It was early September in Paris and autumn was nowhere to be seen, just blue skies and warm sun.
I arrived from Rotterdam by train and walked down a few platforms to meet my Danish friend T, who would be arriving soon from London. Knowing our introvert tendencies, we wanted to make sure our time here was as satisfying and stress-free as possible.
Here are a few modifications we made to the usual tourist must-do list:
Climbing the Arc de Triomphe, NOT the Eiffel Tower
Why not climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower? Because you can’t get a view of the Eiffel tower from the top of the Eiffel Tower. But really it is just a pile of metal, and a much protested one at that. Before it was built people called it a “truly tragic street lamp” and an “iron gymnasium apparatus, incomplete, confused and deformed.”
Also, the Arc de Triomphe has no lines, less stairs, and is easier on the pocket book (although this last one shouldn’t be taken into consideration. If you want to climb the tower, climb the dang tower because you’re probably not coming back to Paris again anytime soon.)
Going to l’Orangerie, NOT the Louvre
There are so many museums in Paris it would make even the most die-hard art enthusiast want to gouge her eyes out to try to see all the works in all of them. Plus, both of us being classic introverts the crowds at the Louvre made our skin crawl.
We went to see Monet’s waterlilies at l’Orangerie instead. It was a piece we both loved so why not spend some quality time with it. I think I sat in each room for half an hour the first day then went back again the next for another couple hours.
Paris has a great Nap-in-the-Park culture. Everyone lies around on the grass in nice weather. No problem. Wake up next to your favorite statues. Unless your favorite statue is Rodin’s Thinker. We got in trouble for napping under that one.
I did not get in trouble for napping near these lovely ladies, though.
Eating Wherever We Plopped Ourselves Down
Sure you could pour over restaurant reviews, but unless you’re going for a particular food experience most of the eateries serve the same French classics. We chose places based on ambiance and rarely had a bad meal.
Visiting Dead People
Historic Pere Lachaise cemetery was two blocks from the flat and full of some really famous dead people. We paid special visits to Doors singer Jim Morrison, classical music composer Chopin, and Irish writer Oscar Wilde, among others.
Resting Our Feet
Along the same lines as napping, there are lots of places to rest your tired pups in Paris. What’s the rush? There’s great people watching meanwhile.
Find a fountain or a chair at the park and put em in/up.
And a Good Time Was Had by All
Do I feel like I missed out on the real Paris because of our itinerary modifications? Not at all.
As always, the key to having a good time as a traveler is tailoring your experience to fit your needs. We loved wandering aimlessly, people watching while sipping Pernod on hot afternoons, and catching impromptu accordion performances on the metro. In the end, we had a satisfying time without the stress and exhaustion.