So, I was confronted with a bit of a dilemma. Here I am now living in Europe, with a birthday coming up and there are a million options for where to celebrate. What did I choose? Paris! And was it ever amazing!
We hopped on a Thalys train from Amsterdam and arrived in Paris, France only 3.5 hours later. Our first day there, we sat outside at a Parisian cafe and I had one of my all time favorite foods... french onion soup... in France!!!
(We never did try any foie gras or escargot while there. We're just not that brave yet I suppose.)
That night we walked the short distance from our hotel and took in some of the cities sights. Our first stop was probably the most famous landmark of the city, the Eiffel Tower.
It was somehow bigger than either one of us expected. There were quite a few people selling minitures of it up and down the street but we declined the offer to buy one.
The next day, my actual birthday, we went to the place that I most wanted to see, the Palace of Versailles. The Hall of Mirrors
(and really EVERYTHING about Versailles) was even more amazing than in the pictures. It's hard to imagine that there used to be almost 10,000 people roaming the grounds. And the bench that I sat on may once have had royalty sitting there! While in Versailles, Lee decided to get his hair cut.
For some reason, this seemed like the best time to do it in his mind, ha ha. We actually just googled the closest place, and somehow with our broken French, and the hairstylist's broken English, we set up an appointment for half an hour later. Lee pulled a picture up on my phone to show the hairstylist and I have to say, the end result was exactly what he wanted.
After Versailles we headed back into Paris and decided to take it easy by taking a boat tour of the city. So for 1 hour we got to cruise the river and see a different side of the famous places. We got a really cute picture together, if you ignore the guy photobombing us in the background.
The next day was Lee's day. So early morning, off we went to visit the Catacombs. A place not for the faint of heart according to the sign. Down a flight of 130 steps (thank you Amsterdam for my strong stair-stepping leg muscles) we entered the remains of an old quarry. About a km into the tour we arrived at why Lee really wanted to come... the remains from some of the cemeteries long ago were moved into this underground area. Here you can see room after room of perfectly lined up femurs and skulls and all other sorts of skeletal remains.
Later that day, we headed to Montmartre to see about getting our picture drawn. I had this romantic dream of sitting on the cobblestone road, holding hands and smiling as an artist did this fit to be framed picture of the two of us. We got off the tram and headed towards the square. Up another 3 or 4 sets of increasingly steep stairs (or at least it seemed that way to my sun-addled brain) we finally made it. And low and behold, it was the busiest spot that I had seen in all of the tourist areas of Paris. A tiny square with artists selling their artwork with prices much higher than I had expected. Disappointed but not defeated, we nixed the idea of a drawing and headed to see the famous Moulin Rouge. To clarify, just the outside of it. We didn't opt for any shows while in Paris. ;)
Sunday, our final full day in the city of love and lights, we biked over to the Avenue des Champs-Elysées. Apparently it's one of the most famous avenues in the world. We spent most of the day window shopping (ohhh... Louis Vuitton) and part of the day actually shopping. I think my highlight was the luxury toilets we went to inside on of the strip malls. 2 euros entrance you walk in and are greeted by your own personal hostess. The waiting area is set up like a gift shop, with toilette seats on one wall, and rows of colored toilet papers and other bathroom items lining another. The hostess takes your money, checks to make sure that your stall is clean (it's hand cleaned after each patron) and then shows your to your own personal stall. Each stall is themed, and the products used in that stall, should you have happened to fall in love with one) are displayed behind the toilet along with their prices. For those interested, here's the WEBSITE.
We finished up our last full day in Paris with a trip to La Fee Verte to try some absinthe.
It was a neat ritual to preparing it. I'm glad that I tried it, but it's something that I would save for special occasions. Lee liked it much better than I did.
I think Audrey Hepburn summed it up best in the movie Sabrina, "Paris is always a good idea."