I left for Paris Wednesday July 11th. My flight was delayed however, so I didn't get to the city for the sunset as I'd hoped. I did get settled in my airbnb tho - my dad had a free voucher that was due so he gave it to me to spend and I found this little chambre with a balcony. Perrine and Bastien spoke to me mostly in French and gave me a chance to practice after too long not speaking French. They also had breakfast for me every morning, so I didn't have to run up and down to fetch something.
The tension was building towards the world cup final on Saturday - I arrived the night where the other team was getting decided and asked Bastien if England had won the minute I got through the door.
Since I ended up spending the whole Paris trip on my own (which hadn't been the plan, but Manon was too busy with work and Kimberley couldn't come down from Belgium at the last moment), I was happy to have organized a Versailles outing with some couchsurfers. I watched in horror as the list of participants grew up to 16 or so - that was a group too big for my liking. But we ended up being 5, which was perfect!
We had found out that it was smarter to start outside and make our way to the castle after 3. So we walked through the paths on the labyrinth grounds.
We made our way to both Petit (Marie Antionette's abode) and Grand Trianon on bikes we had rented. It made life a little easier. We also saw these fluffy bushes that most of us had never seen before!
We ate our picnic and then continued on. Our group was really nice - Hadi was from Kuwait, Olivia from Brazil, Michele from California and Meriem from Algeria. Lots of countries and life experiences.
I loved this painting that was marvelling over the horse butts.
Pink dream castle and group photos that we only remembered to take just as Michele was out of earshot.
We then biked all around the big lake and really, finally understood just how massive the grounds were. Realising that all of that was just the one thing was pretty awesome.
We circled back around, passing by areas where only locals were hanging out and arrived at the castle to no queue - our plan had worked.
The intricate garden designs were a highlight for me. As was this headless sculpture.
I loved these dynamic sculptures - especially that lady knight.
In general Versailles had a lot of female bad-asses all around. One of the rooms was devoted entirely to female warriors. And this two-faced dude tripped me out.
I liked the grounds better than the castle, but all in all it was a wonderful day trip. It had also been long enough since seeing the Russian castles that I wasn't comparing the two so much - that being said, Versailles didn't wow be as much.
In the train back, I heard from Romain whom I had contacted on ig and he had time to hang out that night - so I met up with him around Bercy.
We sketched and chatted in Park Bercy and went for a crêpe afterwards. While we were eating the power in the entire neighbourhood went out - it was the first time in my memory that I experienced that.
In the morning I continued reading Matilda on the balcony and then went for a morning walking tour around le Marais.
The guide showed us these really old spots and shared with us their history of melting metals, pawning items and being violent towards the royals.
I had been to le Marais before this trip, but now I feel like I understand its' mix of old and new much better.
Bathroom break in ordinary surroundings.
And re-fuelling in this charming haven that we had walked past on the tour. I then went back to the airbnd and packed to meet up with Manon and get her apartment keys.
Olivia had mentioned she wanted to go to Musee d'Orsay, so I came along. I got myself a crême brulee while waiting for her to arrive and then heading into the galleries. Van Gogh is always a treat.
I really liked this two-faced sculpture!
The white woman doing "glass" embroidery was a gem - look at the colours reflecting onto her hand.
And this Monet painting looked like it was just trees until you looked again and saw the girl.
Impressionists wooing me.
We made it just in time! We left the museum as it was closing.
After that we headed to a counchsurfing event where internationals met up to play games and snack. We had some fun hours after which I got a few of them to join me in the 2-hour line for the bal de pompiers. We made it in and had a great time dancing.
After sleeping only a few hours I rolled out of bed to walk down and see the planes at Champs Elysee. After all, it was Fête Nationale.
It was cool to see the colour trails - even if one of the blue ones messed up and was filled with red colour which prompted a joke version of the French flag.
I went back to bed and slept some more hours before getting dolled up to sit patiently at Champ de Mars waiting for the fireworks.
I got us the greatest seats on a little hill that made our view as great as it could have been. I waited nervously for the others to arrive, scared that I wouldn't be able to keep the seats. But it all worked out and we had some fun hours playing games in the sun. There were bands and an orchestra playing, but as more people arrived, it got harder and harder to hear the music. We asked these Korean tourists behind us to take our Polaroid and it only turned out to be the best one I think I have ever gotten.
