Monday, September 15, 2014

France Day 2: l'Orangerie & Montmartre

Yes, I am aware that day 2 is apparently the longest day in the history of ever, but this is the last "Day 2" post! We saw so much and, looking back, this was probably one of my top favorite days of the entire trip!

After seeing the Love Bridge and having lunch, we hopped onto the metro and headed to the Tuileries Gardens and the Musee De l'Orangerie. The Tuileries is a garden area where the French go to relax and spend time outside, and it is right next door to the l'Orangerie museum. The l'Orangerie is home to many impressionist and post impressionist paintings such as Monet's Water Lilies. Several paintings by Picasso and Renoir live there as well!

While walking to the museum we saw this wall that has "I love you" written in over 2,000 languages on it!

I love you.

Je t'aime.

 Waiting in line to go into the museum, we took advantage of the fact that the Eiffel Tower was just right there. This was the closest I had been so far!

Tuileries Gardens

I would definitely suggest going to the l'Orangerie museum if you are ever in Paris! It was great because it wasn't one of those overwhelmingly massive museums like the Louvre, it was just the right size! Plus, there are Monet paintings in there! You aren't supposed to take pictures of the paintings in this museum, but I snapped several with my phone anyways. (Sorry mom, I know how annoyed you were with the people sneakily taking pictures, but I was one of them. Forgive me?)

Claude Monet


Picasso (and the first and only booby you will see on this blog).

After the museum we headed to Montmartre! Montmartre is a hill in the North of Paris that is home to the gorgeous Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur (my mom's favorite place in Paris). When I say hill, I mean hill! It sits pretty above the rest of the town, it is the highest point in the city, and was visible from our hotel room.

The stairs up to the top were ridiculous so we rode a lift up. The Sacré-Cœur is gorgeous and the view of Paris from it's steps is breathtaking. Just like any other major tourist spot in Paris, it was crowded!

The Sacré-Cœur is a Roman Catholic church built from 1875-1914. 

View from the hill.

We toured the inside (where there were hundreds of lit candles!) and on our way out a pick pocket/gypsy/thief/asshole tried to steal something from Cindy's purse! It doesn't matter if you are in a church, people are going to try and take advantage of you. Thankfully Sue slapped their hand away saying, "Get your hand out of there!" and nothing was taken. 

Afterwards, we headed to an artists' square in the neighborhood and, after looking at the artwork, snacked on some crêpes!

Nutella & banana crêpes.

Sue's pretty drink!

After we finished up we headed back to the hotel and went to dinner later that night. I had chicken pasta that was only ok, but this crème brûlée was delicious

After dinner it was shower time. Taylor Swift was having her Yahoo Live Stream that night so I got into bed prepared to watch that. I was able to watch some of it, but my service wasn't great. I talked to Garrett afterward via Skype and he had watched it for me and taken notes so that he could tell me what the surprises were. How sweet is that? #34839 why I love him: He watches Taylor Swift Live Streams for me and takes notes.

The next day we see the Eiffel Tower and finally set off on our river cruise!!

Ps. If you are viewing this on your phone, are some of the pictures upside down? For some reason when I look at my blog on my phone, the pictures I took with my phone are upside down! Help!

Friday, September 12, 2014

France Day 2: Love Bridge and Lunch

After Notre Dame and the cream puffs, we headed to the Love Bridge which was a bit of a walk. I loved walking around Paris and seeing the various shops, restaurants, and people watching. The weather was absolutely perfect for a stroll through the city!

There were so many houseboats along the Seine river. This one is actually a fire station.

Europe and their narrow streets!

The Love Bridge is actually something I found out about through Instagram! I follow Troian Bellisario who plays Spencer on Pretty Little Liars. She spends quite a bit of her time in Paris and she had put up pictures of the Love Bridge and I decided I had to go! See, my nerdiness paid off! : )

If you look closely at the above picture you might see that the entire bridge is covered in locks! Couples have been coming here for years and adding locks to the bridge and throwing away the key. It symbolizes their love and their hopes that it will last forever. 

Really wishing Garrett was there to add a lock with me. One of these days!

Not only are the locks on the metal parts of the bridge, but there are locks upon locks, too! The locks are actually weighing the bridge down, so officers in Paris have started cutting them off and getting rid of them a little at a time. People have put locks on other things around the bridge too.

