Oh dear lord Paris in Autumn has added a whole new level onto my love for this city. Although, as a Scottish person I wouldn’t even know it were autumn if the leaves weren’t changing colour, since today I was out with no tights on in 25 degree heat.
Thinking about what I’ve been up to recently for the sake of this post, I realised that my activities have revolved a lot around dead people. This was not intentional. Last weekend, me and a few friends queued for almost 2 hours to go beneath the streets of Paris and be creeped out by around 6 million skeletons all piled up underground. That is, we went to the catacombs. It’s a trip I have been meaning to make for aaaages and it didn’t disappoint. It was spooky and at times a tad morbid, with skulls organised in heart shapes or odd little french poems about death signposting the paths, but still crazy to think that we were literally underneath Paris.
The theme carried on this weekend when I went to Père Lachaise Cemetery, basically the biggest cemetery you could ever imagine where lots of famous people are buried. Some of the graves and memorials looked like actual houses, and I can now successfully say that I have been very close to the remains of some of the greats, like Piaf, Wilde and Chopin.
I have also done other fun things not surrounding bones you will be glad to hear. Two friends from home came and visited (they were actually on a romantic getaway which I totally intruded on), which gave me an excuse to be a tourist, which I sometimes feel bad for when I’m by myself. I feel like I should be doing more kind of ‘off the beaten track’ things, you know what I mean? I ate takeaway pizza with some friends with my legs dangling over the Seine which made me feel like I was in a movie, and we went to an all-night arts festival in Paris which involved some very strange exhibitions like a light show in a church and a lot of people dancing in a shopping centre covered from head to toe in glitter. No complaints.
As I said, autumn here is something else. I am one of those total summer addicts who would be quite satisfied if summer lasted all year (apart from at Christmas obvs), but those autumnal colours are really getting me this year. My phone’s camera roll is currently a lot of pictures of orange leaves and streets lined with browning trees, which I do not think of as a bad thing whatsoever.
I want to take a minute to write an ode to the young person’s travel day pass here. Since I don’t yet have my Nagivo pass (I’m not even going to start explaining the horrendous ordeal that is that situation because I will literally cry just typing it), whenever I want to spend a day in Paris you have to buy multiple different tickets per day for different types and lines of transport. BUT the young person’s travel day pass is around 4€ for as many uses as you want for a full day. It is unlikely that anyone reading this will care about this fact, but it has made my life.
Life here is generally going pretty wonderfully. That is minus the french bureaucracy. So so so many people warned me about how slow every aspect of french admin is, but I totally did not expect them to be as right as they were. No one replies to emails, yesterday alone I called the same company four times and got four different but equally unhelpful responses, and absolutely everything takes weeks to months to actually start working or happening. But that extreme annoyance aside, all is well. I had probably one of my proudest moments of my time so far here recently, when a french woman asked me for directions (I am obviously really starting to resemble a true Parisian), and I actually knew where she wanted to go and how to tell her how to get there.
Look at me go, I’ll probably be running guided tours someday within the next few weeks.
Best wishes from Paris x