Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Paris Day Four

Today was our last full day in Paris. We knew we had to really make a day of it, so we walked. Quite a bit.

First up was Sacre Coeur. Better known as the Sacred Heart church. Our only problem was on the way up we ran into a group of men. These men will try to tie some strings around your finger or wrist, pull it tight and then braid it. They will make you pay for them to take it off. They are incredibly intimidating. As we walked up, the managed to separate us. Stephen tried to get to me, but they were incredibly intimidating and in your face. When I finally yelled at the guy to back off he tried to trip and grab me. Lucky for him, I didn't knee him in the groin. Also, lucky for him Stephen didn't get to him afterwards.

Once we got past them, climbed a crap ton of stairs (sorry mom, I know I could say that more refinededly), we were rewarded with a beautiful church and an incredibly view.

After the chapel we walked around Montmartre, the Artist Quarter/district/place. It was full of little shops, artists and people. It was a beautiful area. We even walked around and saw where Van Gogh lived. Which was shown with a nice little plaque. 

I was practicing my proclamation. "Hear ye, hear ye..."

Like so:

After this we finally wound up right in front of the Moulin Rouge. Granted, we had to consult some maps. And while Stephen was looking at maps, I was doing this:

Attractive, huh?

(I didn't go inside dad, Just took a picture outside. Don't worry.)
After the Moulin Rouge, I guess we wanted to cleanse our souls or something? Because we headed to the Sainte Chapelle. Which was the chapel for royalty and royalty alone. It was under construction, but what we were able to see was pretty awesome 

Oh yeah, and we ate some really good (and very expensive. Sheesh) Ice cream. Because we couldn't leave Paris without eating some ice cream.

Next, Notre Dame! We saved the best for last.

Just to put in perspective how tall and huge it is!

That charming montage was thanks to Stephen taking pictures. I was just being completely normal.

 Notre Dame was beautiful, and big and impressive.

To be honest, by this time I just felt done. Really, really done. Done with cities and people and sights and everything. I think I just hit a wall of exhaustion and over stimulation. I don't like crowds and cities (I know, and I'm headed to India. Dumb idea?) but I am so grateful to have the opportunity. I just have to remember to take time to kind of download it all. Recharge so to say.

After Notre Dame we walked the streets, ate some food, ate some more food. And recreated a scene from Midnight in Paris (our favorite movie!) And then, we headed back to pack up.  Tomorrow is our last morning in Paris before we go to Germany!

You know the steps where they pick up Gil Pender? Yeah, these are them. 

Paris Day Three

Day three: Long lines. That is how the day started. But man did it pay off.

We started by going to the Catacombs. I don't know if anyone has ever told you this, but to go underground and see a huge collection of bones. That might not sound all too cool, but it actually really was.

We stood in line for well over an hour, it wasn't actually too bad. Except we had to listen to this poor girl just rip apart this poor guy who just wanted to get a kiss. That's it. It was probably the most painful hour of my life. Ok, that is a lie. But really, the negativity, angst and unhappiness just pouring out of this girl made me sad.

While waiting in line we had some super delicious crepes. Our first crepes of France! Full of delicious chocolate. It was wonderful

The catacombs used to be a quarry, so the first little bit was looking at a lot of cool stone and mining techniques.

And then.... the bones.

Piles and piles of bones. Skulls. Lines of skulls.

It. Was. Creepy.

What happened was the cemeteries in Paris became to full, so some of the monasteries and the Cemetery of the Innocents. So it wasn't a bunch of criminals or anything, and for me that made it less depressing.

And after walking what felt like miles of macabre hallways, we finally made it out into the sunshine. And we went straight to some art!

I liked the Louvre (granted I didn't get to see a ton of it) but I loved the Musee d'Orsay. It was full of impressionist art. We finally got to see some real Van Gogh's.  In fact, they had an entire exhibit on Van Gogh!

I loved all of the art. It was truly beautiful.

