One of the funniest stories to tell on our return from Paris was getting lost forgetting a little that we were in an unknown, foreign country.
Our story begins on a morning trip to the catacombs. We had tried to go the previous day but being huge haters of standing in lines, my husband and I retreated vowing to come early the next morning. We arrived about 45 minutes before opening and the line had already started to form. My main thought was that this had better be worth it – it was.
I found it a pretty awesome experience as I was not really sure what to expect. After climbing what felt like a million stairs straight upward we rose around 4 blocks from where we entered. A little bit disorientated and tired from previous days of walking, not to mention the stairs, we headed off to find a subway station to journey to Sacre Coeur at Monte Marte all the way on the other side of the city. The subway station we were looking for was quite a walk away still so being tired I made the suggestion to just get on the closest train as it would take us quite close to where we needed to be.
As we ascended from the subway station we started to realise that maybe we were not in the right area. I started to become very aware of the bright coloured top that I had chosen to wear that day and we tried to wipe the look of tourists off our faces. My husband went to get out his phone to look up directions but as it happened every time we went on the subway his data would switch off and the phone would need to be restarted to activate it again. Not wanting to stop walking but not wanting to walk in the wrong direction I was very close to turning around, straight back down to the next train out of there.
As we were waiting an old French man started to walk towards us, I was slightly alarmed and at first tried to walk away until we realised he was saying ‘Sacre Coeur’. Yes, we said quickly! He had obviously seen us standing VERY out of place and realised why we were there. Without us understanding French and with him not understanding English he gave us directions to where we needed to be. Not wanting to chance it any longer we headed off quickly in the direction he said.
After a quick and pretty interesting look at the lower socio-economic side of Paris we arrived at the bottom of the biggest set of stairs. It had to be at the top. So we climbed and climbed until I nearly collapsed at the top in the searing heat. What we were greeted with was beautiful, starkly contrasted to where we had just come from. Sitting down to rest listening to a harpist play the Andrea Bocelli classic, Time to Say Goodbye and taking in the view, we were able to reflect on the kindness shown to us by a stranger and the ability to overcome language barriers.
We walked around and found an Irish pub selling ice cold beer and fish and chips. This was exactly what we needed after our morning. After exploring the area a little more we decided that was probably enough and took the correct train back into the city and back to our apartment.