After the Love Bridge we had lunch at La Palette. Our tour guide told us that several famous people had eaten here before, such as Ernest Hemingway! After doing some research, I discovered that it is also where a portion of Taylor Swift's Begin Again music video was shot!! I wish I had known that while I was there! Figuring that out led to rewatching the video and seeing that part of it was also shot on the Love Bridge. Fangirling, big time! 

We all thought our waiter Bryan was really cute so we got one with him too. 

We all ordered the Croque Monsieur which is toasted bread, ham, and cheese. I had this several times while in France but this place had my absolute favorite! 

Had to have a chocolate eclair for dessert.

I would give anything for one of those right now. Ahhhhh. 
After lunch we headed to Montmartre, which is coming in the next post!

: )

Thursday, September 11, 2014

France Day 2: Notre Dame and the Best Cream Puffs in Paris


So, the plan was to do a breakdown of our France trip by day, but on day 2 we did quite a bit and took so many pictures that I can't combine it all in one "France: Day 2" post. What that means is that my France posts are going to drag on for what seems like forever, which is good for me and maybe bad for you. I don't want to leave anything out because I'm wanting to turn this blog into a book one day, so thank you in advance for sticking with me and all of my vacation recaps! 

Monday, August 18th

This day was one of my favorite days! After a long day in Versailles the day before, we were exhausted. However, we all woke up this morning feeling refreshed and ready to go. We started off our morning with breakfast in the hotel. I wish I had gotten pictures of the breakfast foods that they served! They had cold cuts, cheeses, all kinds of pastries including my new favorite thing- a chocolate croissant, eggs, sausage, bacon, get the picture. We feasted like royalty that morning! 

After breakfast we met our tour guide Marian for our walking tour of Paris! I had been looking forward to this day because I was anxious to get out and about in Paris. I have been to Europe before (Italy) and loved it so much and I was curious about how I was going to feel about Paris. I loved it. There is just something about the way you feel while in Europe that can't be explained.

My mama and our hotel.

We walked to the closest metro station (Paris's underground subway system), boarded, and headed to Notre Dame. 

Sweet sisters, Cindy and LeMoyne. And Melinda with her adorable red Kate Spade bag.

The cathedral of Notre Dame!

We didn't tour the inside since we didn't have tickets and the line was outrageous, but we learned about the sculptures on the outside as well as the construction. It was crazy to me that there were dozens of full sized statues on this building, such amazing detail! Construction started on Notre Dame in 1163 and wasn't completely finished until 1345! So, for 182 years, someone was working on this cathedral!

The middle doorway/arch held my favorite depiction. It was a scene of Judgement Day with the angel Michael on the "Heaven" side and Satan on the "Hell" side. 

Michael and Satan are holding the scales to weigh people's lives and decide if they belong in Heaven or Hell. The people chained on the right side are all going to Hell, while the people looking up to God on the left side are going to Heaven. This image goes to show that anyone is capable of going to Hell, even Kings and Queens, as shown by the people with crowns on their heads. Notice the little demon near Satan's legs pulling down on the scales, trying to send more people to Hell. Asshole. 

Can you believe the detail in that sculpture? All for the outside of a cathedral! It really is amazing.

I thought the gargoyles looked really cool. Also, did you know that gargoyles aren't just for looks, but they are there for water runoff? I had no idea!
The third one is my favorite. They look creepy and I love creepy things.

The side view of Notre Dame. There were flowers everywhere in France and everything was so green, it was wonderful!

I have to add that the weather was absolutely perfect while we were in France! High 60's to low 70's almost the entire time! We got really lucky with that.

After Notre Dame we looked in a couple of tourist shops and had the best cream puffs in France! There are little crepe stations like this all around Paris, I'm not complaining!

Our tour guide was so awesome! She asked, "Do you want to try the best cream puffs in town?" Duh! Apparently, Paris has all kinds of food competitions and the chef who owns this little place won the competition for best cream puff in all of Paris.

You guys. That thing was GOOD.

Continuing along with our tour guide. So many things in Paris to see!

So, Notre Dame and cream puffs is where I'm going to stop!
Next post: The Love Bridge!