Friday, December 23, 2011

Paris, Whirlwind-Style

Last week we made the first of what I hope will be several trips to Paris. Tyler's middle brother, Jaren, flew into Charles de Gaulle early Monday morning and we took the first train into Paris to meet him. Though we were only in the city for about 30 hours, we packed a lot in. (I had been to Paris for a weekend before, but it was the first time for both Ty and Jaren.)

The first thing we did after dropping off our luggage at our hotel was go in search of lunch. (Paris lodging aside for the interested: We stayed in a triple room at the Hotel Marignan, just off Rue St. Germaine and a five-minute walk from Notre Dame. It was an odd little room, with a water closet on one side, a sink on the other, and the shower down the hall. But it was clean and the location was great.) We walked to Cosi, a foodie sandwich place I'd seen recommended on a food blog. We got there a few minutes before it opened, so we took a little stroll along the narrow street it was on. At the end of the street was a tiny park with a dome rising over the surrounding rooftops. You can't throw a rock in Paris without hitting something beautiful like this.


Here's Jaren outside the sandwich place (which was delicious, by the way) doing his Paris face.


And here's my impression of Jaren's Paris face. Similar but scarier.


After lunch we walked to the Louvre. As we were coming in under the archway, Tyler asked, "Are all of these buildings part of the Louvre?" And I said, "No, no, I'm sure they're not." Turns out they are. It is truly huge. There is about twice again as much as you can see in this picture extending out behind the camera.


Once we got inside we spent about half an hour trying to figure out how to navigate. During this period we saw a lot of French statuary.

"But WHY, Mom?" "That's just the way it is!"

It's hard to tell from this picture, but these guys (captives of various nations conquered by France) are enormous, and so is the hall they're in.


We eventually figured out how to get around and hit most of the highlights of the museum (Venus de Milo--nice but not stunning; Winged Victory--awesome; Mona Lisa--thronged by people trying to take pictures with their cell phones from 20 feet away. I squeezed to the front to look and thought it was very cool; Tyler and Jaren were underwhelmed.) I believe Tyler and Jaren's favorite works, though, were the weird boob paintings.

This painting, too, is listed as a highlight. Apparently these women are sisters. Hm. And can the knitting woman in the background really be oblivious to what's going on here?
Who knew the asp bit Cleopatra right on the nipple?
After our quick trot around the Louvre, we walked through the Jardin Tuileries toward the Eiffel Tower. Unfortunately, the top was closed, so we didn't go up, but it was a nice walk. The next two pictures were taken from a sort of shelf at the end of the gardens overlooking one of Paris's mammoth traffic circles. Notice the ├╝ber-fancy streetlights on the left (the large green pillars).



After being thwarted at the Eiffel Tower, we took the metro back to Notre Dame.


Later we walked to the Rue Mouffetard, where we went to a patisserie. Tyler got a miniature Yule log made of frosting.


By this point, Jaren had been up for about 30 hours, but we dragged him to the other end of the city once more to climb the Arc de Triomphe. Though it was raining, the view was spectacular. It's a little hard to tell from this picture, but all of the trees along the Champs Elysee had rings of Christmas lights around them that gradually changed color. When blue, they made the avenue look like the French flag--red taillights, white headlights, blue trees.


We didn't see a light show, but the Tower was lit up.
We finally let Jaren go to bed after that, and Tyler and I went out for crepes and hot chocolate. Yum.

The next morning we breakfasted on baguettes at the hotel, then went to Sainte-Chapelle. It is really, really, REALLY worth seeing.

The top floor is pretty much made of stained glass.

This castle and fleur-de-lys motif is everywhere, both inside and out.
Sainte-Chapelle is kind of hidden among government buildings.
Next we headed over to the Rodin Museum, enjoying lovely views along the way.


The coolest thing about the Rodin Museum is that his most famous works are out in the gardens. Here's Tyler at the Gates of Hell!


The Three Shades. Or four.
After Rodin we went back to the hotel to fetch our backpacks and Jaren's suitcase and headed toward Montmartre. We hauled the luggage up the very steep Butte de Montmartre, and just barely had time for a quick circuit through the Sacred Heart Basilica (while Tyler waited outside with the bags and looked at the view) before we had to jog back down the hill to the Paris North train station.


Our feet were glad of the chance to rest on the train, though I, for one, would've loved to spend the whole week walking around Paris. Next time I'd like to focus a bit more on the food. As you can see from Tyler's post, Brussels, which was next on our itinerary, was all about the food.

1 comment:

  1. Love the captions. Were all those people actually coming out of going to churc (in the last photo?)


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