We left Vienna early in the morning, taking a two-hour flight across Europe to Paris. When we landed the sun hadn’t even brightened the sky, so we got to the see the twinkling lights of the city below. Once we had gotten all our luggage we jumped on a train to get to the Guard du Nord (one of the train stations). It was nice arriving early in the morning, but we were not allowed to check in to our apartment until four in the afternoon. Despite this setback we found a locker room after some searching and left our bags at the station for the day.

The Guard du Nord.

The Train Station

Our first view of the streets of Paris.

We ate at a little cafe just across from the train station. The food was amazing and the waiter served us our meal with a “voilà!”

Arriving in Paris

After eating we made our way to the Basilika Sacré-Cœur, which sits on a hill overlooking Paris. It’s actually a lot larger than it looks, because the dome blocks the rest of the church. While we made our way up to the top, we had to dodge these men who were trying to sell something. I couldn’t tell what it was, but it looked like a basic piece of string. I wouldn’t have thought that anyone would give them money, but their tactic was one of intimidation. They would surround one or two people and talk and even grab them to try to get their money. I’ve never seen so many scammers in one place before. In reality, I think it’s a shame that they choose to stand outside a church and hassle people, but what can you do?

Basilika Sacré-Cœur from A Distance

Basilika Sacré-Cœur

After walking through the church we headed back down the hill. Most of the streets were quiet except for one in particular, which was packed with tourists and cheesy shops.

Tourist Shops

The Moulin Rouge was also in the vicinity. It is not the original one, which burnt down, but it was still exciting to see.

The Moulin Rouge

Eventually, we made our way back to the train station and the next few hours were spent hauling our bags all over Paris. The company we booked with decided it was a good idea to switch our apartment and not tell us, so instead of being where we had planned, we were actually another two or three major streets away. Lucky for us there was a nice taxi driver who was willing to flag down a van, which was the only vehicle that could fit all our luggage. We all made it to the newly assigned apartment in one piece, although we were all a little frazzled.

It was a long, but exciting day. My first time in Paris will be an exciting experience. I can already tell that it has a different feel from the other cities that I’ve been to.

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