Last Monday (I know, I’m really behind with these posts), Jordan, Caroline, and I woke up around 7:30 AM to catch our train from Barcelona to Paris. The ride was long (over 6 hours), but for once we didn’t care, or even notice. We all slept the entire way! Barcelona is beautiful, but draining.
We arrived in Paris around 4 PM, taking the metro from Gare de Lyon to a stop closer to the Airbnb apartment we had rented. That’s right, folks, no more hostels for us! We are straight up fancy now!
In reality, Jordan had booked this place way in advance and we had gotten a sweet deal on it. It was under a 10-minute walk to the Louvre, the Palace Garnier, and a bunch of other sights. Plus, it was the nicest place we’ve stayed all summer. I was too overwhelmed to take pictures of the inside, but here are some of the outside.
Another great feature was that our apartment was directly above Eric Kayser, a pastry shop that we had been told had the “best macaroons in Paris.” Well, when in Rome…
We were all still tired from our walk on the wild side in Barcelona, so we decided to cook dinner rather than eat out. (Well, we decided to let Jordan cook us dinner). We went to a Monoprix across the street, grabbed a bunch of veggies, chicken, and wine, and ran. Just kidding, we paid. I was so excited I even took a picture of Jordan buying the groceries.
We couldn’t find a head of lettuce to make lettuce wraps with, so we settled on pre-chopped iceburg and salads. Boy, was it delicious. Jordan even cried making it, she was so excited.
After we finished eating, Cameron and Chad, who were sharing the apartment with us, arrived. We all considered walking up the Champs Elysees and seeing the Arc de Triomphe, but before we knew it, it was 10 PM, and we decided to watch The DaVinci Code instead. I learned so much about Paris!
The next morning, we decided to reenact the entire movie. Just kidding! But we did head over to the Louvre.
It was July 14, and you know what that means… well, actually, unless you’re French or my high school history teacher, you probably don’t. July 14 (which happens to be 10 days after the American Independence Day..) is French Independence Day, otherwise known as “La Fete Nacional” (or “Bastille Day” to Americans). Facebook even congratulated me on my holiday.
When we arrived at the Louvre, we high-fived ourselves for picking such a smart day to come visit. There were no locals in sight!
Before entering, we grabbed breakfast at a place called Tea by Thé, which translates to “Tea by Tea,” which was delicious. I got a raspberry and white chocolate muffin, and was a very happy camper. We also got to see some French military planes fly overhead and paint the sky red, white, and blue (which happen to be the French national colors…..).
We had even checked online beforehand to make sure the museum would be open, despite the holiday. We didn’t, however, check to make sure it would be open on a Tuesday. Which apparently it isn’t. French people are weird.
We still got our classic pictures, though.
Next, we headed to the Montmarte neighborhood to see the Sacre Cœur and grab some lunch.
No one told me this, but the Sacre Cœur is really high up, and requires a lot of stair climbing to reach. But the view was totally worth it.
After all that climbing, it was time for lunch! We walked around until we found this cute restaurant that boasted “grandes salades”- and they weren’t kidding. The best part? They all came with french fries on them!
We then explored Montmarte a bit more, and found ourselves in Paris’s red light district. Oops. I even got to see the Moulin Rouge, which was awesome because I have a tattoo on my wrist with a song lyric from the movie.
Next we decided to atone for our sins (I guess the sex shops reminded us), so we headed to the Notre Dame. Pro European travel tip: there are, like, thirty Notre Dames. They all claim to be the original. But the real one’s on 11th- I mean, in Paris.
Paris is full of sights. And my feet were getting sleepy. But they woke right up for our next stop: the Pont des Arts, or Love Lock Bridge. As you may have heard, they started cutting down locks recently because the bridge could no longer take their weight, and whole panels were falling off and into the water. The bridge’s sides have now been replaced with painted glass paneling, but there are still locks on the sides and on an overlook nearby that faces the bridge.
I started looking closer at the names.
Near the actual bridge, to the right, on the railing connecting the crossing and the water, I added my own lock.
… And threw away the key!
Then it was photo shoot time!
Then it was nap time.
We had to rest up, because the night held big plans! Caroline and I had gotten tickets to see a show by the Paris Opera Ballet at the Palace Garnier (my dream come true), and Jordan, Chad, and Cameron were going to camp out by the Eiffel Tower and watch the July 14th fireworks show (which happens to be how the French celebrate their Independence day…….).
Caroline and I got changed into our fancy clothes and headed out around 6 PM, planning to stop for a quick dinner before the show. In honor of La Fete Nacional, we went to… McDonald’s!
The show was scheduled to start at7:30, so we headed over early to check out the gift shop. It made me wish two things: that I was rich, and that I still danced regularly.
The inside of the theater was absolutely stunning. Our tickets were for our own box on the right side of the theater, which allowed us to see most of the stage easily for relatively cheap.
The show was incredible. It was by far the best dancing I’ve ever seen, and the story line was hilarious (it was a comedic ballet). I’ll summarize it like this: it’s a love story complete with clogging, gratuitous butter churning, references to bondage, and a live horse. Caroline and I were in stitches. (I also cried, but that’s just because I’m a huge softie for ballet and true love winning out against all odds).
I snuck in some pictures of the cast during the million and a half curtain calls they did.
After the show, Caroline and I changed back into our street clothes and headed towards the Eiffel Tower to catch Jordan and the boys before the fireworks began. But first, we had to appreciate just how beautiful the theater really was.
We planned to take the metro, but mislabeled signs took us in the opposite direction we wanted to go. So we got to walk extra long through the crowds of celebratory people.
The fireworks show started before we arrived at the lawn, so we found a spot along the road with a good view and watched. I took a video of one of the more intense parts.
After the show, we fought through crowds of people to find the rest of our group, and sat for a little bit enjoying our view of the Tower.
Until we realized we were two miles from home and the metro was about to shut down.
We walked for about a mile to find the closest open stop, and then hopped on and rode home. At this point, it was 2 AM, we were all exhausted, and not looking forward to waking up at 6 to catch our train home. Sleeping in real (non-hostel, non-dorm) beds made it much better, though.
Jordan and I will return to Paris this Saturday to see all the sights we missed, and until then, we have some studying and homework to do as we finish out the semester. 10 more days until I’m home!