Wednesday, July 14, 2010

An American mademoiselle in Paris

Le Tour Eiffel

Although I have been posting a lot recently about Spain winning the world cup (yay!) I have also had time to do some traveling. Since my friend Lauren Edwards is living about an hour and a half outside of Paris and came to visit me in Madrid, I wanted to return the favor and visit her! Sooooo hard right? I arrived very early on Tuesday morning and took the metro to our hostel located near the Sacre Coeur in the Montremarte area. The area was really cute with lots of cafes and bakeries yum! Since Lauren was arriving a bit later on the train I walked around and got a sense of the neighborhood. I met Lauren at the hostel and it was really great to see her!! After grabbing a coffee and a pain au chocolat we hopped on the metro to go see the Eiffel tower. Even after years of seeing it in pictures and in the movies, it was really cool to see the tower in person. It's huge! I took tons of pictures of it from the trip both during the day and at night. Then we walked up from the tower to eat a lunch of crepes (double yummmmmm) and then across the river to see the Louvre and the Notre Dame. While walking around Paris I noticed how beautiful the architecture all over the city is as well as the gardens. We spent an hour just relaxing in the Tulieries gardens and they were absolutely beautiful! We walked to see the building of the Louvre which is impressive in itself and then walked on to see the Notre Dame. After visiting the Notre Dame and seeing the beautiful stained glass there we went to have a drink and people watch in the Latin Quarter. After resting at our hostel for a bit, we went to the Arc de Triomphe to climb it and see the sun set over Paris. It was fantastic! After seeing the Arc we went to the old Jewish quarter to eat some to die for falafel. I mean it was out of this world. After so much walking I fell right asleep and slept like a rock.

The next day we got up early to go see the Versailles palace. After taking the train with a lot of other tourists we arrived at the palace to see a ton of visitors. However, because Lauren and I are EU residents we got to bypass the ticket line and go into the' free! Being an EU resident between ages 18 and 25 totally rocks, we were VIPs at most museums! Versailles Palace was probably one of my favorite places that I saw while in Paris. The sheer opulence is something you just can't see anymore. It was great to walk through the halls and imagine living there, like in a fantasy world. But even better were the gardens. After we saw the Palace we went to the town bakery to get sandwiches and pastries for a picnic. After having a lovely picnic in the gardens we took a stroll and saw Marie Antoinette's mini palace. As if having Versailles wasn't enough right? After seeing some more of the massive gardens, we took the train back to Paris proper and went to see the Louvre (not after stopping for a pastry first, of course). Seeing great art requires equally great nutrition. The Louvre is an impressive collection of artwork and sculptures, although for me quite overwhelming. We did the best we could to see lots of things in the time we had but you could spend months in the museum. After the Louvre we went to the FIFA village Paris had set up behind the Eiffel tower with a huge screen to watch Spain beat Germany to go to the finals! There were a lot of Spain fans so it was really fun to watch.

We woke up Thursday for my last day in the city before returning to Madrid. We walked a little more around our neighborhood and stopped again at the Sacre Coeur to take pictures and get coffee. Then we metroed to Musee d'Orsay, the museum famous for its collection of impressionist paintings. The museum building was once an only train station so it was really beautiful and had a lot of natural lighting. I really liked the Musee d'Orsay because I love impressionist works but I also really liked the way the museum was set up. It had a large collection but was manageable. After finishing with the museum we got a picnic lunch of bread, cheese, and fruit and ate it in Montrematre. Since there was not much time before my flight we walked to see the Moulin Rouge (not as cool as the movie). Then we sat at a cafe having a glass of wine as we people-watched in true Parisian fashion. Tres bien!

Lauren and I at Versailles Palace

In front of the Louvre pyramid

The Sacre Coeur

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