Paris (Again)


Yesterday I took my first (and last) final exam, officially ending my academic semester here in Metz.  I don’t leave until Friday, but knowing that classes are over makes the trip home seem even more real.

Jordan and I spent Saturday in Paris, attempting to see everything that we hadn’t on our first trip (see Paris).  We left Metz around 7:30 AM to give ourselves a full 12 hours in the city.

We arrived before 9 AM, heading straight from the train station to the Tuileries, the gardens outside of the Louvre.  Unfortunately, we weren’t able to appreciate their beauty, because it was cold and starting to rain.  We walked very briskly down their length to reach the museum.

Because it was so early, the line to enter the Louvre was short.  We waited about 15 minutes before entering, then headed for the cafe for some coffee and banana cake to warm us up.

Following Rick Steve’s advice, we entered the Denon wing after breakfast.  This area houses the Italian and French paintings, including the Mona Lisa.  My favorite part, however, was not the actual artwork, but the building itself.  The murals on the ceilings, the gold plated moldings, the intricate relief sculpture on the walls… it was all breathtaking, and made each individual piece of art seem even more special for having been selected to live there.

Did you see the Mona Lisa in there?  If not, go back and look again, because it’s there.  It’s just tiny and surrounded by bullet proof glass and hoards of people.  Honestly, I wasn’t very impressed.  I liked the crown jewels better.

Walking through/ getting lost in the Louvre took us about two hours, and we didn’t see even a quarter of its contents.  I did continuously quote The DaVinci code, though (“But sir, the Mona Lisa is right over there!”  “This tile is from the top floor, it’s unmistakable.”).

Next up was lunch, so we took off in the direction of the Pompidou in search of food.  The weather had cleared, and it was shaping up to be an incredible day.

We found a restaurant boasting meals for under 10 euro and sat down.  I ordered a steak and Jordan got salmon, and both were delicious.

Jordan and I have agreed that we are going to have to keep going on dates once we get back to Atlanta or else we’ll go into friend withdrawal, so if you have a restaurant recommendation, let me know.  Our list mostly includes fro-yo places right now.

Our walk to the Centre Pompidou took us past a very important street: Rue Nicolas Flamel.


Jordan didn’t get the hype, so I ended up screaming, “HE INVENTED THE SORCERER’S STONE, GIVER OF ETERNAL LIFE” in the middle of Paris.  We went our separate ways after that.

Just kidding.  But I was tempted.

Finally, we came upon the Pompidou, which kind of looks like a giant McDonalds Play Place.

We took the escalators up to the fifth floor, which holds the modern art, and then explored the fourth floor, which holds the contemporary art (even newer than the modern stuff).  I thought for the first time that I actually understood some of the art, which was really cool.  I decided to come up with new titles for some of my favorite pieces, many of them inspired by current culture (even newer then the contemporary stuff).

One of the coolest parts of the museum was a room with chalkboard walls where you were invited to leave your own message.



Some other notable works:

After looking at the art, we escalated to the sixth floor to see the view.

Before moving to our next to-do list item, we stopped for a petit snack: crepes!  This time, we tried sugar and banana, and wow… it was one of the yummiest things ever.  I ate it too quickly to take a picture.

We took the metro to the Champs Élysées, a road stretching between the Place de la Concorde and the Arc du Triomphe whose name means “Elysian Fields” in French (basically the Heaven part of the Underworld in Greek mythology).  It is flanked by fancy stores, and is home to the final stretch of the Tour de France, which was ridden Sunday.  We got to see the area without the crowds that would have accompanied the riders.

Seating for the Tour.
Seating for the Tour.

Jordan and I walked down the Avenue, stopping occasionally to enter stores that seemed interesting.  One of the coolest was the giant Sephora, which really did feel like the Elysian Fields.

Walking into Sephora/ Heaven.
Walking into Sephora/ Heaven.

We also went to the Disney store to get excited about the trip we will take Thursday, to Disneyland Paris.

At the end of the road is the Arc du Triomphe, which is absolutely gorgeous.  We couldn’t get any closer than this without getting run over/ having to pay, but I was satisfied.

IMG_0100 IMG_0106

At this point, it was dinner time, so we hopped back on the metro and headed for the Eiffel Tower.  We had a genius plan: walk from the Tower to the Chipotle less than a mile away, walk back along the Seine, grab a bottle of wine, and sit in the park under the Tower, enjoying the end of our last official trip in Europe.  And that is what we did.

Tower from the end of the park.
Tower from the end of the park.

After eating, we lay back and watched the clouds pass the top of the Tower.


Our train home was at 8:40, so we planned to head out around 8.  In asking some friendly-looking people to take our picture, we made new friends and sat and talked with them for a bit.


They were studying in London and were in Paris for the weekend.  We hung out for a little while but ended up leaving around quarter till eight.

Thank goodness we did.

We hadn’t mapped out the time it would take to actually get to the train station, thinking that it would be no more than a 30 minute trip.  We were wrong.  After three different metro lines, sprinting through the underground and across a busy street to reach the station, we breathlessly stepped onto our train just before it pulled out of the station: the last one for the night.

It turns out everything comes full circle, as we had done the same to get on our very first train of the summer.

I did get this really cool picture of the Seine, Eiffel Tower, and another metro car as we crossed the river, though.


We arrived back in Metz around 10 PM, and were back in our dorm by 10:30.  I wondered why I was so absolutely exhausted, and then I checked my Health app: we had walked 16 miles throughout the day.

That's how you do Paris in a day.
That’s how you do Paris in a day.

It has been such a fantastic summer, and I am so grateful to everyone that made it possible.  I’ll do my best to post in a timely manner about Disney, but I can’t promise more than pictures, because the following morning a shuttle will come to take us to the Brussels airport at 3 AM.  I’m so excited to be home, to see my family and friends, and to start the fall semester.

Au revoir et je t’aime,


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