Friday, December 9, 2011



Paris doesn't need an introduction

She is timeless

How magical and surreal it was to visit these places.  Upon arriving in Paris, we took a river cruise down the Seine.  What a perfect way to introduce us to the city of lights. We saw several historical bridges, buildings, and pieces of art.  We realized very soon that Paris would be a different experience than most of the cities in the past.  In Rome, we pretty much walked everywhere we needed to go.  Paris would be a different story.  There was so much to cover.  So much ground.  We had two days.  We would attempt as much as we could and sleep as little as we could.

After the Seine cruise, we went to Notre Dame.  There was a line but it moved quickly.  The gothic architecture and the flying buttresses were amazing.  I kept thinking of the Disney film The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  The stained glass was breathtaking.

Our tour had included a trip up the Eiffel Tower, however, the tour company had been unable to secure tickets for our group because the iconic tower was under construction and was therefore limited to how many tickets they could sell.  So, if we wanted to go, we had to wait in line.  Weighing the options, we decided we would wait.  We didn't know when we would be back to Paris, if we would be back.  So we waited.  The line was really long but we were behind a nice couple from Australia who were just finishing their eight week stay in the city.  We chatted politely about the city, amongst other things.  We were glad we had someone to talk to because there were several Eiffel tower key chain salesmen that would not leave you alone.  As we purchased our tickets to go the top, the couple told us they were leaving Paris the next day but still have Louvre tickets they hadn't used.  They generously gave them to us and said they hoped we enjoyed the Louvre as much as they had.  Louvre tickets were around 25 euros so to have two given to us was awesome! We finally made it to the top.  The ride up was a little scary but the top was beautiful.  We made it up just at sunset so we saw Paris light up at night.  It was so neat to see the city from the top of the Eiffel Tower.  All the main monuments were lit up.  It was a little breezy, but beautiful.

The next morning, we decided to wake up early, take some pictures by the Eiffel Tower in the daylight, before we headed of to Versailles.  We took a few quick photos and we were off!

We made it to Versailles after a short train ride.  We had a tour around one and we had a little time before, so we grabbed some lunch.  We stopped at a little Cafe right outside Versailles and I can honestly say it was one of the best lunches I ever had.  We got a baguette, apple juice, and pastry for 4 euros.  We felt like it was such a steal!  I had the best raspberry pastry I had ever tasted.  In fact, after we finished our lunch, we went back quickly and purchased the last two raspberry pastries they had. Delish!

The grounds and Versailles were enormous.  There is no way our half hour after our tour was enough time to explore.  We only got down the stair case before we felt we had to turn back!  It was awe inspiring to be there and learn so much about Louise the XIV.

After Versailles, we were off to the Louvre.  We literally crammed all of Paris that we could into one day, trying to get a little taste of everything.  There was so much artwork here it was overwhelming.  There was no way we could physically see it all, even if we did have more time to spend in Paris.  We hit the basics. The Mona Lisa and a few others.  I can't recall the names of now.  Scott recognized more art than I did, which was slightly amusing.  In fact, at first I thought he was just making up names.  Then I realized he wasn't and had to laugh at my little art contisure!

The Mona Lisa. Surprisingly small.  Surprisingly alluring. 

We left the Louvre close to sunset and pretty much realized that we had all the major monuments left to visit.  The above picture is where the Marie Antoinette met the Guillotine.  There's not a whole lot about it but it was here.

The Arch de Triumph.  Saw the real one in Rome, but these one was truly grand.  Didn't have time to get too close.  Being the history obsessed person that I am, I absolutely ate this up, especially with WWII history.  So many famous pictures about the Nazi occupation with these French monuments.

By the time we finished seeing all the monuments, it was dark.  We decided to go and watch the Eiffel tower light up and then grab some dinner.  By the time we finished, we had ten minutes to catch the last metro home!  We made it though, with no time to spare, walking into our hotel room and finally catching our breath after a fully stuffed day.  

All in all we loved Paris.  Who couldn't really?  It's bustling streets. Its beauty.  Its history.  The food, the people, everything makes Paris unforgettable.

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