It was my first Eurostar trip and I enjoyed it immensely. While we were going under the English Channel, I kept thinking about how there were fish and coral reefs right above us. I wished the tunnel was see through, wouldn't that be awesome?! Above is the very first sighting of France, the countryside. To my keen observation techniques, I can confirm that it looks exactly like every other countryside, including Kansas :)
We arrived right around lunch time. One thing was on my mind: CREPES. We searched around for a reasonable crepe stand and France is very well known for its crepes, so it wasn't a challenge.
Deciding where to go and what to see was a bit difficult. There was so much to see and only 2 1/2 days to fill up! We took the metro to the world famous museum, can you guess what museum I might be talking about?
Yes, we went to the Louvre! The Louvre is the most visited art gallery and museum in the world. Inside this worldly wonder you can gawp in open mouthed disbelief at the Mona Lisa, take in the immense and awe inspiring Liberty Leading the People and get kicked out by security when you try to uncover the Holy Grail by digging through the marble floor.
(Above) The first of many touristy pictures...
While the Louvre hosts hundreds of thousands of beautiful art pieces, statues from lost worlds, documents of historical events, the most famous of all is Da Vinci's Mona Lisa. Before I came to Paris, I had heard that the Mona Lisa was disappointing. Many people told me that it was much smaller than they had anticipated and not quite as glamorous as they had expected. I came prepared to see this tiny portrait of the mysterious woman and I was actually surprised about the size. It seemed to be an average size of most portrait paintings...I have no idea what all those people were talking about! There were so many people crowed together just to see this painting. I found out that the only reason why this painting is so famous is the fact that we don't know anything about her, zip. And it has nothing to do with the fact that she has no eyebrows :) There are some theories that say that this could be a self portrait of Da Vinci himself. Perhaps he saw himself as a woman? Hmm...
We figured that if we're at the Louvre, might as well look at some other world famous artifacts. We saw the acclaimed Venus de Milo. As usual, I had assumed that it was sculpted by a guy named Milo. Apparently the artist is unknown and the name Milo comes from the city where the statue is believed to have been created. Huh.
Passing cliche French cafes and crepe stands, we came across a playground. This playground caught my eye because it is not the run-of-the-mill kind, it has TRAMPOLINES! Yeah, trampolines! Those French kids sure are spoiled...
In the plaza of the Obelisk, there were these gorgeous water fountains that looked too familiar. After taking several pictures of the fountain, it hit me. These were the exact same fountains that were filmed in The Devil Wears Prada!!!! So many movies have taken place in Paris...
The Arc de Triomphe was a ways away, but even from a distance, it stand majestically at the end of the axis of Paris. The Arc de Triomphe is a famous monument in Paris that honors those who fought for France, in particular, during the Napoleonic Wars and it also includes the tomb of the unknown soldier. There is a flame, dubbed the eternal flame, which burns eternally. This flame has been put out several times by idiots who wanted to make Paris and France angry, so they peed on it and in result got kicked out of Paris for good. :) I suggest that if you are extremely poor and do not care about coming back to France, this is a good way to get a free one-way ticket out of France forever, that is something to consider.
The tower is the tallest structure in the French Capital and at more than 1000 feet high, you get the best view of Paris. I don't know if you can tell, but it was really windy at the top, but the sunset was beautiful and I enjoyed looking down on the city of Paris and watching the lights come on.
We got home around 12:30 from our incredibly tourist day. I passed out so hard that I didn't even change into my pajamas...yeah, that tired! Remember the free city tours I raved about in Berlin and Edinburgh? Believe it or not, Paris also had one! The exact same company with the same protocol, but different people. This time my tour guide was from Pennsylvania...random I know. He was fresh out of college and chose Paris because he knew French and really liked it when he did a brief study abroad trip in college.
Below is a picture of Prefecture de Police, or in English, the Police Headquarters. Control of the headquarters has gone through several hands. It was once the actual police headquarters of Paris' finest police officers and detectives (I don't think this is where Inspector Jacques Clouseau worked haha). Then Hitler took over and turned it into a Nazi control office. Then, (I think) some royal family members lived here at some point, temporarily. And then the people took over and this is where the French Revolution basically took place. It was the royal family (reign of terror) was kept prisoner, Marie Antoinette was kept here. Pretty wild eh? She was beheaded in the plaza where those Devil Wears Prada fountains are and the Oblisk is.
My absolute favorite part of Paris was this spot right here. The sky was so blue, the trees were so richly green and there was a crepe stand not too far off. Life was gooooood until two of my friends wanted to move on (sighs). I spent the rest of the weekend with two friends, Abby and Tyler, who are from University of New Hampshire. It really was a ton of fun walking around Paris with these two, especially when we got a little lost. Abby is really entertaining when she freaks out :)
Sacr Coeur is in Montmartre, the playground of Salvador Dali, Claude Monet, Pablo Piscasso and Vincent Van Gogh. Montmartre is also the place where Moulin Rouge is...yes Moulin Rouge is a real place and believe it or not, it is in Pigalle, a place where there is sex shop after sex shop. It really baffled me just how much there was. I may or may have not blushed a couple of times...
The ONLY picture of the three of us together! Imagine that. It actually is really hard to get pictures taken by some stranger because they could run off with your camera and that would be extremely tragic. Paris at sundown is really beautiful, although I did prefer the georgeous blue sky since it is rarely blue in London.
Tyler hadn't gone up the tower yet, so the three of us climbed 1,021 steps up to the 2nd platform (you can only get to the 2nd platform, which is not the top, by stair). Even though I had just been up to the top the night before, the view was still beautiful and I enjoyed every minute of it. The Effiel Tower was definitely one of my favorite things about Paris. There's just something about it. I was able to capture the brilliance of the sparkling show! I even have a video of it...a bit much? Perhaps. At least I have something to watch when I'm bored haha!
We got to watch the magical sparkling show three times in three different perspectives: once out on the field, once on the Eiffel Tower and lastly on the Metro. The next day was incredibly lazy, we shopped around for some souviners and then sat in the green chairs for 2 hours, just looking up at the blue sky.
Sheryl Crow's Soak up the Sun best describes this moment:
I'm gonna soak up the sun /while it's still free/I'm gonna soak up the sun/Before it goes out on me/Don't have no master suite/I'm still the king of me/You have a fancy ride, but baby/I'm the one who has the key/Every time I turn around/I'm looking up, you're looking down...da da da. I am happy to report that I got some color to help with the hideous British tan I have accquired. Pale is NOT my color!
This chair is reserved for my return to Paris (see my name written all over it? no? That's okay because I used invisible ink), I plan on spending hours soaking up the sun and consuming ridiculous amounts of crepes. Until then, Au revoir!