This year marks the third year in a row where I’ve been on a work trip the first week of January. Three years ago, I was in Portland, Oregon, then last year it was Mequon, Wisconsin. This year, it was Paris.
I was not going into this trip looking forward to it. The workshop that was the main purpose of the trip had been moved, so I wasn’t really sure why I was still going to Paris. Additionally, Chloe wasn’t going on this trip due to her own personal trip, so I was going solo, which I was sad about.
But, as I should have known, it was not as bad as I was making myself believe it would be. Various members of the team got drinks after work or hung out with me in the evenings, so there was only a couple nights where I was eating alone. (Tip: if you are ever eating alone and that’s something you don’t enjoy, find one of those conveyor belt sushi restaurants. That’s like prime eating alone restaurant).
I did a couple of fun things this trip. The first was going skating at the Grand Palais. It’s a huge historical building that’s used as an event space and museum. We went at night, when they do a ‘party skate’ with a DJ and light show. It was very cool to even be in such a magnificent building and the light show only enhanced that. It was very busy, which I had expected. We couldn’t skate very fast because there were so many people. But overall a good time.
The other thing I did was spend Saturday in and around Jardin des Plantes. The Jardin des Plantes has botanical gardens, natural history museums, a small zoo, and at this time of year, a light display called Océan en Voie d’Illumination.
I spend the early afternoon walking around the zoo, which has a lot of endangered species and is actively participating in working to make it so they’re not endangered. Since it’s fairly small, there are only smaller animals. A lot of them were very cute and I spent a lot of time watching the snow leopards play. (Cats are just cats). The zoo is also very old, and some of the bird cages look like literally just giant versions of a stereotypical bird cage.
Unfortunately, my ticket to the light display was timed for 8:30, so I had some time to kill until then. The light displays are just in the park even in the day, so I didn’t want to walk through the park too much and ruin the light display. I wandered around for the rest of the afternoon in the surrounding neighbourhood. Came across a protest (not shocking) and just started heading in the opposite direction. It was nice because I’d never been in that area of Paris before, but it was a long time to just be walking around aimlessly. I did find a place to sit near an outdoor cafe and read my book for a while.
After dinner, I was still too early for my timed ticket but I figured I might as well head back to the park anyways. There was hardly any line and there didn’t appear to be areas for the timed tickets, so I just went ahead. They let me in no problem. Maybe not worth the price of the ticket, but it was fun. It would have been better if I hadn’t been walking around the park earlier and caught glimpses of the structures.