I know it has been a while since I last wrote but I have been running around like a crazy person doing papers and tests and trying to see everyone one last time and taking in everything as much as humanly possible. But now I am back home in the states, without a car, or money, and an injured foot.. so I have nothing but time :)
So the weekend after Thanksgiving, Matt and I decided to take a trip to Paris. I had been wanting to go to Paris probablyyy since I started learning French in 4th grade, and was even all set up to go my senior year of high school but it didn't end up working out. So Paris has always been this distant dream and now it was becoming a reality! I could NOT wait! Tour Eiffel! Baguettes! Stinky French Cheese! Mona Lisa!
So our plane touched down and the first thing I saw were the golden arches of McDonalds! Really?! It was not my French dream, but it turns out the airport was about 1 1/2 hours from the city, so it wasn't my first view of Paris.
Anyway, we had a night flight and didn't arrive into the city until around 1 am. Then we had to hop on the metro, which I was kinda concerned about since I had visions of the T in Boston at 1 am and it's the sketchiest people in the city in one designated area.. but the Paris metro was packed! It could've been any time of day. We found the metro really easy to navigate too. We had to walk down some creepy dark alley with black hooded figures in French Chinatown to get to our hostel though. I don't think I could've walked any faster! Then we found our hostel, which apparently is a nightclub/bar at night, so we were very confused when we were met with a bouncer when we tried to check in. We made it up to our room and crashed.
So the highlights of our trip:
|Notre Dame Cathedral|
|The Alter inside the Cathedral|
|The back of the Cathedral|
|Gargoyle/View on top of Notre Dame|
|View of Paris from atop Notre Dame|
|The Bell of Notre Dame|
Notre Dame Cathedral:
I walked around with my jaw dropped. I have never seen anything so big or felt so humbled. I couldn't even begin to imagine how it was built so long ago! We were also able to climb to the top of the towers and look out across the entire city. It was amazing how far we could see! Amazing views of the Eiffel Tour! It hadn't really hit me yet that I was in Paris... sometimes it takes a day to really sink in. But standing 228 feet above the city made it sink in pretty quick.
Le Tour Eiffel:
We went up at night, and I was getting sweaty palms as I looked down at the ground and became further and further away from it. But once we got to the top and looked over the City of Lights, it was impossible to not become captivated by the beauty. We went to eat at a restaurant right next to the Tower, "La Brasserie Tour Eiffel", and had the most amazing chocolate mousse cake!
|L'Arc de Triomphe|
|Under the Arc|
|View of Tour Eiffel from on top the Arc|
|Matt and me on top of the Arc|
L'Arc de Triomphe:
The sheer size of the Arc was incredible. It's the second largest triumphal arch in existence! I think its about 100 feet high or so, and we climbed up to the top of that as well. The Arc is the meeting points of various streets that stem off from it, making a star-like shape, or "L'etoile", so we could see every street stretching from the point, including the Champs-Elysees.
|Le Musee du Louvre|
|Palais du Louvre|
Probably my favorite part of our trip to Paris. The Louvre was, well, overwhelming at first. It is enormous! It used to be a Palace, so the architecture and decoration of the building itself were extremely detailed and beautiful, not to mention the artwork covering the walls, the ceilings and scattered about the room. We saw ancient Roman artifacts, hundreds of sculptures, French, Italian, and Spanish paintings (way too many Jesus paintings, if you ask me), and my favorite, the Egypt exhibit. They must have had the entire Egyptian civilization and all their tools and relics in the museum! They had tomb stones, huge slabs of rock with hieroglyphics that were all translated, jewelery, pottery, sculptures, and tools. The amount of Egyptian items they had and the condition they were in were amazing. We also saw the Crowned Jewels of Louis the something.. and, of course, the Mona Lisa.. which I actually wasn't that impressed by. I don't understand why it's so famous?
Also one of my favorite parts. The Musee D'Orsay used to be a train station, but it was turned into a museum and housed the best of the best French impressionist artwork. Monet, Manet, Renoir, Degas, Van Gogh! The Van Gogh exhibit was huge and was definitely my favorite part of the museum.
|The Gates of Versailles|
|The back of the Palace|
|Vicious Swan that was attacking other swans|
On our "last" day in Paris (our flight was cancelled, so we had an extra day), we decided to go to the Palace of Versailles. It was a little bit out of the city, but we took a train and were there in about an hour. It had just snowed the night before, so there was a layer of white covering everything, making it really beautiful. There was no line when we got there, which we figured was because we got there a little on the early side. But we walked around the perimeter for almost twenty minutes before we saw the huge sign saying "CLOSED MONDAYS" (ps it was Monday). Soooo we weren't actually able to go inside, but we got to walk around the gardens and the outside of the Palace, which was still amazing.
|Alter at Sainte Denis|
|Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI's tomb|
|The exterior of the Basilica|
Basilique de Sainte-Denis
Since we had an unexpected extra day we decided to go to the Basilique Sainte-Denis, which I hadn't even heard of but I'm really glad we went. It has a Royal Necropolis of all the past rulers of France, including the tomb of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI. The heart of Louis XVII was on display, which was kinda gross, but also cool :) The church itself was a really beautiful, gothic-style Cathedral, similar to Notre Dame but smaller. Napoleon wanted to make it a national monument to the Kings and Queens of France.
We saw a lot more, but those were the main highlights, along with chocolat chaud, crepes, and the joy of wandering the streets of Paris :)
|Le Tour Eiffel, all lit up|
|Place de la Concorde|
|Aux Champs Elysees :)|
|Under Le Tour Eiffel|
|Le Grand Palais|
|Oscar de la Renta doll inside Le Petit Palais|
|Le Petit Palais|
Paris, je t'aime.