Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Paris, France: Baguettes on Baguettes

We took an early train out of Switzerland, bound for Paris! We passed endless yellow field on the way in and when we arrived and tried to navigate the metro a guy handed me a free metro ticket. Paris was off to a great start! Until we got to the Louvre. We walked all around, looking for an entrance, until we saw the sign stating it was closed on Tuesdays. Guess what day it was? Typical. No Mona Lisa for me this trip. I had arranged to stay with one of my friends, Penelope, who I knew from my North Carolina days, so with our afternoon plans shot to hell, we headed toward her apartment through the Jardin de Tuileries. We only got slightly lost and I threw myself down on the ground in the nearest park and prepared to have a slight breakdown. I hadn't been there 3 seconds before a policeman asked me to move to a different patch of grass. I still have no idea as to why. But I followed his instructions and moved myself and my emotions. I was tired of planning, tired of plans not going as planned, I was tired of being lost, tired of spending money, of converting euros to dollars constantly, tired of being hungry, tired of carrying my backpack. So I decided to cry about it for 15 minutes while Kylie sat next to me, probably wishing to be anywhere else. And then I cried about the fact that I was crying in Paris, literally LOOKING at the tip of the Eiffel Tower. What was wrong with me!? 
Did I mention I was PMS-ing? Explains SO much. 
Penel came home soon after and we got the tour of her apartment. The highlight for me was the bed and shower. After a few minutes of conversation, Kylie and I decided to go find dinner and the Eiffel Tower. We got a baguette, cheese, and a giant macaroon, and planted ourselves in the grass in the shadow of Europe's well-known monument. We were infinitely entertained by the excessively touchy couples and one girl in particular who kept trying to do handstands for a photo op. We stayed as the sun went down and waited for the tower to start sparkling. It was seriously one of the most magical moments of my life when those little lights started twinkling. 
We only had one full day in Paris and it was hard to decide what to do with it. I really wanted to visit Versailles, but I knew I needed to give the city of Paris a fair shot. So I decided to save Versailles for my next visit. There WILL be a next visit. 
On a suggestion from my Mimi, Kylie and I visited Musee de l'Orangerie in the morning to see Monet's water lilies. I was not disappointed! I think I appreciated the Monets more than I would have liked Mona Lisa so it was a decent trade. Plus we skipped the monstrous crowds. 
We stopped for crepes on the way to our tour bus stop where we hopped on L'Open Tour and headed back to the Eiffel Tower and stood in world's longest line. I couldn't leave Paris without going to the top, though! Kylie and I stood there, shivering in the shade, playing I Spy and KFM until we were out of objects and out of people. Finally I made it all the way to the very top of the Tower and stood in awe of the sight. It was so cool to stand there and pick out the important monuments like the Arc de Triomphe from the maze of tiny buildings at the bottom. 
After our jaunt to the top, we got back on our bus, planning to venture to the Sacre Coeur. Except we missed our stop and fell asleep and basically paid 30 euros to take a nap. So there's that. Our last daytime adventure was a stop at the famous lock bridge where I caved to tradition and latched my own onto a crowded bar before throwing away the key (there were 3 keys though so technically I still have two in case of emergency or for leverage in fights: "listen Tyler, watch it or I'll go back to Paris and unlock our lock!" <3 ). 
When we arrived back at Penel's we took a real nap before eating a late dinner at a fondue place near Sacre Coeur where they serve wine in baby bottles. It was strange, but really fun, and the food was incredible. Halfway through our meal, we looked up and saw another one of the Dundee international students from New York! How random to run into Matt in a tiny restaurant in the middle of Paris. We exchanged hugs, photos, and backpacking stories before turning back to our respective suppers. 
Feeling sufficiently tipsy from the baby bottle wine, we headed back to Penel's place for face masks and bed where A Very Lucky Girl dreamed about Belgian chocolate....



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