Paris: Dernier Jour

Sadly, this is my last post about Paris. I wish i would have been able to spend atleast two more weeks in France, exploring but my time abroad had finally reached its end. On our final day in Paris, we decided to make our way to Montemarte. As a side note, the movie Montemarte is featured heavily and the film Amelie, which i have only seen thousands of times and is probably one of my most favorite films ever. I was very excited to see this space, as it is portrayed as being achingly romantic, filled with charm and intrigue. We took the metro to the Abbesses stop , and got off, climbing up seven stories to emerge into Montemarte. Right away i was struck by the number of tourists scurrying along the streets. Not a great first impression i guess, but i still had high hopes as we walked towards Sacre Coeur, the white beacon we had seen in the paris skyline days earlier. We arrived at the foot of the hill, making our way towards the top, finally arriving at the crest with the church looming over, only to be surrounded by hundreds of people. It was as if one was wading through water (except the water was actually bodies) Another little surprise was that the church was closed to the public because of a special church event. We were told we could come back the next day... too bad we were leaving. We split from here, i, officially pissed by the entire letdown that was Montemarte in those moments, went with my brother and my mom to explore more of the area away from most of the tourists while my other brother and my dad ventured on to the opera which my mom and i had seen the day before. Our journey through Montemarte led us to some bookstores, and various other destinations, but the most wonderful ( and pretty much why i still have hope for Montemarte when i return) place we visited was this AMAZING bakery. I got some creme brulees which was by far the most extraordinary i have ever had. My mom got a lemon tart which she was also pleased with. We hate our sweet treats in this little park nearby which had a giant wall of love notes. The mural depicted a woman saying, " Love is the disorder... so enjoy!" and below it are various messages to loved ones.

We spent a good portion of the day wondering in Montemarte so late in the afternoon, we decide to go on a boat tour of Paris. It was a beautiful day and the wind was whipping by as we made our way under bridges and through the city on the Seine.

That evening we stayed out relatively late, soaking in the last little bits of Paris, walking along the river in the twilight. Thinking about it, I really enjoyed my time in Paris.. not having experienced it before, i had heard so many people say, "you will love it." I was skeptical, but the moment i arrived i knew.. it was my city. I felt completely comfortable and at home there and there are very few places that i have ever felt that way about. I cant wait to go back, and i know i will, which made leaving just a little bit easier.


Paris: Sixieme Jour

So on the sixth day in Paris our little family split up, my brothers and my dad went to normandy beach and my mom and i decided to explore more of Paris. We decided to see some things that we both were wanting to see, the Opera and the Pere Lachaise Cemetery. First we had to move luggage from our apartment in the latin quarter to la defense which was quite a trip. We finally made it to the opera after a quick break at the hotel we were staying in the last two nights. The Opera was simply gorgeous and one of my favorite places i visited while abroad. It was so immensely grande and i could feel the history of the place.

After the Opera where we spent a considerable amount of time, we decided to make our way to the Cemetery. On our way we stopped by a gigantic street market right outside the cemetery. It was full of wonderful antiques.. i could have spent days there..ugh it was bliss.

The Pere Lachaise cemetary has a myriad of vital individuals housed inside its walls, including Edith Piaf, Chopin, Proust, Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein, and Jim Morrison. My mom was really excited to see Jim Morrisons grave, and i was really wanting to see Oscar Wildes. Jims was strewn with various things, bottles of whiskey, kisses, cigarettes etc. Oscars is COVERED in kisses, so much so that there is a plaque on the grave urging people not to do so.


Paris: Cinquieme Jour

Finally blue skies! On friday we arose a little later so we didnt do as much on this day... mostly eating and wondering. Our first stop was the Eiffel Tower which was a marvelous site to behold. The structure itself is so impressive and such an icon and once above the mess that it rests on, one felt they could breathe. Waiting in line for the tower (we walked up) took a while, but the location.. the park around and the plaza directly below was swarming with african swindlers, selling cheap trinkets.. shaking their mini eiffel towers on the metal ring to which they were attached. I also noticed a number of people attempting to pickpocket.. whether they would "find" a ring on the ground or some other feeble attempt to distract you. I had my fair share of this traveling so by this point i was completely sick of it.. because it was so obvious what they were after and all the more disgusting. My brother and my mom ascended the metal behemoth one trembling step at a time. As a person who would prefer to have my feet firmly planted on the ground, this journey was a tedious one.

After climbing to the first lookout point, we stayed momentarily, and then moved onto the second leaving my mother (whose fear of heights is worse than mine) sitting with a bottle of coke (her staple). The second viewing platform was as far as i was wanting to go..my stomach already starting to quiver.. but what a beautiful view of paris! It was blue skies all around, the wind whipping around fluidly and the sun baking the ground below us.

i like to call this "andrew plots." I feel like his inner monologue goes as follows: " hhahah.. must figure out how to make my own eiffel tower.. or perhaps steal this one."

We climbed down after about an hour up on top and continued on, walking towards the siene.. taking a break on the shore for a few minutes. We moved on to a pivotal plaza in Paris.. the name which is escaping me now.. and then onto our dinner at the La Crypte Polska. Having had our share of french food at this point, we decided to try something a little different, Polish. Located in the Crypte of a church, this lovely little restaurant had delicious pierogies and tasty beer! After dinner we decided to walk down the Champs Elysees snacking on a crepe along the way. Thus, our day ended with a relaxing stroll.


Paris: Quatrieme Jour

Hoping for less cloudy days, we awoke the next morning, only to find just that. We ate some more delicious bakery goods and then headed off to actually go inside of Notre Dame. By this point we had probably walked by it ten times, coming to and from our apartment, but we had yet to go inside. To be honest, at this point in my travels i had seen so many churches, it was hard to be as impressed if i hadnt had my experiences in italy. The inside was gorgeous and domineering... all the qualities a church usually possesses: fear and awe.

After the church, we headed out to see the crypte museum which was something i was interested in.. until we got there. Located in (below) the plaza directly in front of Notre Dame, this museum left ALOT to be desired. I was hoping for.. i dont know.. perhaps a crypte! Needless to say.. we basically sprinted through it, not wanting to waste any of our precious time. We tried to go to S. Chapelle but the line outside was horrendous so we decided to grab lunch in the Marias district. We ate outside at a really lovely place, however dont order sausage if you are wanting actual sausage, because you will get a hot dog (unfortunate). We split from here, each of us going different directions: I headed towards the Musee de Mode (Fashion Museum), My mom, chris and dad went to S. Chapelle, and Andrew went to the Aviation Museum. All of us (except Andrew) ran into a bit of bad luck. I traversed the subways across Paris, finally arriving at my destination, only to behold that the museum was closed. until 2010. I was pissed, but as i learned later, the other three arrived at S. Chapelle only to find it closed to visitors due to a concert. We all met up at the Centre Pompidou which i was very excited to see. The collection there was amazing.. and i could have spent an entire day there, but i was less than impressed with the architecture itself. It was more confusing than i had originally thought.. especially with the idea of simplifying visitor movement. I guess i could say i had higher hopes for it..

After the Centre Pompidou, we made our way to the Arc di Triumph where we ascended the dizzying steps to the top. The view up here was amazing and i would definately recommend climbing the hundreds of steps. My dad didnt make the climb.. so it was just the bros and my mom on top. It was right around the time the eiffel tower turned on and spazzed out, so it was perfect!

crazed andrew vs. docile andrew

This was an extremely lovely day and probably one of my favorites in Paris. We were able to see a lot, and was simply wonderful.