BLOGGER IS BEING A COMPLETE BITCH AND WON'T LET ME POST ANY PICTURES EXCEPT ONE. My blog is kind of lame without pictures, but I will keep trying. Plus, you can just look at them on Facebook! Anyway, I made notes where I will be placing pictures once blogger stops being an azz-hole.
My friends Carlota and YuanQing were visiting Europe for two weeks, and in addition to going to Barcelona, we decided to go to Paris as well. And of course Val joined us, and so did my Florence roommate Gigi. We left Thursday night, which was Thanksgiving... and it actually kind of sucked spending Thanksgiving in the ghetto Pisa airport eating dried-out pizza, but then Paris definitely made up for it!
After our Thursday night of a flight delay, a mumbling/weird French taxi driver, no towels at our hostel, we had a great Friday in Paris. We started out the day walking around waiting for Val to fly in from Rome and we happened upon a gorgeous park.
Random pretty park and surrounding buildings.
Once Val arrived, we walked around the beautiful Marais district, which was where our hostel was in search for our first French meal. We ended up at this sort of pricey restaurant, but it was SOOO worth it. Unlike Italy, France gives you free bread and tap water... and the bread at this restaurant was amazing! It was from the bakery across the street and it was still warm when we got it! I ordered the French onion soup, which was the best one I have ever had in my life... on the top was crispy and perfectly-charred pieces of baguette smothered in gooey cheese, but it wasn't too rich or gummy. The broth inside was delicious and the onions were cooked to perfection. I was in heaven...
The waiter forgot that Val and I ordered a cheese plate, so we ordered creme brulee instead and I think that was a good choice because it was the only good creme brulee I had in Paris. I got it one other time and sampled another, and both of those creme brulees did not have the correct brulee top that you should be able to crack with the tap of your spoon. These not-so-good ones still had sugar granules on top. Unacceptable! Anyway, this first meal was the best one we had in Paris!
After lunch, we made our way to Champs d'Elysees, which is a long street leading from the Arc de Triomphe to the huge ferris wheel. When we got off from the metro, we emerged into Christmas! Every tree lining the Champs d'Elysees was lit up with these beautiful light blue lights. I was so happy because they have been being assholes in Florence and not turning on the Christmas lights that they already strung along buildings.
Arc de Triomphe
Later, we went to the Louvre because it is free for people under the age of 26 on Fridays after 6pm. It was really overwhelming, but I saw a lot of famous paintings and paintings I have studied in art history classes, so it was absolutely amazing to see them all.
(Photo of the Mona Lisa)
I kept thinking about The Da Vinci Code and how the "Holy Grail" (a.k.a. Mary Magdalene) is supposed to be there. It made me really want to read the book again!
(Photo of the Louvre)
After the art-gasm at the Louvre, we went to dinner by the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower is all lit up at night, but I think it looks rather gaudy and I thought about how in the Sex and the City movie, The Russian's French daughter says something about how it is an eyesore, and I have to say that I kind of agree.
(Photo of the Eiffel Tower)
I think it would look better with white lights instead of blue, and maybe not so intense.
On Saturday morning, we visited Notre Dame, but didn't have time to go inside because we were going to spend the day in Versailles.
(Photo of Notre Dame)
After cafe-au-laits and croissants, we took the 45-minute train to Versailles. It was a 10-minute walk from the train station, and once we turned the corner, we saw the enormous palace. The golden gates were beautiful!
(Photo of Versailles)
We decided to pay a bit extra and get an audio tour and it was totally worth it because it gave you information about the history of the rooms and some of the objects and paintings in the rooms. We toured through the dauphin and dauphine's apartments and then on to the King and Queen's rooms. It was crazy to think that so much history has happened on this estate. In the Queen's bedroom (which was gorgeous and I want to live there), 17 royal children have been born! We also saw the door from which Marie Antoinette escaped. So crazy.
(Photos of rooms at Versailles)
Then we walked around the vast estate grounds. Seriously, it was HUGE! We made it to the Grand Trianon, which was basically an extra huge estate for the Kings. Because it was getting dark and even more cold, we didn't make it to Petit Trianon, which was where Marie Antoinette lived most of the time, but we did get to see a lot of the grounds.
(Photos of grounds)
Sunday, we woke up a bit early and checked out of our hostel and then made our way to the Musee d'Orsay, which has a vast collection of Impressionist paintings. I absolutely LOVED this museum... it had SO MANY paintings that I have studied in my previous art history classes by Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, Renoir, Serat, Millet, Courbet, and more! It was much smaller and less overwhelming than the Louvre, so we were able to get it done in the late morning. The only thing that really SUCKED is that one of the most famous Manet paintings that I really like was on loan to another museum. Needless to say, I was pissed.
After the museum, we grabbed a quick bite to eat before making our way to the Eiffel Tower. I finally had quiche, and even though it was just from a takeaway place, it was delicious! The crust was flakey and buttery and there was ham in it that was super good.
We got to the Eiffel Tower, and there was a bit of a line, but the guy said that it would only take 30 minutes to get to the top... LIE. It was more like 45 just to get to the top, and then it took like 25 minutes to get down, because you have to wait in lines for the elevator at 2 different levels. Anyway, poor Val is way too afraid of heights, so she did not join us... I must say that it was sort of anti-climactic. Once we got to the top, the views were pretty cool, but we didn't really know what we were looking at. Plus, it felt like we were in a cloud because it was so cold and misty.
(Photo of Eiffel and view)
After the Eiffel, we had to make our way back to the hostel and then to the airport because we sadly had to leave! I would have loved to spend a couple days more days in Paris not doing sight-seeing, but rather just walking around the little cute non-touristy districts and going into cafes and eating pastries. But, all in all, it was one of my favorite weekend trips, especially because I got to be with my friends!