The following day in Paris was a shopping day! That means that after a lazy late breakfast, French croissants and bacon, yum, we watched Nico buy several pairs of beautiful shoes as Rachael drooled over studded Louboutin shoes. We managed to find all the high shops, from Prada and Gucci to a bunch I’ve never heard of. The day also included a trip to the wonderful Decathalon for new shoe inserts for my pathetic, almost-dead tennies and golf stuff for Nico. Now, Nico’s backpack was already full of shoes from shopping all day, so he took the opportunity to ask me: “Can you carry my balls in your purse?” Nuff said…
The evening we proceeded to have a mini-dance party in Nico’s flat. The usual mixture of dancing on tables and drinking champagne–plus Nico attempted to teach Rae how to dance. That went as well as you’d expect. We also made fat crepes and devoured them, enjoying our last night in Nico’s place.
The next morning, Rach and I packed up our bags before heading off to the Versailles for the day. We had good intentions, even setting an alarm, that turned out to be unneccessary as I couldn’t sleep. (Note to self: make sure air mattresses are always fully inflated). Of course, the palace was full of tourists, with the ticket line taking a nice annoying 15 minutes. I didn’t have to pay, again, and Rae did. Again. We picnicked on a convenient wall and laughed at the tourists, and then, in a great display of karma, we turned around and saw the line to get inside. It snaked up and down the entire courtyard 3 times. Great timing for a lunch break, huh?
But we finally got inside and Rae proceeded to take pictures of every bit of carving or painting. We both had a special moment of nerdy glee when we got to the Hall of Mirrors. Now, as Rach actually had to pay (haha) to get into the gardens, we opted to head back to Paris instead, plotting more adventures. Of course in the interim, Rae needed her coffee and went into a convenient Starbucks, boo. On the train back to the city, a little American boy made my day by noticing: “It’s funny that everyone says, ‘wee-wee.'”
We made it to the Arc de Triumph and took pictures of all of Paris, ones that actually included the Eiffel Tower (thanks for that tip, Katie).
We then ran back to Nico’s to grab our packs before heading to our new place in the suburb of Saint Denis. Disclaimer: Saint Denis is a fantastic place and we had a good time there. It’s also known as the sketchiest part of the Paris area. And the train happens to let you off in the most sketch part of the city. In a great bit of bad timing, Rachael had decided to wear a miniskirt that day, which just added to the attention we got from the locals. So there we were, marching down the streets of Saint Denis, probably the only white people in several blocks at least, and hauling our giant conspicuous backpacks. Still, possible sketchiness of the neighborhood aside, it was fun and our hosts Andromeda and Mateo were great. They’re more well-traveled than I’ll ever be (maybe 🙂 and are very Portlander in their interest in organic, local food and sustainability. We all drank beers and compared travel stories before crashing.