My flight from ORD (Chicago O’Hare International Airport) into CDG (Aéroport de Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle) arrived 33 minutes late due to aircraft maintenance. I had learned on Wikitravel how to get into my intended destination timely by taking the RER train for €9.75. Absent an enabled iPhone, I walked the wrong way before settling into my destination. I had to improvise some français at a Vietnamese restaurant to access its Wi-Fi network to contact my host.

My host is Karim, a guy in his late 30s whom I met only briefly en Perú in September 2011, during another extended round-the-world tour. Through a mutual friend, I discovered that he had been living in Paris so I cold-contacted him via Facebook, and he graciously agreed to host me in his 13th arrondissement 60 m2 flat. I want to learn and to practice français, but he naturally speaks perfect English to me. In addition, Karim speaks français, español, and العَرَبِيةُ. He is a busy man with a bunch of meetings everyday.

I had a ticket to see le Ballet de l’Opéra de Paris at Palais Garnier, arguably the most famous ballet theatre in the world. The show was scheduled to start at 7:30pm, and I am a light sleeper, but I did not wake up from my 2:00pm nap before then. I woke up at 7:00pm and realized I would not be able to make the show on time. My base here is 5.7km away from Palais Garnier, which would have taken 16 minutes. After never having seen the ballet until my first one last December, I have seen three world-class companies in quick succssion: New York City Ballet, Mariinsky Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet. I was slightly miffed to have eaten my €40 ticket.

I decided to walk the city:

15km in my first night walk in Paris

15km in my first night walk in Paris


I walked from 7:51pm to 56 minutes after midnight, the only money I spent being €9 to see la Tour Eiffel. Pictures from my walk below, but I will say that this city is the best lit city in the world, much more illuminated than I would have guessed. Also, the streets were eerily quiet. It felt like a ghost town. The urban silence reminded me of running through the streets of Philadelphia the day of 9/11 but much more beautiful. The total distance traveled was nearly 10 miles, so I am feeling it now.

It was a full moon with a halo

It was a full moon with a halo


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Typical street. I could stand in the middle of it because traffic was dead at this hour on Tuesday.


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Banksy or a copycat? I Googled to confirm but came up empty. . .


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View from la Tour Eiffel. I was unprepared for the long queue to descend to the ground floor, and I went at a dead time!


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Paris is famous for bridge love locks symbolizing relationships. I am going to propose doing this instead of any legal contract for marriage.


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Cour Carrée (Square Courtyard) in the Palais du Louvre


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I didn’t wait for the full moon to align with the pyramid line.


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These dinner and drinking riverboats are a constant on la Seine, the river that bisects Paris.

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This ATM protects you from the elements and provides time travel.