I got sick two days before leaving Geneva so our planned weekend to see the rest of Paris was put on hold (sort of). I was having fever and colds and one of the first things that we did after checking in was to get some medicines from the nearest pharmacy because we already finished the ones that we brought for the trip. Our goal was to get a whole day rest, feel better so we can go out the following day.
At Les Halles
I woke up feeling much better. We prepared, had breakfast and went out. Now, of course, we checked the weather and the temperature outside was below 5 degrees but the feel was -3 because of the wind factor. Unsure if we can handle the cold atmosphere yet we went out.
Our plan: To see the Notre-Dame Cathedral
We took the metro and walked our way to the famous cathedral. IT WAS FREEZING COLD! Even before we reached the church, I was already bargaining that we go home right after seeing Notre Dame since I can tell that I’ll have a fever again soon. (like in the next 30 minutes) Plus, I’m feeling the exhaustion from that short walk. It’s as if my body was talking to me, telling me to have some more rest.
A deal was made.
Just a short visit to Notre Dame and then back to the hotel. Despite feeling tired and feverish, we still tried to get some photos.
Before he took a shot of this photo, I was telling him to make it faster because it was too cold.
I really appreciate that he was the first to say that we should take photos because he knows that I’ll be blogging about the trip. But since I wasn’t feeling well, I didn’t notice that I’m no longer smiling. The photo below was one of those. He told me “smile” but I refused and answered with my natural bitchy tone “please, just get it over with.” In my mind, I know that badly taken photos will never make it to my blog anyway. 😀
at Île de la Cité
This is not our first time in Paris and we’re aware of the different street scams, too. We personally witnessed some of them while commuting and walking. Seeing it happen in front of our eyes makes you more alert as a tourist. We came across the:
- gold ring scam
- the “Do you speak English?” scam
- the coin scam
Then, I also read a very interesting experience from Small Town, Midnight Train when she almost got robbed at the Eiffel Tower. Since then, we became more careful.
“Do you speak English?”
When we went out of the metro, a woman holding a paper with what looks like signatures on it, approached me asking if I speak English. I look at her and answered “NO” thru a head gesture. I didn’t open my mouth so it looks like I don’t speak the language well and after giving her my response, I walked briskly away from her. Then we had to stop after a few steps because we were figuring out which way to cross. All of a sudden, the same woman approached us again, asking the same question.
This time, I answered her in Tagalog/Filipino – HINDI (No). She backed off and then I grabbed his arm and walked away. He asked why I was so snobby and that the lady was just asking. I told him that I already answered her the first time and that we are near the Cathedral so we should not let our guards down especially in that area. Then we resumed walking.
Pont Au Change
This lovely view was the same spot where we were approached by a group of women (again, one of them got this clipboard and pen), running towards our direction and trying to crowd us. I was on the left side and he was near the bridge side. I had the chance to walk away but they were obviously targeting him. Good thing he swiftly got thru the girls, but he said that one of the women grabbed his bag and she was pretty strong for a lady! But he pulled back and walked faster, leaving them.
Then a tourist couple who were taking photos near the bridge saw what happened and when he walked past them, the guy told him to be careful. He just nodded.
We walked side by side again and asked if he was okay. He said that nothing bad happened and they will not get anything from him because everything was with me. He just cannot forget the unbelievable strength of that woman who pulled him from the back. More careful than before, we walked and reached the cathedral.
Before leaving, we offered prayers and lit some candles.
After touring the cathedral, we had snacks in the nearest café and went back to our hotel.
Sickly, almost scammed and solemnity in one day – What an interesting afternoon in Paris!
Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.
— Anthony Bourdain