And then it was time for the fireworks.
Safe to say they blew my mind. I had a great time taking photos, singing and dancing.
We then walked over and metro'ed over to two different bals that were meant to be open, but both were closed. So we just gave up - we were going to Disneyland in the morning and wanted to sleep.
I got to the park after the others because I had my own free ticket and wanted to sleep a little longer.
We walked around the castle and it only cemented the fact that it is my favourite Disney castle. The details are just phenomenal and the hill outside makes it look so striking.
We lined up for Small World but it broke down so me and Meriem watched an anniversary show instead. Then we left the park so Olivia and Meriem could scope out Disney Village to see where they wanted to watch the world cup Final, and Hadi and I went into Disney Studios. The others ended up leaving Disney altogether in their search for a better viewing of the final.
But I stayed and went to two theatre performances in the studio park. The Avengers Assemble show is only on this summer and it was amazing! I loved the way they introduced the characters and the stage and its' projection worked really well. They also used a ton of combo attacks which made me super happy - Spidey jumped on Cap's shield etc.
I basically bolted from the Avengers show to the Mickey and the Magician one since it was the last one of the day. It was such a cute show filled with positivity and you could feel how the audience's spirits rose and that really touched me.
I then went to the other park to get a seat for the parade! I got lucky and found a nice spot in the shade. It was a little odd being alone at Disney, but a perk was definitely being able to get on rides fast and be able to fit in spots were two people couldn't have - like here for the parade.
I was really let down by the parade tho. It was super short and not really that great - but it may just be the fact that the Japanese ones were so gorgeous that this one pales in comparison. I did love the Maleficent! There is even a spindle inside of her body!
Because I wanted to see the parade, I didn't catch the whole football match. But I got there in time to see plenty goals and feel the atmosphere climb as it became clear that France would absolutely win. It was really fun to be a part of! What made it even more hilarious was how much people freaked out and then a lot just walked straight into the parks in their crazy world cup outifts haha.
I went on Ratatouille and Slinky with no line! And stumbled onto the studio tour which made me laugh because of how similar it was to the Universal one.
I then switched parks for the final time and arrived just when golden hour was starting!
It was here that my battery died and my phone one was dying. Great. I kept exploring the park tho!
I found this cool Pocahontas detail and basically just sat down to wait for the fireworks.
The new show isn't as good as the old Disney Dreams! so that was a bit of a shame. The projection mapping is really well done, but I felt like they didn't guide the viewers eye properly so it was a kinda stressful experience. They kept changing the shots too - I really like the pirates medallion and the storm troopers and they were shown for such a short time that you only really registered them.
Disneyland did however surprise everyone with an extra fireworks show to celebrate France winning! It was to the song I Will Survive and it was such a great energy to be there in the crowd.
In the morning I slept in and then went to les puces in Saint-Ouen. I got to see some gorgeous haute couture pieces.
I got pretty close to buying that red striped 40s dress. It was a quiet Monday vibe and it was nice to get away from the busy streets for a few hours before heading down to Montmartre.
I stopped by my fave Paris vintage store and found another great 10 euro buy.
After a sweet tarte I walked through Place de Vosges and it was as gorgeous as I had thought it would be.
I then met up with Michal and we thought we would get to see the Klimt exhibit, but it was sold out for the day.
So instead we got some snacks and a chat at a nearby park before I went to meet Romain to watch Les Indestructables 2! It was super cheap too because even the cinemas have under 26 discounts?? The movie was great and it made me so happy that Helen got to shine.
In the morning I met up with Manon for a crêpe and then we walked around the corner to see the astounding art nouveau architecture on those streets.
I wore my Mucha dress to match and then left for the Klimt exhibit, where I had actually pre-bought my ticket this time.
It was super neat! The animated portions worked really well and I wished that the whole show had been like that - but it was a great, immersive experience.After that I headed for the Vilette - because one projection art exhibit isn't enough. Team Lab had some pieces in the grande hall, but I ultimately thought it was a little plain. The surrounding park was pretty cool tho!
I then lived another of my Anastasia dreams and walked the Pont Alexandre.
I then had my last cafe visit before leaving for the airport!
And I even saw Tour Eiffel from the plane! Truly the city of lights from above.