Okay, so as many of you probably know, I was VERY excited to go to Paris because I've wanted to go since I was 12. Edinburgh was a very tough act to follow, but we still had a great time spending a week in Paris. I was pretty nervous the first couple of days just because we were kind of on the edge of town (but very close to the metro, so it wasn't really a big deal) and also because of the language. I've taken French for a while, but it's different actually being in France and having to get around. As time went on though, things got easier, and we made it through just great.
Here's a quick rundown of things we did:
Day 1: This was mostly a travel day. We took the train from Edinburgh to London and then from London to Paris, so by the time we actually got in, it was late and we basically just had dinner at a cafe near our hotel and went to bed. (Our hotel is in the Montmartre area of Paris).
Day 2: We slept in, then found a patisserie for breakfast where we split a baguette (which we then did every morning after. It's a tasty breakfast. I love bread). After breakfast, we went to Sainte Chapelle, and were a little big disappointed by the fact that the main part of the chapel was being restored and therefore blocked off. It was still very beautiful though.
After that, we went to Notre Dame, but decided not to climb all the way to the top because of the extremely long lines.
We had lunch near a fountain somewhere and after a short nap, went to Sacre Coeur.
Greg thinks his hair looks bad in this picture. He wants everyone to know that. We were really excited about this because one of our favorite movies, Amelie, has a great scene here. We even looked through the same telescope-ish thing as they did in the movie. I'll spare you the picture for that one. Then, to continue the Amelie theme, we found the restaurant where she works. We got lost a few times on the way, but it was well worth it.
Day 3: We started the day at the Louvre, which was great. We ended up seeing the Mona Lisa and the Venus sculpture despite big crowds. It was crazy to see them in person, but you couldn't really get a good look because of all the tourists thronging around. Oh well. Here are some of our other favorites:
After the Louvre, we had some delicious quiche for lunch and ate ice cream in the Tuilleries gardens, which was lovely. Then, we walked down the Champs Elysees and to the top of the Arc de Triomphe.
It was a very full day. We decided we didn't really want to go to a restaurant for dinner, so we bought some cereal and milk and ate it out of plastic cups at our hotel. It was very satisfying.
Day 4: This was another museum day. We spent the morning at the Musee d'Orsay looking at impressionist and post-impressionist art (definitely my favorite style). Unfortunately, cameras were not allowed, so I have no pictures to share. You will just have to go yourself. Afterwords, we got lunch at a boulangerie and ate on the steps of the museum. Our favorite part was this incredible dessert:
My mouth is watering just looking at it. It was SO good. After lunch, we went back to the hotel to do some reading and writing and maybe a little bit of napping too. Then, for dinner, we went to a restaurant suggested by Katherine, called La Gare. It was delicious (though not as delicious as Kennedy's cooking) and the atmosphere was very cool because it's in an old train station.
Day 5: We spent the whole day at Versailles, which was amazingly extravagant. I don't think I could live in a place so huge and richly decorated. It was definitely interesting though, and the grounds and fountains were beautiful. We also saw Marie Antoinette's palace, which was also amazing.
When we got home, we decided to gorge on Dominos pizza. So not French. But so tasty.
Day 6: We spent most of the morning in Pere Lachaise Cemetary, which may sound odd, but you'd be amazed by how many famous people are buried there. It's also huge, so it took us a quite a while to scope out all the graves we wanted to find. We ended up looking at Seurat, Bizet, Delacroix, Balzac, Proust, Edith Piaf, Moliere, Bellini, Rossini, Poulenc, Jim Morrison (oddly enough), and, our favorites: Oscar Wilde...
We had lunch outside the Pompidou Centre, which was cool to look at, though kind of ugly really. Then we walked around St. Germain de Pres, a really cute area that reminded us of Manhattan. We walked inside a very old church there and had a delicious crepe with nutella and bananas.
For dinner, we randomly decided to go to a restaurant we read about in our guide book that was in Montmartre. But when we got there, there were people everywhere grilling hot dogs and kebabs. We found a flier saying that it was the Fete de la Musique. So we bagged the restaurant, bought some kebabs, and walked around listening to various bands performing along the street. Our favorite was a group consisting of a guitar, accordian, cello, tuba, a clarinet, and a singer. They were awesome.
Day 7: The first part of the day we spent looking around at the Galleries Lafayette shopping center. If I had an unlimited amount of money, that's where I would have been buying clothes. Every designer I can think of had a store there. It was quite overwhelming.
Next, we had lunch on the steps of the Paris Opera House. We wanted to go inside for a tour, but unfortunately there was a rehearsal going on, so we couldn't. Luckily for us, someone outside decided to give an impromptu solo of Andrew Lloyd Weber's Phantom. If only he had been on key...
That night, we went on a river boat tour on the Seine. It was really lovely. It was the best weather we had all week and we went right at sunset, so it was beautiful.
Then, we went to the Eiffel Tower. We got to it right when the lights came on, so our timing was pretty much perfect. We had to wait in a very long line, of course, but the city looked beautiful from the top. It was a great way to end our stay in Paris.