The thoughts of a woman trying to live simply yet abundantly, contentedly yet expectantly, wisely yet adventurously... all for His glory.

11.13.2009

ah, Paris... je t'aime



Oh Paris, how I love you (sigh).

As you can tell, I had a lovely time in Paris while en route from Benin back home to Minnesota.

I love Paris even though it rained in the afternoon and I then proceeded to spend a good eight hours wandering around Parisian streets in thoroughly wet and freezing shoes.

It's surprisingly easy to get around in Paris. From the airport, simply hop on the Metro train and it will take you right into the heart of Paris. After I got off the Metro, it was a quick walk to my hostel where I dumped off my luggage, ate breakfast (chocolate hazelnut spread on bread and a cup of tea), and discovered there was a free walking tour that included all the highlights of Paris I'd hoped to see.


We met at the Font St. Michel and proceeded to walk to Notre Dame, along the Seine River, through the courtyard of the Louvre (utterly gorgeous architecture, see photo at left), and through a park which displayed an odd mingling of classic French statues and that kind of modern art which can only be described as "strange and slightly disturbing." We stopped for lunch (salmon and cucumber baguette for me) and coffee... I caved and bought a Starbucks. I know, I know--it's completely un-French to drink cafĂ© au lait (coffee with milk), much less with any flavoring! But it had started to rain, I was freezing cold, and I wanted something hot to hold in my hands, not a tiny little demitasse cup filled with straight espresso.

After lunch we continued bravely on despite the rain, although I must admit I have a hard time remembering what all we toured because I could only think about my coldness and wetness. We ended the tour at the Petit Palais, which like many other old, grand palaces in Paris now housed a museum. We were within walking distance of L'Arc de Triomphe, Napoleon's Tomb, and the Eiffel Tower.

At this point, I had made friends with a couple guys on the tour, and we ducked inside the Petit Palais (see photo at right of a beautiful staircase inside) to warm up and figure out what we wanted to do next.

Now, if you had told me six months ago that I would end up seeing the sights in Paris with a couple of guys I had never met before, I would have told you in no uncertain terms that you were crazy.

But,  it was nice to have someone to take pictures of me at all the landmarks. And they were nice and not at all creepy.


So, the three of us--me, an accountant from India/England, and a Texan student studying in Italy--spent the rest of the day happily getting lost (which can only lead you to interesting doors, churches tucked in small neighborhoods, and great patisseries), exploring inside Notre Dame, and eating dinner at a quaint bistro.

You can't help but be reminded of the grandeur of God when you are in churches like Notre Dame. Everyone is hushed, and the whole place is permeated with a sense of mystery and holiness.

After a leisurely dinner, the three of us took the Metro to the Eiffel Tower. We hoped to be able to climb up to the top--600 some steps--but apparently you are not allowed to after dark, so we settled for riding the elevators up.

After dark the Eiffel Tower puts on a continual light show. When we first walked up it was golden, but within minutes the entire tower was sparkling (perhaps a million little camera flash bulbs?).




The ride up in the glass elevators was well worth the price of the ticket! I am not particularly afraid of heights, but I found myself holding my breath as the elevator kept climbing...climbing...climbing.

But this was the view from the top.



I've decided I could live quite happily in Paris.

After we were safely back on the ground, the three of us walked to the Metro and headed back to our respective hostels. Incidentally, I ended up having a room to myself at the hostel, an unexpected but welcome blessing. After a good night's sleep and another simple-but-decadent breakfast, I wheeled my luggage back to the Metro and headed to the airport... and home.

5 comments:

Tea said...

Oh, it sounds like you had a wonderful tour around Paris! The pictures are great! And how fun that you made some friends to share your experience with. :)

My Bright Corner said...

Beautiful pictures!

Kimberly said...

This post brought back so many memories of Paris! I love it there, and I think you saw it in the best way possible. Sometimes no plan is the best plan of all:) I don't judge you for your starbucks stop. I am ashamed to admit I actually ate at McDonalds one desperate night in Paris.

deb said...

Thanks for the trip lived vicariously through someone with good eyes.

lindsay said...

Thanks all for the comments ladies!

Kimberly, I definitely agree: sometimes the best plan is no plan at all. Which was fun for me to discover, since I am by nature a planner extraordinaire! I'm trying to loosen up a bit and be open to spontaneity. :)