris but during my stay I had no problem what so ever.
Though the tower already looks incredible during the day it only gets better at night. The whole thing lights up brilliantly and at every full hour it actually sparkles. It might sound a bit weird but it truly looks amazing so make sure you are there in time to see this at least once. The best views of the tower are of course from the close by Champ de Mars (just make sure you step back far enough to see all of its glory) or on the opposite site at the Palais de Chaillot as you will see in the shot below.
In the end you can also go up the tower. Unfortunately I didn't find the time to do so, so I can't really say anything about that. I'm sure it'll give you great views of the city. But I did went to another viewpoint which is the cathedral of Scare Coeur. This cathedral is located on a hill in the north of the city and standing in front of it you'll have some of the best views over all of Paris. If the weather is good that is. Again when I was there I had no luck whatsoever.
So these are pretty much the most important sights of Paris. But now for something truly special that you probably wouldn't expect to visit in Paris: The Catacombs. These historic tunnel systems stretch underneath the whole city and are the final resting place to more than 6 million people. A truly indescribable experience. Especially since the bones aren't just thrown down there, no they are all nicely arranged. The skulls are forming lines and patterns along the wall. It's really beautiful to see but also kinda creepy at the same time. There is actually quite a long queue to get in but if you want to see a completely different site of Paris I would recommend going there.
That pretty much sums up my time in Paris. It was a fun trip and really something that I needed after all the time on the ship. Being able to just go wherever I wanted and do whatever I wanted without having to care about the time or anyone else was so liberating. You can only truly appreciate how good this lack of time pressure feels after you spend 5 months of constant time pressure. Anyways traveling in Europe is always fun but now I think it's time to go on another longer and more exotic trip. That's why in two weeks I'll be flying to Nepal. I'm so excited, it's going to be amazing but until then let's have a look at some more pictures from Paris. Enjoy and I might be back soon with some travel preparations.