(In case you thought I was referring to another Paris.)
Here we go with the first of many blog entries for my recent EuroTrip. I am going to create a separate blog at the end for the museums I visited, so please excuse the lack of photos from the Louvre in this entry.
You may have heard of the God-awful storms in the UK and parts of continental Europe a couple weeks ago. Amazingly enough, they didn't affect our trip too much. Our flight from Málaga to Paris was delayed by about three hours, but it could have been worse. So we got to our hotel in Paris around midnight and were dead. After a night's sleep, Arisa and I left Alex and Chelsea to couple-y activities and we explored the city. First stop? The Eiffel Tower, of course.
This is the view from up in the first level of the Tower. We wanted to go to the very top, but the ticket holder (who spoke limited English) said, "You can't go to top today. It is like this today..." And he picked up his cellphone which had a picture of a polar bear on it. Yep. It was snowing, so we only made it to the first level But it was still some 180 feet high.
Then we went over to the Louvre and spent three hours exploring that glorious museum. Arisa and I went our separate ways because I am very particular about how I look around museums. Hah. Here's the outside of it. Again, I will post internal shots later.
On Christmas Eve, we went to Disney Land Paris! It was snowing and made the whole day seem like a Winter Wonderland!
And I was a super happy camper when I found the French version of my favorite ride: Haunted Mansion!
Christmas Day was our final full day in Paris. So we saved the main sights to see for that day. Alex, Chelsea, Arisa and I set out at 10:00 a.m. with a heavy to-do list. We wanted to see the Arch de Triomphe, the Moulin Rouge, the Sacré Cœur church, Notredam, the Lock Bridge and the Eiffel Tower at nighttime. The Arch was first up:
There is a tomb of the unknown soldier for France as well. It lies under the Arch:
Then we went to the famous Moulin Rouge. I am obsessed with the movie, so this was a total treat for me. Chelsea and I were so excited. Right after, she and I attacked a crepe next door.
Then we went over the Sacré Cœur church. The church is set on a huge hill which we had to climb up to see the building. There were some nine flight of stairs to the top. Totally worth it! The view from the top is a 360 degree view of Paris, including the Eiffel Tower, Notredam and the River Seine. There was a sign on the outside of the church that read, "For 145 years, someone has been praying in this church, night and day." It blew me away.
We hopped back on the Metro and headed for Notredam. Since it was Christmas Day, there were many masses going on. But it was lovely. We saw nuns and nicely dressed French church-goers.
Chelsea was not about to leave Paris without going to the Lock Bridge. There are several of these locations around the world where couples go and attach locks to the bridges (often with their names on them) to secure their love, then throw the key away. In this case, in the River Seine. So the couple found a padlock and did their thing. It was very sweet. But the bridge itself boasted an incredible view.
Final stop of the day was the tower at night. Chelsea had heard that every hour on the hour after sunset, the tower sparkles. While we were waiting, a man in his thirties heard us talking and said, "Oh! Americans!" with a very American accent. He asked if we would take a picture of him and started chatting us up. He was a total sweetheart who had just moved to Paris from London. He was originally from West Hollywood and worked in the film industry. He was so helpful to us and gave us tips before our trip to London. It was such a refreshing encounter from all of the loudmouth Americans you typically run into in Europe. Then the show began. The tower before and after the light show:
We then dined near the tower for our Christmas dinner. It was one of the very few meals we ate out; we usually bought groceries and cooked them at the hostels we stayed at, but that was a little more difficult in Paris where we stayed in a hotel.
And contrary to popular believe, Parisians were ridiculously nice and helpful. They were funny too and tried their best English with us, which was kind. I am annoyed by peoples' judgement of the French when I have yet to meet a rude French person.
Keep your eyes posted for part three of our trip: Belgium!