Outside of the museum, there was this hilarious old man who was miming and dancing to the clarinet of a nearby street musician. I wish I had pictures of him. It was so hilariously funny. I wish I had it on video.

Afterwards we wandered around we found a crepe place that was so, so, so good. Imagine this, hot, homemade crepe. Filled with grilled chicken, fresh cream, cheese and mushrooms. It. Was. Incredible.

 After dinner we wandered around the Latin Quarter at night. Maybe it was part of the Jazz Quarter. I'm not sure. It was lit up, full of music, fun, food and if felt just like Paris. We walked the streets for a few hours, visiting shops and just enjoying the day. Also, the street musicians are fantastic!

Paris Day 2

This morning we had planned on going to Versailles. Yeah. No. You see, yesterday we walked nearly 13 miles. and we didn't sleep at all the night before. We totally didn't wake up in time to go. But we didn't let that stop us!

We got out the door, turned around and came back in. Put on another sweater (I was wearing two hoodies today( so if I look extra puffy you know why) and left again. We headed straight for the Latin Quarters. Which we kinda accidentally missed just a little. But we still saw part of it, thanks to this lovely old couple who saw us looking confused on the street. Bless them.

First up: Stephen’s church. No, really. It was St Etienne du Mont. Etienne is Stephen in French.

Secondly, the Pantheon (which was under construction). I would like to add that if felt like November. And it rained. A lot. 

From there we walked over to the Sarbonne. Which we saw the outside of. And, due to the pouring rain, decided to go to lunch. (Another thing to add, we had to do a LOT of walking between these things)

Lunch was delicious. I had a croque-madam. And I loved it. Stephen had French Onion Soup, and he loved that as well.

Funny story, after lunch I went downstairs to use the bathroom. I stood and waited because when I went to use the door it felt locked. I waited and waited. A French lady came to use the bathroom. We waited together. She knocked on the door. And then did something to open it. I turned to her, embarrassed, and said, “I’m sorry, I’m Canadian.”

While walking to the Church of St Sulpice after lunch, I practiced my pick pocketing skills. I always wanted to be a thief, but I have a conscience. So I can’t. The only person I can steal from is Stephen. So I stole his wallet and put it in my bag. After much giggling about it, he took me in his arms and pushed me up against a wall (we were walking down a quiet street) the man walking across the street was about ready to come and rescue me from my mugger, as Stephen was saying (threateningly) “Give me the wallet!” It was only my giggling and laughter that kept us from having the police called.

The Church of St Sulpice was incredible. And frightening. They were playing some crazy organ music.

From here we walked to the Point de l’Art. And we bought a lock, wrote on it, locked it on the fence (27.5 steps from the end of the bridge on the left hand side if you are coming from the opposite side of the Louvre). We made our wishes and threw the keys into the Seine.

From there it was to the Louvre! I won’t bore you with a bunch of pictures of art (that we didn’t really take, ha!) But I will say this we got in late. So we took much too long looking at one side, and then realized we had an hour left. And I really had to pee. So we did the walking-fast-have-to-pee-so-bad-fly-by-look-at-that-there-we-go version of it. Someday, I would like to actually take my time in there.

This guy totally creeped me out.

We saw the Mona Lisa just in time. Seriously, We got to her, had a good look (without the crowds!) and then they closed and we were literally herded out of there. We WILL come back!

Afterwards, we were exhausted. So we went to the park right next to the Louvre and sat down. Kind of fell asleep-in-the-sun… It felt great!

We walked back to the bridge and went to the general area where our lock was. We wanted to find it again. Once we were in the general area (and there are hundreds of locks) the very first lock I touched was ours. People, that is just… a sign. I will say no more.

We walked back to the Latin Quarter and had dinner at a quaint French pizza parlor (there is such a thing) where Stephen made friends with the guy sitting next to us and they talked law and school and Stephen made a great connection. Again. As always (he did also break a goblet, just sayin’)

And now, after 11 miles of walking, it is time for bed!