Two years ago we had the luxury of going to Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels for our honeymoon. It was one of the best experiences of my life. It was actually the first trip Bryan and I took as a couple, just the two of us. All of our other European adventures had been with our buddy, Shades. For a while, there was speculation among our friends that Shades would be joining us on our honeymoon. But seeing as we were newlyweds, sharing apartments, long walks and romantic dinners would’ve probably become a little awkward at some point.
Our home base for the trip was in Amsterdam. We rented a charming little apartment that overlooked a canal lined with houseboats. After four days in Amsterdam, we took a train to Paris. Our car was pretty empty except for a gaggle of guys. Bryan and I sipped on some Kronenbourg 1664 in anticipation of our Parisian adventure. The ride was pretty mellow until suddenly there was an eruption of laughter. One of the guys was boisterously talking about the piece of you-know-what, he had done you-know-what-to the night before. About that time Bryan and I were in need of refills and he headed to the bar car. The gaggle of guys followed behind him; one of them singing “ I took a shower for an hour…” You can probably imagine why he felt the need. After all, we were leaving Amsterdam. Bryan came back to the seat, two beers in hand and a grin on his face. “What’s up?” I asked. “That was Ginuwine!” he said excitedly. To our surprise, the guy singing “ I took a shower for an hour” was the artist best known for “Pony.” Bryan struck up a conversation at the bar car and learned Ginuwine was on a European tour and playing in Paris that night. So RANDOM that it had to be mentioned.
Paris is magic. It’s honestly hard to describe because so many memories are evoked when I think about it. We were there in mid-October, so it was pretty chilly. The combination of the cool air on our cheeks, the smell of fresh baked bread and beautiful architecture was overwhelming (in a good way). Immediately upon stepping off the train, we followed our noses to a bakery and indulged in a fresh baguette with tomato and Brie. Heaven. This is something you have to do in Paris; eat the bread. Eat as much as you can. To hell with carbs, just eat it. I wish I’d eaten more! Bellies full, we headed to our temporary residence, the Hotel Atlanta Frochot.
The hotel (er, um, hostel is more like it) was in Pigalle, an area known as the seedier side of Paris. I wanted to stay as close to Montmartre as possible and this “hotel” was the most affordable option. To be close to an area of the city where Salvador Dali, Monet, Picasso and Van Gogh once lived, worked and played was very appealing to me. It’s funny because when we booked the hotel, I knew it wasn’t the Ritz and I knew Pigalle had a red light district. I guess I just didn’t realize that our hotel was literally in the heart of it. I remember looking at it on Google street view before the trip and seeing that we’d be staying across the street from a place called Dirty Dick (yes, singular). One would think that’d give some kind of indication of the area. But, for whatever reason I didn’t do the math at the time.
So there we were, on our honeymoon staying across the street from Dirty Dick, next door to a Sex Shop and adjacent to some red light ladies doing their thing in the window front. This might sound like the perfect setup to some couples; however it wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. As dingy as I’m making it sound—it really wasn’t that bad. It was kind of fun staying in area so opposite of what we‘re use to. And, to our surprise, we never felt unsafe.
Would I recommend staying there? Eh…probably not. I also wouldn’t completely and totally advise against it either. It was close to the metro stop, a short walk to Sacre Coeur and offered some of the most interesting people watching that I’ve ever experienced.
Rest assured we saw much more than red light ladies and Ginuwine on our trip to Paris. Until next time…
À votre santé!
Dirty Dick is on the left, should have got a picture of the sign! Hindsight is 20 20…