Eurotrip Day 1 in Paris: “Une explosion de fraîcheur!”

We woke up to rain. I hadn’t expected this weather so I didn’t really pack for it. The thickest thing I brought was a light jacket because I’m from the Bay Area.

My brother rented us a place off Airbnb. The place itself is well, it’s not that nice so I won’t show pictures of it. But I love the view from our balcony so I snapped a few photos:

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After breakfast, we took the Metro to the Notre Dame Cathedral. You might remember from your history books that this was the site of where that hunchback killed himself and the gargoyles sang to attack the angry villagers:

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We got into a line to enter the cathedral and a security guard on his cell phone was angrily gesturing at me. Then he pointed to a sign saying “no hats” and I realized I had to take off my trusty gray baseball cap.

I love me some stained glass windows:

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They were also holding mass as well (don’t worry, I was discreet about this photo):

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Then we headed out. I just wanted to point out the ubiquity of these stores with green plus/cross signs. They are on almost every block, sometimes there are two right across the street from each other. In California, we have tons of them as well, but of course they mean something completely different to us. In Paris, it just means “pharmacy” (I think). But honestly I don’t know why there are so many pharmacies. Do Parisians run out of medications mid-block and panic if they have to travel another three blocks to get some?

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Then we went to the Gardens of Luxembourg. After five minutes, I was like ehhh…let’s leave. I think I’m spoiled from having visited the gardens at the Chateau de Versailles before.

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Then we took the Metro to des Champs-Élysées. I love the Metro stops here often have a theme. There’s one where the walls are covered with crude graffiti, and this one was like was a word search puzzle:

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If I had time, I’d probably want to crudely graffiti all over that word search puzzle.

We saw the Arc du Triomphe. By the way, if my pictures seem often out of focus, it is not only because I’m a bad photographer; it is also because I’m often rushed because my family does not want to wait for me to cross the street or I am hampered by things like incoming traffic. I took this photo while stopping in the crosswalk:

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And there it is:

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Then for the life of me, I just could not figure out how to cross over to the actual Arc. I considered running across traffic, but I didn’t want to die. Then who would write these blog entries for you?

Then we realized you could cross under by using the tunnels (very poor signage by the way, not self-explanatory at all). But ta-da. Or in this case, voilà:

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If anyone can help me figure out how to get rid of the dust stuck under my lens, that would be great.

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Then we went shopping at the Champs-Élysées, which honestly if you’ve been to Union Square in San Francisco or NY, this was like those. So I didn’t take pictures. I did take a photo of this sad panda that I found while searching for a restroom (by the way, no free restrooms here, you have to pay, even at the park):

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Then we headed back to our place, rested a bit, then went to the famous Asian part of the city, which was named Place D’Italie. Makes total sense.

Unfortunately, I forgot my camera and was unable to take our pictures of our food (we had some strange lukewarm Pho with caramel-brown colored soup) and my favorite things: unintentionally comically named products in Asian grocery stores.

But to make up for that, I did find this in our communal bathroom:

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At first I was like, “White Now”? For men? “An Explosion of Freshness”? Then I looked closer and I can see the French words for teeth and brushing. But why is it just for men?

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