layout

7/03/2013

J'adore Paris

Paris is most definitely one of my top cities in the world.  I don't know if it's the art, the food, the je ne sais quoi. . . but it probably started years ago after many a school trips to Paris where we wandered art galleries and roamed the streets looking for cute boys and kitschy souvenirs (french word right there). Naturally when my husband said he would take me there, I melted like putty into his arms. They don't call it the City of Love for nothing. And if you are one of those weird people who says they hate Paris, then all I can say is, you haven't been to Paris with me.

Dustin used his Marriott points, so we stayed at their boutique hotel right next to the Louvre.  As soon as we checked in, all I wanted to do was go right back outside and see the city at night. So at 11 pm, we traipsed down to the Place de la Concorde to take in the lights. From one little spot you can see down the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre all in one little spin. Swoon.

We had 2 full days, which may seem like a lot to some, but it is definitely not enough time for me. I made a check list of the most important things I wanted to see in order of importance.  We started at the top and worked our way down until our feet were done (or until Dustin was done appreciating old things).

We bought the Paris Musuem pass which got us in free to almost everything, but more importantly let us skip all the lines. First up was the Musee D'Orsay. As soon as we stepped inside, I knew that we could not see another thing in Paris and this trip would be perfect.
 
It's inside an old railway station and hotel. Most people just browse and then flock up to the 5th floor which is chocked full of famous Impressionist pieces.

Next up, a quick run by Les Invalides on our way to the Eiffel Tower. We waited in line here.  And it was long, but we made friends. At the top I volunteered to be photographer for every couple I saw trying to take a "selfie" (I shudder that I used that word).
We had a panini and a nutella/banana crepe for lunch along the Seine and crossed back over to the Trocadero. We switched off taking pictures with this little teenage couple.  I couldn't figure out what was taking her so long to take our picture until I got my phone back and there are probably 20 shotsof this:
Then we walked up to the Arc de Triomphe and wandered the Champs Elysee. . .
. . .Caught a parade of fire fighters. . .
. . . And learned that in Paris you can buy macaroons anywhere -- even McDonald's.
 
We did not buy ours there.  We bought them, like any good Parisian tourist, at Laduree.
After all that walking, we survived the craziest taxi drive ever (he turned right from a left hand land, made up new lanes and sang along to his music which was basically someone singing the word "meow" repeatedly in different intervals of shriek) up to Sacre Coeur.
Sacre Coeur is this beautiful church right located at the highest point of the city and you can see it sticking out from just about anywhere (including when you look out of the clock at the D'Orsay).
 
We decided to climb to the top of the dome, but skipped the crypt.
We did not stop in the Moulin Rouge while we were up in that neck of the woods.  Just admired it form the outside. We also hit up La Madeline, because who doesn't want to share their name with a famous church, on our way to dinner.
We ate dinner at le Souffle, and probably gained a million pounds on our appetizers alone. I had a tomato cheese souffle to start, followed by a salmon souffle for dinner and the creme brulee, white chocolate souffle for dessert.  I ate that entire thing by myself.  And it wasn't small.
 
After dinner we strolled down to the Opera where a pianist was giving a street concert, so we just sat on the steps and listened.
 
On our way back to the hotel we walked through Place Vendome on our way home. It is full of ritzy little shops like Cartier, Christian Dior, Chanel, Tiffany & Co. . . comme ca. I told Dustin if he just popped into one of those stores the next day and bought me a souvenir, my bucket list would be complete and I could die a happy girl.  Well, my wrist was still empty when we left.

The next morning we hit up the Louvre first thing. That place is massive so there was no way to even get a grasp on everything I wanted to see, but we did see all the big highlights.

Dustin was most excited to the Mona Lisa, so we squashed into the room to admire. We sort of rushed through the Italians because I was feeling stressed by the sheer amount of people, and headed over to see the French and Flemish painters.  Of course once you leave the wing where the Mona Lisa is, the place is dead.  It was so nice to wander in piece.  And the bathroom lines were non-existant too!
 
There was a special Giotto exhibit on display, so that was worth stumbling upon. In the end, I made poor Dustin go back so I could enjoy all the Italians one more time.

We at lunch at an outdoor cafe in the Tuileries Garden where I ate a croq monsieur because hello, I'm in Paris enjoying this view:
After some food, Dustin thought he could manage one more art museum if it was small so we walked down the L'Orangerie. On our way there some pick pockets try to lure us in by pretending to wonder if they've just found our lost gold ring. Sadly (luckily??) they were not very good actors. L'Orangerie is probably best known for housing Monet's water lilies, but it's got a lot going for it other than those masterpieces.
We walked down by the river and put a lock on the Pont des Arts. A couple writes their names on a padlock and locks it onto one of the bridges. Then you throw the key into the Seine River as a symbol of your undying love. So cheesey, but it was fun.
When we got to Notre Dame, I just about died.  It's gone pretty commercial with his huge platform thing and basically stadium seating to enjoy the view.  The line was a good quarter mile to a half mile long, so we enjoyed the outside and headed over to Sainte Chapelle which once held Christ's crown of thorns. The upper chapel is covered in stained glass windows which depict the Old and New Testaments.
By this time we were getting tired. We hit up the the Latin Quarter, visited a few more churches and wandered through the Cluny before we quit for a dinner along the Rue de Rivoli. The next day we had to be up for a good 24 hours straight (and we were also getting excited to see the kids) so we bid adieu and headed for bed. Au revoir Paris.


2 comments:

Lisa Brown said...

Wow Maddy! That sounds amazing! If I ever make it to Paris, like I want to, I will have to have you make me a list of must do's :).

Costella Duke said...

Wow!!!Pics, Pics, and more pics!!!I enjoyed them all, especially your Paris pics.