I was very excited to go to Paris. It was going to be my first time and I was going to hear people speaking French around me for days. From the first moment we arrived, I felt like I was in a French movie.
On the first day, we took a walk to Champs-Élysées immediately after we settled into our hotel. It was amazing to see the Arc de Triomphe in front of me, where it stands in the middle of the Charles de Gaulle square. Construction started in 1806 by the order of Napoleon as a memorial for the soldiers who had died during the French revolution. After Napoleon’s defeat the construction stopped, and it was then completed in 1836.
The inside of the Arc de Triomphe was a museum, and the top of it was a viewpoint. We thought it would be lovely to see the view from above, so bought tickets and entered. After 284 steps we made it to the top, and it was totally worth it!
Paris was grey, old, and so beautiful, just like I imagined!
During our walk through Champs-Élysées we read a bit and learned about the metro system in Paris, then headed to Le Marais. Opposite of the wide streets around Arc de Triomphe, the Le Marais region was full of narrow streets, which I love. The bohemian life constructed after the revolution was kept so well in this part of the city. Today Le Marais has many cafes, galleries, small shops and restaurants.
The oldest square in Paris, Place des Vosges, is also in this region. The palace here was built between 1605-1612 and it is known that “Les Misérables” was written in one of the rooms of the palace by Victor Hugo.
I loved Le Marais! Not just because I was so excited on my first day in Paris, but because I breathed the history in there, I walked on the old pavements while thinking of people who might have walked there years ago, and I watched the people of Le Marais while they were rushing around doing errands. It was simply magical.
Before the evening we bumped into the Pompidou Center by coincidence. It has a very interesting architecture which looked like an inside-out building, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano. They took the pipes, power lines and tubes out of the building and placed them on the outside to gain more space inside, which is smart!
My attempts to learn French for the last couple of months finally paid off when I was able to read the menu at dinner. That was another very happy moment of the day.