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My first free day to wander was Sunday and since everyone still seemed uneasy about Paris, I decided Versailles would be a wonderful first day trip. After sleeping too long, I left the house at 10 am and figured I still had plenty of time to catch the train and get there by 11:30 or so. Not true. I am a horrible judge of time with no sense of direction, whatsoever.

Long, embarrassing story short, involving me walking in a giant circle for an hour, I made it to Paris and gave up on Versailles around 1pm. I walked aimlessly around Paris for the remainder of the day. I saw the Palais Royal, le tour eiffel, and Montmartre. I took the metro three times, although one time I couldn’t figure out how to scan my ticket, so I just squeezed myself through the barrier and ran. I thought i heard someone yell Mademoiselle!,  but I’m going to believe that wasn’t directed to me.

Paris is exactly what I dreamed it would be, minus the dreams where I take a roller coaster filled with cotton candy down the side of the Eiffel tower. It is the most beautiful city I have ever seen, sorry New York. Considering the state of emergency Paris is in, I felt very safe. I saw a couple of police on horses by the Eiffel tower but I would assume that to be normal practice. Then it got dark, and sort of scary. Gendarmes out in full force, assault rifles guarding Sacre Coeur, and your typical seedy Parisian thugs, who I met at what I’m going to label “a bad metro stop” .

I bought my train tickets in my best french ( which is likely the worst french anyone's ever heard) and I ordered in french at a restaurant. I felt briefly accomplished when the waiter told me my french was good,  then he asked me on a date. Liar.  Non, I said. Merci beaucoup for the free glass of beaujolais nouveau though. In a semi- buzzed state, I made the train back to my temporary home in the charming village.

Here is the Moulin Rouge, the only disappointment of the day.  If you love the movie "Moulin Rouge", you will hate the Moulin Rouge that exists today.

Tara Cunningham