With myself being fully recuperated and relaxed after my Amsterdam visit; I was ready to hit the ground running when it came to Paris.
Arrival: It was a good 6 hour bus ride, but we made a 2 hour break in Brussels, Belgium so that we could buy some chocolates and a few of us ate some Belgium waffles. The traffic getting into Paris was pretty terrible. When we finally got to our hotel, Pavilon de Italie. It was 9pm. Starving for some good grub, we walk around our hotel, which was pretty much the ghetto of Paris. It was somewhere near Little Italy and Chinatown. Emmeline brought us to this very well priced Italian restaurant and most of us chose to eat there. All it did was increase my desire to get to Italy though so that I could have some truly local Italian food. After dinner we called it a night.
Day #1: We had an EF planned bus tour with a local guide, but the microphone on the bus wasn’t that great, and I don’t enjoy taking pictures through windows. So I used these two hours to kind of map out the city and gain an idea of where I was. The tour ended at the place where you get the best view of the Eiffel Tower. It was stunning. So large. Of course the group pictures start, and we the rest of the day was free time in Paris.
- Eiffel Tower: We walked down the large hill toward the river so we could get a closer look at this monumental structure. At the bottom, some of us bought crepes, and DJ and Cassie got a caricature made for them. While at the bottom we saw a man in an LSU shirt, and we had to get a picture with him. He was on a trip with his wife. Here, the large group kind of split up and we all went our own ways, but the LA girls stayed together.
- We wanted to head back to the Arc de Triomphe. It was wonderful seeing the real thing when you see it in all the movies. One of the main streets that leads up to the Arc had a ton of shops and some of the girls wanted to go shopping. Jeanne and I weren’t really up to shop so we just walked up and down the row taking in the scenery until the girls were ready.
We took the metro back to our hotel. Maggie and I head to a nearby mall to grab some cheap dinner, and then we went to a grocery store so we could make sandwiches for the next few days. Emmeline took some people from the group to St-Germain, Latin area for dinner, and we decided to meet up with them before to all go out together. We went to Who’s Bar. It was a pretty cool atmosphere, but because it wasn’t filled with people, we grew tired and didn’t want to pay for a cab back so we caught the metro back before it closed.
Day #2: Emmeline led a walking tour from Concord Square to Notre Dame. She knew some very interesting facts.
- The Concord Square has been renamed three times since it was built. King and Marie Antoinette were beheaded here. It had crowd stands surrounding the square in preparation for the activities of Bastille day and the end of the Tour de France. There is a hotel that is connected to this square, and it is the most expensive hotel in Paris!
- We headed to the July Column. We walked down the richest street in Paris. They had 32,000 euro hand bags. (Mom I got you a present J on dad’s expense!) Katie had received a text from a friend back home saying that the main people from Glee were in Paris so we had to find them. The Ritz was in the square that contained the July Column, so we were hoping that fate would befall on us, and they would walk out while we were there for 15 minutes. It didn’t.
- Next, we walked through the fair by the Musee Du Louvre where DJ, Barbie, and Matt did some insane flipping death trap. Way to many spins for me. We walked toward the front of the Louvre, where men trying to sell off some Eiffel Tower trinkets and watches bombarded us. They would run when cops came, so I believe what they were doing was frowned upon.
- Last but not least, we went to the Notre Dame. This church, which is still catholic, was magnificent. Fun fact: It really wasn’t as prideful of the Parisians and wasn’t restored until the book, Hunchback of Notre Dame came out. People began funding the restoration afterwards.
Matt, Jordan, Alyssa, Peter, Ryan, Gigi, Ariel, and I have lunch at a small bistro (I think called Notre Dame café). Our waiter was amazing. He was so helpful, nice, and didn’t mind that we couldn’t speak French. He told us he spoke 5 languages, but when drunk he spoke 7.
After lunch we had a boat tour on the Seine, it was enjoyable to just be on the water again. Also, it was a different and interesting way to see the sights of Paris.
It began to rain, so we all headed back to the hotel for a nap. I found out that some off them were going to a Datsik concert (Dubstep music), so I went to dinner at the Italian restaurant again with a crew to get a hardy meal, and then it was back to the hotel to try to figure out what to where. Ariel and Gigi had been to this concert before and gave me an idea of the dress. I had some great silver shorts, but I couldn’t find a top to really go along with the right style. Luckily, I ran into Emmeline, and she had on the perfect top! I asked her if I could buy it from her and she says, “It was 1-2 pounds. You can have it.” Ecstatic because my outfit is perfect. DC, DJ, Gigi, Ariel, Peter and I were the only ones going to the concert. It started at 11 and ended at 5, but after buying the tickets online, I now had to deal with printing them. The front desk had a printer so I asked the man. It was this poor mans first night working in this hotel, and he not only had to deal with checking in a group of angry Orientals dissatisfied with the no a/c, but he also had to call an ambulance for a heart attack and deal with us all in the lobby using the free wifi. Well he asks me to email him, and that doesn’t work so then I con my way behind the desk to get on the Internet and do it myself. He was running around helping people anyway so I wasn’t too much of a bother, but I did tell him it take me about 10 minutes and it ended up being a good 30. I had one Chinese man come up to me and ask for hot water. I was stunned because in no way did I look like I worked there.
Finally we had our tickets printed and were on the metro to La Machine de Moulin Rouge. After running into some fellow Americans on the metro, we all head into the bar, and we were basically the only people there and it was 11:30. We didn’t receive the memo that no one goes out till about 1. Drinks there were an arm and a leg and we couldn’t leave without having to repay, so we just hung until 3 am when Datsik came on. It was an amazing experience and I had a phenomenal time!
Day #3: Exhausted because I hadn’t got home until 5 a.m. I ended up skipping hang time with the LA girls and chose to wait for the perfume museum with the rest of the group and Emmeline. Peter who was raving about going to find out how to make museum didn’t get out of bed to come.
Fragonard, a France only perfume producer, had an interesting exhibit and then we were given special rates to purchase their perfume. After this museum, Meredith and I again go off together to see the last sights we want to see, since it is our last day. While walking toward the lock bridge, Pont d’ Austerlitz we found a cute little book/knick-knack store. I found myself the perfect French cookbook! It has lessons on how to braise, bake and sear. I cannot wait to go home and practice the techniques. Kim and Brooke get ready for some good meals this semester J.
After the bookstore we made our way toward the river to find the bridge that lovers lock locks on in order to show the soundness of their love. We spent a good amount of time reading locks and their messages. We walked around for a while just taking in the scenery. Paris is a beautiful city! After tiring ourselves out to the last drop of energy, we went back to the hotel for a nice nap before our night out at the cabaret.
The cabaret was very interesting. I really didn’t really know what to expect when it came to the show though. I definitely saw my fair share of breasts and butts. It was very entertaining though with comedy cuts in between the songs and crowd participation. One guy did basically two bosu boards on top of each other. They pulled people from the crowds, and everyone acted hilariously. After the cabaret, I had looked up in my Let’s Go Europe book on where to go out, and a bar called Le Violin Dingue. I ended up going back to the hotel for bed because I was exhausted from getting in at 5am the night before, but Maggie, Sarah and Katie still went, and they had a blast. They said it was perfect for Americans; everyone was really nice!