European Appetizer Sampler Part II: PARIS DAY 1
Let's talk a moment about Paris. Throughout my entire life through movies, literature, music Paris has been named the most romantic city ever, the most wonderful city, the place where dreams come true. Audrey Hepburn and Carrie Bradshaw found love in Paris. This city has art, culture, fashion, food, it probably has the most hype of any city....EVER! So when venturing to Paris I had high expectations. Oh and the city she did not disappoint! I found love there too and it was with the city itself! I love you Paris and if I was able I would visit you every year or if I was really lucky I would just call you home!
I loved every minute we were in Paris! Part of my enthusiasm was that I was finally able to find Advil Cold and Sinus so I was feeling better, but also Paris is pretty great. VA and I arrived and had our one moment of unwise traveler scams. A guy offered to take us to our hotel and he didn't have a taxi meter in his car and we were overcharged. It wasn't terrible and we got to our location safe, but we knew better and our gut told us not to go with him, but we did anyway and paid for it...literally! We both talk about it after and if that was the worst thing that happened to us, we were doing pretty good! We got to our cute hotel, had dinner and then headed to see the lovely lady herself - the Eiffel Tower.
Let me back up and talk about dinner. We both had the best French Onion Soup ever at this small cafe near our hotel. I think VA was more taken with it then I was, but that soup was damn good! Then we saw the Eiffel Tower at night lit up in all her glory!
I probably took 200 pictures of the Eiffel Tower. That is not an exaggeration at all. I know it's cliche, I know I fell into the tourist trap, I don't care! I think she's beautiful and I love her! After we gawked at her for a while VA and I headed back to our hotel, we had a very big day ahead of us. That is after I stopped and bought a croissant. I had 18 croissants on this trip. Many of them were very small, but my philosophy is no croissant left behind! At a little shop near our hotel and the Eiffel Tower they made the best croissants. I visited there so much the man behind the counter proposed marriage to me! I considered it based on his pastry skills alone...I could love a man just for that I think!
The next morning we got on our hop on hop off bus so we didn't have to figure out how to get around and began checking out the Paris sites! The architecture was stunning everywhere you turn. Here's some highlights.
Gorgeous Parisian street and at the end is the Comédie-Française their national theatre.
Parts of the Louvre. It's enormous! After doing more gawking at the gorgeous architecture we were headed to Notre Dame.
It was a gloomy day, but the cathedral was stunning. The detail in the stonework was incredible. So interesting to compare this carving to the Viking Ship carving we had just seen a couple days earlier.
The detail in one archway alone and then across the front were individually carved statues of saints all unique and probably 6 feet tall, but looking like tiny figures agains the massive facade. And then once inside it was a lesson in architecture!
These were my two favorite pictures from inside. The massive scale was evident when you walk in, but then you find several different layers and levels and all were lit to highlight the architecture. Several years ago I read Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet. It essentially is about building a cathedral. Along with my decor class I took in grad school these two things have given me such appreciation for architecture and specifically the innovations of cathedrals. Thanks DP for that Decor class!
Look at those arches!
After Notre Dame we had lunch (another croissant) and then headed to Saint Chapelle. This was the one place friends of VA and mine had both (separately) told us we HAVE to see. Guess what? Our friends are smart - it was incredible!
The color was incredible, especially compared to the lack of color at Notre Dame. Saint Chapelle was much smaller then Notre Dame, but equally as impressive. The upstairs room was nothing but a wall of colorful stained glass that told the entire story of the Bible through pictures.
Also this is the alter.
It was incredible. I feel that when I write my blog posts I should have a thesaurus near because I realize I'm using incredible, amazing, wonderful, etc over and over again, but I can't help myself. The sites are so spectacular in person!
After Saint Chapelle I was on a mission...a mission for French beauty products! I read about a place called City Pharma in the Saint Germain district that was like a Black Friday sale every day on skincare, make up, etc. I did not need any more information, I knew I needed to make a pilgrimage.
Saint Germain is a very charming district and VA and I enjoyed wandering through the streets...and then we found it! We walked in and it was packed and overwhelming. I went to the first woman I saw who worked there and asked her what she recommended for me and then I just started shoving things into my basket. Whatever she recommended I bought then VA got in on the action. We came away with two huge bags of French beauty products and after using them for a few weeks I'm sure I look 20 pounds thinner and 10 years younger!
After our beauty excursion we headed off to our final stop of the night the Musee d'Orsay. I know the Louvre is The Big museum in Paris, but ever since I learned the difference between the Louvre and the Orsay I've wanted to go to the Orsay. It is housed in an old train station so it has a different feel then other museums and the art indescribable.
The ceiling of the train station, now world class museum.
I attempted to paint this with water colors in Ms. Jenkins art class in 8th grade. The real Monet was better then my teenage attempt. It's a good thing I switched to theatre.
This has always been one of my favorite Monet paintings. Its so haunting and beautiful.
And after the museum we took and obligatory tourist photo by the Seine River.
The first full day in Paris did not disappoint. We spent it like tourists, but were able to see some of the greatest architecture and paintings in the world so I'd say we it was a successful day!