In Paris we did couchsurfing at the place of a Parisian guy, kind of far from the city center, who very kindly went to pick us up by car at one of the metro stations near his place.
When he arrived in his flat, we met his Spanish girlfriend whom apparently he had met in his previous trip or something like that and she had just moved in. They were very polite and nice but almost didn’t talk at all. We asked them a few things just to try to make some conversation but it was pretty hard. At one point my brother asked them what their favorite music was and they just replied “I don’t know, it’s a difficult question”.
They had prepared for us a very nice dinner for New Years Eve. As we were eating we asked how Parisians celebrated that night and he answered that they did nothing outdoors, most of the people just celebrated at home and the streets are dangerous, especially late at night. My brother and I were a bit disappointed at the answer. We kept eating and the exhaustion of the trip started to kick in really hard, to the point of making us almost fall asleep on top of our meals. Right after we finished, our hosts went to sleep, my brother was one step away from it and I had also given up to the idea of going out, we were too far from the city center and after what I had heard, I really thought there could be nothing worth seeing. The next day, while sightseeing, we realized our mistake. Most of the biggest monuments around Paris had a lot of confetti lying around them, some bottles of wine and all the signs that there had been some serious partying the night before.
We decided not to think about that anymore and just enjoy the sights of Paris, which is one of my favorite cities. Our stay extended for three days and we managed to get into the catacombs, which was my third attempt after having visited the city previously and finding them always closed for some reason. They are really cool and creepy, with plenty of inscriptions and reminders about death which I was glad to be able to read and translated to my brother as best as I could.
At one point of the trip, I told my brother that if in Belgium we had eaten the most delicious waffle ever, in Paris he had to try the amazing éclairs, so we entered one of the many boulangeries lying everywhere, and bought one for each. They were incredible.
We also did our mandatory visit to the Eiffel tower, which is actually cheaper if you climb the stairs instead of going into the elevator, although the huge lines can’t be avoided. Another really stunning place was Napoleon’s mausoleum, its huge features in marble and gold are truly magnificent.
One night, when we were in the boulevard de Clichy, close to the Moulin Rouge, we decided to buy some stuff at the shop and prepare some sandwiches to eat outside. While seating on one of the benches, we got to see some kind of quarrel between a group of Arabs, some women yelling at one man and other men coming and going to join them. Unfortunately they spoke a mixture of French and Arabic so I couldn’t understand much but they provided some entertainment for our dinner.
From Paris we took a high-speed TGV train going to Lyon, where we had seats right next to a family of gypsies. The woman began talking to me in French and after knowing that we were Mexicans, she was very happy and started asking me to teach her a lot of words in Spanish. We didn’t stop talking during the whole trip, at one point we told her about the spicy Mexican candies we were carrying, which my brother had brought a big bag of and we gave her one to try. She said they were disgusting and almost threw up, I was shocked, I love those candies, they are the best and it’s a pity they can’t be found anywhere in Europe (at least anywhere I know of).
Our stay in Lyon was also great, I will write about it on my next post.