Paris Part 2: Days 3-5

January 11, 2008 at 8:00 PM 2 comments

Disclaimer: This entry is very long. It recounts three very busy days in Paris. If you want to skip to the end to see the photos, I don’t blame you. By all means, go ahead.

Thanks to John, I finally figured out what happened after we went to the Eiffel Tower. We initially tried to find an entrance to the subway, but we were very hungry and ended up stopping at what appeared to be a trendy yet inexpensive French restaurant. I ordered a chicken mozzarella panini and ended up with just that…toasted panini bread, completely unseasoned boiled chicken breast and mozzarella cheese. It wasn’t good. I asked for mayo even though I’m not a mayo fan, and it helped enough to choke it down. John, still craving the duck, ordered a honey glazed duck breast and French onion soup (yes, again). The presentation of the duck was nice, too bad it still didn’t taste good. When we got back close to our hotel, we decided to go by The Depot again, but we didn’t stay long because we were pretty tired.

On Sunday (the 30th), we left our hotel with the intention to go straight to the Louvre, but when we came down from our room, we discovered a farmer’s market/flea market type thing going on all down the street we were staying on (Rue de la Convention). We stopped and looked at various things and ended up buying some fresh strawberries. They were the tastiest strawberries I have had in YEARS. We saved about half of them until we took the subway to the Louvre. We ate the rest of them while sitting on the end of one of the fountains at the Louvre.

We thought the line to get into the Louvre was going to take forever, based upon our experience the previous night from the Eiffel Tower. Surprisingly, it only took 5-10 minutes to work our way inside. Because we had slept in, we knew we couldn’t spend all day there. So we decided to just hit the highlights. We saw the Venus de Milo, and the Mona Lisa, along with quite a few of Michaelangelo’s statues.

After we left the Louvre, we hopped on the subway to Île de la Cité to see Notre Dame. When we arrived, the line was extraordinarily long, so we decided to just enjoy the facade. We walked from there over to Sainte-Chapelle. We decided to go there instead because the inside has ornate stained glass, and we wanted to see it while it was still daylight. While waiting in line, we were hungry, because we hadn’t had lunch and it was about 3:00. John decided to run over to the sandwich shop on the corner. He ordered his sandwich (in French!) and waited while the guy at the counter toasted it. While it was in the oven a French man walked up and ordered the same sandwich. The guy behind the counter gave him John’s sandwich. John ordered again, and it happened again… and again. Finally, John just decided that the man didn’t want to serve an American and walked off. Which is just as well because I was nearing the front of the line to get into Sainte-Chapelle. The inside was gorgeous. All the walls were covered in stained glass, and each small small pane depicted a different story from the Bible.

When we were through, we went and got coffee and some sandwiches in the Saint Michel area. Afterwards, we took the subway to Saint Germain, which put us in the middle of a small Christmas market. We were also right by the oldest surviving church in Paris, the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. We looked around the church and then went shopping in a nearby bookstore for a little bit before dinnertime. We had looked at eating dinner in the Saint Germain area and had picked out a restaurant called Le Procope for the evening.

We managed to get there right before the dinner rush and didn’t have to wait very long for a table. Dinner itself, however, lasted three hours, which was not a bad thing. We ordered a half-sized bottle of wine, mineral water, and we both had the coq au vin for our entrée. Everything was delicious. I did have one small problem occur during dinner…my hair rubber band – suddenly and completely unprovoked by me – snapped. I realized this when my hair suddenly felt very loose; it had been up in a ponytail. In a moment of panic, I turned to the girl to my left, who I had heard speaking some English and asked if she had a rubber band I could use. She saved the day. Who says the French are rude? Ok, back to the meal… we decided to order dessert since we were having a nice dinner out. I got the profiteroles which are pastries filled with homemade ice cream and covered in a chocolate drizzle. John ordered the crepes flambéed in Grand Marnier. It also came with a shot of Grand Marnier as a digestif. Following dinner, we went next door to Le Pub Saint Germain.

The next day, New Year’s Eve, we went to Sacré-Cœur which is a basilica located at the the highest point in Paris and is surrounded by the Montmartre district. While there, we enjoyed listening to a guy play the guitar on the stairs in front of the church. He had quite an audience. Once we went inside the church, we were amazed at how beautiful it was. We both wanted to take some time before leaving to sit in the pews and pray.

Our next mission was getting to the Café de Deux Moulins, which is the restaurant featured in the movie Amelie. The trek there took us through the red light district of Montmartre, where we saw Moulin Rouge. We were a bit grumpy by the time we made it to the café since we hadn’t eaten and ended up giving up on eating there (it was crowded and smokey). I truly just wanted to get on the subway and go anywhere but there, and John agreed. We ended up getting off at a stop we always change trains at but had never gone above ground there. This put us up at Montparnasse. We were so hungry that we saw a sign for McDonald’s and headed there without hesitation. It was quite a change from our fancy French meal the night before!

We went and bought some Champagne and baguettes before the shops closed. Later, we
had dinner at restaurant down the street from our hotel. Unfortunately it was only so-so, but our server was very nice. After dinner it was time to head to the Eiffel Tower for the countdown to 2008 and fireworks. We got there around 9:30 and got an exceptional seat on the stairs at the Place de Trocadero. We were literally directly in front of the Eiffel Tower with an unobstructed view of everything. We waited and waited and waited. At 11:58, there was still no sign of a countdown, but we were standing champagne in hand, ready to pop the cork and celebrate the new year. The Eiffel Tower started “sparkling” (via strobe lights) like it does on the hour every evening, so we figured maybe that was the one minute countdown. When nothing changed about four minutes later, we looked at each other, shrugged and said “Happy New Year?” No Fireworks…such a bummer. People set off their own fireworks here and there because there is no law against doing so, but there were no big city fireworks.

We headed over to the Champs-Élysées and were amazed at how many people had packed that wide, long street. There were broken champagne bottles everywhere. We had a good time enjoying the sights.

The next day we slept in and got ready to leave. With only a small aggravating incident at check out, we were on our way back to Germany.

If you have made it this far through the entry, I applaud you. You definitely deserve a gold star. Now for the fun part – photos!

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Paris Part I: Days 1 & 2 Back in Tejas (Paris Part 2 and Leaving Deutschland)

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. MellowYellow  |  January 11, 2008 at 9:49 PM

    Legend has it that St. Denis, patron saint of France was beheaded at Montmartre but he picked it up and walked two miles while preaching a sermon. You might’ve noticed his statue outside of the Notre Dame… he’s the one holding his head in his hands.

    Reply
  • 2. h*dizzle  |  January 13, 2008 at 6:54 PM

    An American Girl in Paris!! how cool! thanks for all the photos and stories, its been so amazing to follow your trip! i hope you continue with the blog at some point..even when you get back to Austin!

    Reply

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