Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Weekend in Paris

I enjoyed three beautiful and sunny days in Paris. Three! That is more than what I've had in London for two months. It was pure bliss. My flatmates and I spent most of our time walking from one major attraction to the next. I'm talking sixteen hour days on our feet and trying our hardest not to twist our ankles on those cobblestone streets. We were exhausted by the end of the day! But it was so worth all of those painful blisters we had on our feet.

Since a few of my flatmates have never been to Paris, we spent most of our time visiting sites that I've already seen before. It didn't matter, because I absolutely loved it. I mean, can anyone get sick of seeing the Eiffel Tower too many times? Not me! For the limited amount of time we had in this city, I think we did pretty good about covering all of the major stuff.

Stop #1: Notre Dame Cathedral
You will find out soon enough that I LOVE cathedrals, and Europe is cathedral heaven for me. I try to go to as many as I can whenever I travel. So, I may or may not have forced my flatmates to go with me into a few cathedrals against their will. You can't pass Paris without seeing Notre Dame! 

The year 2013 marks the cathedral's 850th birthday! When we went inside, we got to see and hear the evening Mass. The organ was playing, the boy choir was singing, and prayers were chanted in French. It sounded fantastic inside these stone walls! 

Stop #2: Musée du Louvre
The Louvre is one of my favorite museums. It seems like the museum has art and artifacts from nearly every civilization that has walked this earth. Their collection is incredibly extensive. Not to mention, the palace that the museum is housed in is phenomenal. A gorgeous place to keep gorgeous art. Since I study art history and have been through the museum before, I became a temporary tour guide for my flatmates. Even though they only recognized a few artworks, I was at least able to make an impression on them about art history and art criticism. It was short-lived, but at least they got to understand what I study back at school.

Stop #3: Eiffel Tower
During our trip, we actually visited the tower twice. The first time to see the light show, and the second time to go to the top of the tower. The Eiffel Tower is one of those monuments that you just cannot grasp the size of it. It doesn't help that nearly every building in the heart of the city is only a few stories high, so it literally towers everything else. But it is so unique and incredibly gorgeous when lit up at night. The first time I visited Paris, I never got to see the Tower up close at night with all of lights on. This time we had front row seats. We stood in the park a block away and waited for the light show to start. Once it did, you can hear the gasps of surprise from people in all directions.

The second night at the Tower, we rode the elevators up to the top and got to experience the light show from within. I wasn't a big fan of the seizure-inducing strobe lights that flashed for five whole minutes, but it was pretty cool seeing the city's skyline from up there. Every major monument and building was lit up, so we could easily spot all of places that we went to. 

Stop #4: Arc de Triomphe
Another monument that you cannot pass! Much like the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium, this arch was completely covered with names. But this time, it was filled with names of victorious generals and conquered cities during the Napoleonic wars. This was the first time that I got to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with the eternal flame blazing at night.  

Stop #5: Sacré-Cœur Basilica 
We headed to Montmartre to see the church on the top of the hill, Sacré-Cœur. This beautiful basilica has a fantastic view of the city below. Musicians, street performers, and artists scatter themselves around the hill and try to entertain the tourists admiring the church and the city. 

Inside, my flatmates and I sat in on Mass. Unfortunately photos were not allowed during the service, which is a shame. The interior is gorgeous! You can just take my word for it.

Stop #6: Moulin Rouge 
While in Montmartre, we walked around to find the Moulin Rouge. We didn't see the original Moulin Rouge, but instead it was the modern location. Did we know at the time? No. Did we care? No. It was still an awesome site to see. For as tiny of place it is, the entire street was filled with tourists trying to get a good picture of it. People shoved their way to get a picture directly in front of the building. I was not as crazy as they were, but I did manage to get a few good pics.

***We did make it to Musee d'Orsay, but pictures were not allowed inside. This was a museum that I really wanted to go to because I was unable to last time. We had only an hour to cover the main works of art, so we I didn't get to appreciate it as much as I would have liked. I think my flatmates were getting sick of me an my museum obsession, so they were perfectly fine not seeing the entire collection.  This just means I need to go back to Paris to visit the museum again. I think that is a reasonable excuse.

1 comment:

Samantha Shepherd said...

You're looking so European these days! Miss you tons, but so glad to see you're having the absolute best time. :)

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