Monday, March 26, 2012

Goodbye Italy - Hello Paris!

After our tour we headed back to the hotel, loaded a bus and went to the airport. Our plane ride was only about an hour and a half and we made it to Paris… well… the outskirts of Paris. We had to take another bus to the city center which was another hour+ but I can’t complain – I am in Paris! We made it to the city, figured out the metro stop and headed to our hostel. The hostel was really nice – we’ve really lucked out with them! We got settled in and went out on a search to find food, and we stumbled upon a crepe restaurant. Hey, when in Paris right? We chowed down on our crepes and then made our way up to sacre coure (275 steps later) to see it at night. We were pretty tired from our travels so we headed back to get some sleep and prepare for our long day ahead.
Sacre Couer at night

Morning came and we arose early – well, 8 am. We headed out and began our day full of walking. We wandered the streets and hit a bunch of smaller tourist stops like Mary Magdalene, the Pantheon, the Opera house and a few churches.  Since the day was cloudy and a little rainy, we decided to spend it doing the inside things. So we went to the Louvre… biggest… museum… ever. It was a bit overwhelming; so much to see, and since we had other things on our list, we tried to just hit the main points- ya know like Mona Lisa… no big deal. After the Louvre, the next big stop was Notre Dame. Of course on the walk there we had to stop for another crepe for a snack – my choice: Nutella and Banana. Mmmmmm… Don’t judge.
The Louvre
We made it to Notre Dame, and I know I keep saying how this church was great and that church was great, but wow is all I have to say about this. It was absolutely amazing; words can’t describe what this place is like. There were so many people, which usually ruins an experience, but this was still pretty amazing. There were a ton of prayer candles, so I put in my offering and lit one for my grandma who is on her way to getting better. I spent a lot of time in the cathedral – the stained glass was unbelievable. It was a lot to take in at once.
Prayer Candle flame for Grandma

Notre Dame

After the time in the cathedral we made our way to find some more smaller stops, but then decided we wanted to hit Pompidou. This is the weirdest building, doesn’t fit in with Paris at all, but man is it cool! It’s an architectural wonder. All the structure and ductwork and pipes are exposed and are color coated - basically it's a building turned insidee out. It is an odd site to see, but it’s pretty cool. We made our way in – free of course because we’re students! – and walked through the modern art museum inside. I have to admit that modern art museums are more bearable for me for some reason. But by the end of it, our legs and feet were hurting! We had walked all over Paris and were ready to sit down and take a break. We decided to go grab dinner before heading back to the hostel; we found a place right next to the museum – Chouchou. I got duck for the first time in my life, and I will admit it was pretty darn good! For dessert I had an apple tart, and although it wasn’t like the tart we are used to, it was still pretty good. After we were full and even more sleepy, we headed back home – thank the lord for metros so we didn’t have to walk all the way back home. We got back and caught up on family and life a little bit and fell asleep… hard. What a great first day in Paris.
Pompidou Center

The next morning we awoke bright and early to make it to Versailles. We got on the metro and began our journey to the train to take us there. We made our transfer and got to the station… to find out the train was not running. The sign in French explaining what to do wasn’t very helpful, but after looking at it long enough we figured out what stops we needed to get to next. We got back on the metro and headed to the next station… to find the line we needed to get on shut down for the day. This wasn’t our day! So we asked the information desk what to do next and he guided us to the station we needed to go to. We finally got there and searched high and low for our train. When we thought we finally had it figured out, we went to go buy our tickets… to find out Katie had been pick pocketed… Lost her money, cards, everything. We took this as a sign that we weren’t supposed to go to Versailles this time and went back to the hostel to take care of everything.
After a long afternoon of phone calls and reports, we finally made it out to do some more tourist stuff. The Arc de Triomph and Eiffel Tower were on our list. The Arch was cool, but the tower – of course that was the winner. There was only one lift working so the line was pretty long, but well worth the wait. We made our way through the line and up the lift to the very top level. I knew it was pretty tall, but being that high up was pretty incredible. We took a 360 degree view of the city and made our way back down to the next two floors. Being here was absolutely amazing – only been in my dreams. Now I can check it off the bucket list. :)
Eiffel Tower!

We decided to stick around and eat dinner there so we could see the tower lit up at night. We ate at a restaurant that had some of the best pizza ever; and we weren’t even in Italy! I got the Country pizza. It had bacon, onions, mushroom, and a fried egg on it. Talk about delicious! We finished just as it got dark so we went back to see the tower lit up, and then we made our way back home. We did some souvenir shopping, of course, and got a crepe – with nutella and bananas again! :) I’m telling you, you have to try it. After we got our fill in, we made our way to 10pm mass at Sacre Couer. It was absolutely amazing inside, and the service, although it was in French, was beautiful. By the end of it we were tired from the long day and made our way back to pack and get some sleep for our next big adventure – travelling to Barcelona.
Eiffel Tower shining bright

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