Arrived in Paris and met my couchsurfing host Thierry. Went to an Italian restaurant with him and his friends, and found out a little about Paris.
One thing I found out about Paris is that its unbelievably expensive. More so than London and Tokyo in my impression. Not sure about New York anymore, my visit was too long ago. It's a good thing I’m not heading to Switzerland or Norway on this trip.
We had a drink on the first night in an English pub and it cost 4.50 euros a pint after applying the student discount. Well, still cheaper than alcohol in Singapore, but feels overpriced to me especially after being in the Iberian Peninsula for 1 month, where drinks are very cheap. Unfortunately, I can’t remember how much it costs in the UK.
On my first morning in Paris, I realised I was in the most beautiful major city in the world (the word major is very important, because I think Porto’s still the most beautiful small city). I strolled along Promenade Plantee from Thierry’s House to Bastille and had a very enjoyable Parisian time. Promenade Plantee is an old disused elevated railway line that has been converted, like a similar project in Manhattan, into a linear park running along Avenue Daumesnil. It was beautiful. The park was very well landscaped, and trees and plants were flowering. It was very spring-like but the park was rather quiet because it was off the tourist track, and it was the middle of a a working day.
I also really liked the Velib bike system, the well-maintained leafy streets and tons of rubbish bins around.
I loved it all, and thought that Paris was probably one of the most well-planned cities around.