Monday, April 01, 2013

Exchange Adventures: Paris!

After more than 35 European cities together, Joe & I finally made it to Paris! I say that kind of jokingly because neither of us are particularly giant Paris fans. It is a great city, of course, but having both already been it has never been at the top of our travel lists. But, since it was on the way home, we decided to stop for a night. I mean, it IS Paris.

Unfortunately, Paris was freezing. Which is evidenced by Joe's expression on our way to the Eiffel Tower.
 I, on the other hand, am invincible to cold! Whee!!!
Okay, that was a lie. It was so cold that I had to take this picture of the brief appearance of the sun.  See it? No? Okay, neither did we. It was just a faint hope for some warmth.
Luckily we still managed to get our obligatory couple shot. And then we basically ran to the warmest spot we could find.  To make matters worse, Joe was really getting sick at this point. So we chose a quick dinner and called it a night.

The next morning Joe slept in so I went for a walk.  I wish I had gone for a run, but I didn't think I would have been warm enough.  (It would have been. Doh.)  I walked through some random streets and basically gallery-window shopped before reaching the Seine. Then I walked through the Louvre, to the gardens, to the Orsay, and back to the hotel. I also might have consumed a Nutella/banana crepe along the way. Maybe.

I thought the juxtaposition of this sculpture and billboard was pretty funny. The sculpture however was a bit disturbing.

I remember being obsessed with this street back in 2000!

Not at all sure what this is about.
Once I picked up Joe at the hotel, we walked to Notre Dam before grabbing lunch. I debated going inside but I figured we wouldn't be able to since Easter mass was happening. Plus it was crazy crowded and we wanted to get away from the people. 
Then we ducked into a cafe and got a Croque Madam for Joe (see why it's a madam?) and onion soup for me. (No need for the French onion soup in Paris!)  Mmmmmm, so good!
Next we somewhat retraced my walk from earlier in the morning on our way to a secret mission before taking the Metro to Montmarte and visiting Sacre Couer. I did not remember it being this crowded before, and sadly the crowds took away from the experience. I was still able to see some of the artists (and I think maybe the same artist who painted something my parents bought), but it honestly was kind of stressful. The vendors especially were very aggressive, and all of this combined had us ready to get out of this area.
But luckily, we were going to the place I was most looking forward to...the Pompidou Museum!!! This museum is far and away my favorite museum in the whole world. I was worried that my expectations were too high, and I would find that it wasn't as great as my memories had lead me to believe. But I was wrong, and it was wonderful, and I was one happy E.
Hey Dad! This is for you!
So happy! So excited! Yet so cold!!!

And a few of my favorites, which surprised me that they allow photos of:
Matisse. This might be my absolute favorite painting of all time.  Right, Dad?

Kandinsky again! I used to have this print (purchased at the Pompidou) in my room in college, after college, in my office, etc... So fun to see this (and others) that I had looked at nearly every day for over ten years.
On our way back, we walked right past Notre Dam and realized that we could go inside. Even though there wasn't a line for entry, it was still ridiculously packed. But we got to see Easter Mass in action, so that was pretty cool. As Joe said, quoting Dickens, "it was the best time, and it was the worst time" to see one of the world's most famous churches.
 After grabbing dinner (there is nothing wrong with two crepes a day in France, right?), we headed back to the hotel to grab our bags and then headed to the train station. We had an overnight train from Paris to Barcelona, and Joe and I were ready to come home.  I admit that this trip reminded me why Paris is so wonderful, but I think I'd rather come back when it is warmer and less touristy. Is that even possible? We'll see... I'm not ruling this city out for a repeat or two.

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