Sunday, February 19, 2012

Day 35-38: Paris: Part 2

Did I keep you all in suspense? A later update than I planned but here's Part 2 anyways!

Saturday morning was early as usual, though not as early as the previous morning. I had an alright sleep but it wasn't the best, Karla's coughing fits and the noise from the street added up to be a bit of a bother. We got free breakfast in the hostel and were out the door by 10, venturing out for more exploring of the city. It was a chilly morning, about -8 Celsius with some wind. Lots of layering again but I braved the cold without my hat on my freshly washed hair. Headed to the Metro stop just up the road from our Hostel, Barbe-Rochechouart, to go see the Notre Dame. By this point in the day, I had already learned who I like to travel with and who I don't, a topic I won't go into detail with. Actually getting to Notre-Dame was easy, as I was navigating, but one of the girls was insistent that she knew which way to go. We walked in the direction she suggested, then I enjoyed seeing the helpful signs pointing the opposite way. It's the little things that you sometimes get the most joy from. We toured in and around the Notre-Dame cathedral and the grounds taking pictures of everything. Honestly, all I could think about was the Disney movie, which I still have not remembered to watch. It's on my growing list of travel-associated movies, which is getting quite long. While walking the grounds we found a little park with some children's rides, and of course because we're all 6 year olds, had the most fun on a semi-merry-go-round.

lighting a candle at Notre-Dame
amazing stained glass windows
by the altar
group shot!
yeah, ND, nbd. :)
outside the church
You know the drill, click through!

So from there, we walked across several bridges including the iconic Pont de l'Archevêché, where the current collection of Love Locks reside. Such a cool story, which we learned more about on Sunday. Stopped outside of the Louvre on the way over but decided to do save it for Monday. We headed on to the Musée d'Orsay, an impressionist art lover's heaven. Lots of Monet, Manet. Cezanne, and Van Gogh of course. I'm not a big art person, but I did find many beautiful paintings. Most of my favourites were Monet, just because of the colors. I love how simple the paintings always are but so well thought out. Here's a few from inside the museum!

such a tourist

love locks

outside the Musee D'orsay
one I managed to steal a picture of :)
giant clock
The end to another day after the Musee, or at least to the end of my picture taking. After the museum, we met up with one of the girl's friends to look around Paris some more. Walked through the Tuileries gardens which was just dusty, because of the wind mostly. We then got the Metro, which amused me as the true Parisian didn't know which way to go. Ended up at the Luxembourg gardens after getting some lunch. The gardens were nothing spectacular, but it was freezing so there wasn't any of the normal pretty flowers or things. We split up at that point, with the 2 still exploring and us 4 headed back to the hostel to get ready for our pubcrawl and just tired of being cold! 4 of us had planned on going on a pub crawl but it ended up being 3 of us, with our sick companion sitting out. We ventured out for wine and food but didn't end up drinking on account of no cork-screws. Had my first feed of foreign McDonald's, which was really tasty but I'm hoping not to rely on it too much. After that we headed back to the hostel to finish getting ready and headed to meet some of the other Harlow group at the first pub.

The pub-crawl itself was interesting. It started outside the Moulin Rouge, in the district of Montmartre. We met up with the other group around 9 and recounted stories of what everyone had been doing. It went slightly downhill in the break between first and second bar, as one of the girls got pickpocketed. Everyone got very paranoid. The bars weren't all that great, but the last one was fun because of the company. Three of us and one of the guys we knew all danced til about 2:30 when we headed back to the hostel.

Sunday morning was a little later, with us wanting to sleep in but deciding to get up anyways. We were up and out by 11 to catch a Sandeman's walking tour. Several of the groups had gone on them in different cities, and the others had recommended it the night before. Considering it was a three hour walking tour in the cold, I really enjoyed it. Walked around Notre Dame, the Seine and several bridges around it, Musee D'invalides and the Louvre. The tour guide was really informative and had lots of interesting stories, and was really good about trying to keep us in the sun wherever possible. It was much warmer there. We went to the company's cafe after the tour for lunch, but it wasn't as good as we were hoping it would be. We split up again, in the same formation, as us 4 wanted to get souvenir shopping done and the other 2 wanted to see more sights. I ended up going back to the hostel and napping, since the Montmartre district had lots of souvenir shops, and lots that were close to our hostel.

Sunday night after our break we headed on a boat tour of the Seine. It was an interesting perspective but again not great since we had seen most of the sights and been told most of the information by the walking tour guide. Being on a bigger boat meant there wasn't as good of a view either, which kind of sucked. We did get to see the sparkly tower twice though, on leaving and arriving back to the dock. So pretty. Headed back to the hostel after that to pack and get ready for the next day. I cracked open my bottle of wine and had a nice last night in Paris, with some snacks picked up on the way back.

pretty good Parisian night if you ask me! banana nutella crepe and wine :)

Monday morning was an early one again. The 4 of us headed to the Louvre, because I and another of the girl's hadn't seen it before. There's not much to say, other than it was overwhelming and awesome. I saw the Monna Lisa and thought she was beautiful, not overexaggerated at all. It was a good way to see the first bits of the museum, considering it's giant size.

inverted pyramid in the underground entrance
me and Monna
largest painting, with description below

venus de milo

one of many galleries
people as we were leaving
my bag o' pastries
From there since the Louvre took a long time, we headed back to do a bit of shopping before we caught the train. I found that pastry place again and got a bagful to take back with me. Enjoyed every bite too. The train was interesting as I talked to an Italian guy the whole way to London. He was nice, I was trying to see if he was a good dating candidate for my sick friend, who being unlike herself and sleeping the whole way back. Unfortunately he was a faulty Italian, who didn't drink, didn't like coffee, and was vegan. It was a little awkward when we arrived in London as he told me he thought I was his age, 24, and he didn't have enough nerve to ask me to meet up with him again. I figured with his likes and dislikes our group here probably wasn't the best bet so I let the awkwardness hang. It was amusing to say the least.

And so ended my trip to Paris! I have pictures left to steal but I'm not sure when I'll get them, so I'm posting this now. Hoping to get a quick update post on what I did in this past week before my Mom gets here, which is Wednesday! So excited. Off to homework tonight, unfortunately. Wish me luck with it!

Til next time!

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