Trip Start Jan 03, 2009
33Trip End Jun 18, 2009
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Where I stayed
The night before we left, I invited Ross and his friends from school over to my apartment for dinner. It was a little rushed because I didn't get home until 8 because of school and we still had to go grocery shopping but everyone was a good sport. Ross bought fresh ravioli from a market in Cannes and a chocolate cake in Antibes. I bought salad and fresh bread and a few of the friends brought a couple of bottles of wine. Ross made the ravioli while I cut the bread and mixed the salad while around ten people drank wine and chatted in the living room. Everyone offered to help in the kitchen but it can barely fit two people comfortably. We had a great dinner sitting around the coffee table with fun conversation. Everyone went home around 11 because Ross and I had to wake up early for our flight to Paris.
I haven't been on a plane with Ross for over a year and I forgot how much he hates flying. He was a little nervous but he did great. I think the 5 euro pretzels helped to calm his nerves, haha. We got to Paris around noon but it took us a while to get to our hotel because the websites metro directions took us out of the way. We finally got to the Hotel Port Doree which was in the 12th arondissment. It wasn't very close to the city center but it was a cute neighborhood with good restaurants and an accessible metro. The hotel was very nice. It had carpeted stairs and with a book shelf on each landing. Our room was very bright and airy. We even had our own statue. The only minus was the 12 euro breakfast, way out of our price range. After getting settled we hopped on the metro and came up at the Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge on the Seine River. The weather was supposed to be rainy all weekend, but it was very nice, a little cold but very pretty clouds. Then we went to a church called St. Eustache which is supposed to be the most beautiful in Paris. It was huge and I couldn't believe it was so unknown compared to the Notre Dame. It was definitely comparable.
Nearby was the Forum des Halles which is a large underground shopping mall. It was pretty cool, there was even a swimming pool! Then we headed to the Louvre where we took a bunch of pictures outside and saw the Mona Lisa, among other pieces of art. It was really crowded and hot and I almost fainted because I was wearing a cashmere sweater, tights, jeans, a sweatshirt and a scarf to stay warm. Ross took care of me by making me sit down to rest and drink water. After the Louvre, we sat in the Tuilerie Gardens and people watched. For dinner we found a restaurant that was recommended to us by the Bastille. It was called El Chihuahua, a real Mexican restaurant! You have to remember that Mexican food to French people is very different from what we have in Southern California, but this place knew what they were doing, kinda. Other then the gaudy Aztec decor and French mariachi band, the food was good and the atmosphere fun. Ross and I both got fajitas, of course but it was nothing compared to home.
The next day we went to Pere Lachaise, a cemetary with lots of celebrities. Ross really liked it on his last trip and wanted me to see it too. The sky was very pretty with lots of clouds and the tombs were numerous. We saw Chopin, Edith Piaf and others that I can't remember. Then we went to the Paris Opera but a rude (the only rude Parisian we met) security guard told us that it was closed for a show. We planned to come back another day and headed to the Musee D'Orsay. On the way, it started raining so I went into a store to buy an umbrella but when we got back outside, it had stopped. We also went to lunch at this cool place named Jour (Day). It was like a buffet where you could choose what type of lettuce and all your topping for your salad and dressing. It reminded me of Chipotle but healthier!
At the Musee D'Orsay we saw a lot of famous art by Van Gogh, Degas and others. We even sat down a while and tried to sketch some sculptures (Ross was better than me). Then we walked to the Champs Elysees, a huge street with lots of shopping and the Arc de Triomphe at the end. We stopped by a store called Ladoree, which has amazing maracons (different from macaroons) that are like little cakes with a creamy/jelly stuff in the middle in lots of different flavors. The place was packed so we decided to come back another day. That night we had a nice dinner in a restaurant near our hotel. I had rotisserie chicken and Ross had duck.
The next day we started off with checking out the Pompidou (the modern museum) but we didn't go inside because Ross had just been in two weeks before and isn't really in to modern art (I'm not into museums in general, but a few on each trip is fine). Then we headed to Notre Dame which had a service going on and watched a few minutes. Then we headed to the Pantheon which is a huge building with great architecture and a crypt underneath with French celebrities. We saw Rousseau, Louis Braille, Victor Hugo and Marie Curie's graves. There is also a ball hanging from a really long cord attached to the top of the dome that swings with the turning of the Earth and tells the time.
Then we went to the Luxembourg Gardens where all the Parisians go when there is nice weather. Luckily, it was nice weather and there were little kids running around and pushing sailboats across the water. Then we found Le Bon Marche, the first department store in the world where we looked around at all the toys, expensive clothes, luggage and furniture. There was even a sewing store, mom! Then we tried walking to the Eiffel Tower which took awhile because we couldn't see it in the area we were in with all the tall buildings. We finally found it and walked the stairs up! It was really pretty and I'm glad we had good weather. That night we found a cute restaurant where I got French onion soup and steak and Ross got salad and pasta. Then we went to Sacre Coeur (Montmartre) which is a church up on the top of a hill that looks over all of Paris. There was a service going on and we watched for a while. We also ate our macrons which we got earlier that day.
The next day, Ross had to leave in the morning to catch a flight to Vienna where he was meeting friends for the rest of his spring break. My flight wasn't until 7 and I planned to go to Versailles, but it turns out Versaille is closed on Mondays, so instead I went back to Opera, which I loved. It is very beautiful and ornate inside. I was a little disappointed because the auditorium was closed for rehearsal but I saw an open box. When I went in I saw other tourists were looking into the auditorium and watching a rehearsal. I actually got to watch what looked like high school boys rehearse their ballet and it was great! I had a few hours left and I haven't been to the theater at all in France yet so I saw the movie Duplicity with Julia Roberts. It was very good!
My flight back home was uneventful and it was really hard getting up at 7am this morning to go to class because we just did the time change on Sunday. This weekend I am going to Morocco and I am a little tired of traveling, but having a lot of fun.