Paris, France

A friend and I decided to visit another friend of mine in Paris this weekend. We went by bus since it was so inexpensive, but you sure do not feel rested after riding a bus all night. We left late Friday night from Amsterdam and arrived at 5:30 am on Saturday in Paris. It didn't take long to get to Jen's apartment, so we sat in her stairwell for an hour or so before deciding to knock. She sleepily greeted us and let us in. She offered us a few hours to sleep which we gladly accepted. We cat napped on her futon for a few hours. We then started our real day off by walking to the Louvre and stopping at a pastry shop on the way. She dropped us off at the entrance of the Louvre, where we spent a good amount of time. We took some photos of the outside of the building before going in to look at the art. It was like a maze inside. We started off seeing the Mona Lisa because we knew that would be challenging and then spent the rest of the time wandering around ancient Egyptian sarcophaguses and Greek and Roman marble statues. We walked and walked and walked and finally found a way out, so we went outside. We walked towards the Jardin des Tuileries where we found a few chairs and relaxed for a bit before meeting back up with Jen.

We found a little crepe place to have lunch in...they forgot about my crepe until after both my friends had finished theirs which was unfortunate. When my crepe finally did arrive though, it was a delicious lemon crepe just like my mom makes. We took the metro to the catacombs from lunch, but weren't able to get in before they closed for the day, so we went to the Notre Dame instead. It was so ornate and detailed. There were a whole bunch of tourists just sitting around looking at it. And the center of Paris is right in front of Notre Dame as well marked by a little design on the ground. From there, the love lock bridge was not far. We walked over, admired all the locks there, and I locked my own to it and threw the key in the river. My lock is the little round silver one in the bottom lefthand corner.

On the walk back to Jen's place, we came across an adorable stationary store where I bought delicate little pop-ups of Paris to take home with me. We also stopped by Jen's favorite chocolate store and got some delicious treats for the walk back. We passed through the Jewish quarter, but everything was closed. We also passed by another bunch of really cool (and surely expensive) shops before getting to a bakery and market near Jen's. We picked up a baguette and some camembert cheese that we all sat around Jen's counter and ate. After a nice little rest for our feet, we walked to dinner and met up with a few friends of Jen's and some Dutch girls that came along too. I had an amazing hot chocolate cake for dessert. We were all quite tired by the end of dinner, but we decided to try to see a few more things before the night ended. We took a metro and about a billion stairs to get to the Sacré Coeur, a huge white church that seemed to be the highest building in Paris. It was at the top of a hill and from it you could see practically all of Paris. It was beautifully lit at night and it gave us a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower sparkling from afar. It was honestly magical. After the tower finished sparkling, we went to see the Moulin Rouge. It was a bit underwhelming, but the lights on it did make it look a little better. I think I just had different expectations of what I thought it would be like, but it was still cool to see. We were out in a matter of minutes once we got back to Jen's.

Jessica and I ventured off on our own on Sunday morning so that Jen could get some schoolwork done. We grabbed a baguette and ate it on our way to the Museé d'Orsay. The museum was filled with Monet, Degas, Manet, Renoir, and Van Gogh. It was quite impressive, but the atmosphere of the place was just as beautiful as the paintings in it. On the top floor, there was a huge clock that had a view of the skyline of the city. It was hard to pull me away from the clock. We hadn't heard back from Jen, but we had finished seeing the museum, so we walked over to the Eiffel Tower. We bought crepes at a little kiosk and waked around the bottom of the tower for a bit. The weather was so perfect on Sunday that I wanted to cry or something. I haven't seen good weather since I left California and there was no better way to spend this Sunday in Paris. It was quite handy for all the marathon runners we saw across the city too. After I got to touch the tower and bought some postcards, we made our way to the Arc de Triumph.

From there, we walked down the Champs-Elysées, the giant shopping street. We popped into Laduree, which is supposed to have some of the most amazing macarons in the world. It was the fanciest pastry shop I had ever seen. Apparently Marie Anttoinette used to like to get pastries there. The next stop on our list was another famous macaron shop called Pierre Hermé. We figured we had to try both places to see which one was better. Just down the street from the second shop was a place called Angelina's with world famous hot chocolate, so we figured we should try that too. It was like drinking melted chocolate, which could never be a bad thing, but it was very rich and I got through maybe half of it.

We decided to give the catacombs another try since it didn't happen for us on Saturday and we got in! I don't think I really thought about what I was doing beforehand, because when I found myself standing in a room full of skulls and bones, I did panic a little. It was such an interesting place to be and I can't really describe how I felt there or how I feel about it now. It was definitely an experience.

Jessica and I decided to head back towards Jen's place the way we had gone the day before, so we walked through the shops again and through the Jewish quarter where I tried my first falafel and it was so good, but it was about as big as my head and I couldn't finish it. We arrived back at Jen's where she told us that her and her roommate had been on a wild goose chase trying to find Jessica and I in the city. We had some technical difficulties apparently and I felt horrible. We were able to end the day on a good note though by having more baguettes and cheese with Jen and her roommate and filling each other in on our long, eventful days. Our last stop on our way to the bus was the Tracadero, a huge patio overlooking the Eiffel Tower. It was the perfect vantage point. We missed the sparkling by just a few minutes which was a little disappointing, but it was beautiful nonetheless. We had a very hard time finding the bus station and ended up frantically running around the city for a bit. While frantically running, however, in the distance I saw the Eiffel Tower sparkle. Again, there was that magic. Shortly after that, Jen helped us find the station over the phone and I quickly fell asleep on the bus.


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