Monday, August 15, 2011

J'adore Paris


My bus from Paris returned late last night, leaving me on a curb with a bag of souvenirs, a dead camera with hundreds of photos, and memories of what I can now legitimately call my favorite city on Earth.  This past weekend was such a wonderful experience, and one that I cannot wait to repeat.  There are not words (nor photos) enough to express the beauty of tiny, winding French avenues, the vastness of Notre Dame, or the enormity of the Eiffel Tower.  I wish I could send each of you a delicious little caramel crepe from a streetside cafe, and a big fluffy croissant besides.  Since I cannot, enjoy this series of Parisy posts.  First off, the super-fast city sightseeing tour via bus...

Our tour started with a stop at Place de la Concorde, the public square designed in 1755.  It is probably best known as the site which hosted the guillotine during the "Reign of Terror" in the summer of 1794.  More than 1,000 executions took place here within a single month.  However, the square is far from menacing now.  It is dominated by the massive Obelisk, and to the east is the beautiful Tuileries Garden, where locals and tourists alike can be found taking a leisurely stroll.





Next we marveled at the Arc du Triomphe, and maybe a little at the crazy traffic, too.  The Arc commemorates those who were killed fighting for France in the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, and beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.  As soon as we were back on the bus a short shower of rain poured down.  But Paris is Paris, and a little bad weather doesn't deminish its beauty.





This little souvenir shop was our meeting point with the bus after seeing the Arc.  Much to my surprise, I'd recommend it.  The prices were much more reasonable than those at shops nearer the attractions.  In fact, I'd also recommend almost any street vender.  Their souvenirs are usually more unique and better priced, and unlike in actual shops, you can sometimes bargain with the owners until you're satisfied with what you're paying.  However, the streets are also full of wandering salesmen who will follow you persistantly, begging to make a sale.  (They do have good prices as well though.  I picked up 5 cute little keychains for friends back home for a total of 1euro.)


Next we headed off to find a good view of the Eiffel Tower.  (We didn't ascend the tower itself until the next day.)  These photos were taken from the Palais de Chaillot, which was also beautiful in its own right.





After our Eiffel Tower photo opp, we headed over to see the famous gilded dome of the Hôtel des Invalides, where the Musée de l'Armée and Napoleon's Tomb are located.


Our last stop on this fast paced tour was a drive by of the Louvre.  I was extremely grateful for this the next day when my camera died just before we arrived back at the museum.  With nearly 35,000 objects on display the Louvre is one of the largest museums in the world.  The building served as the royal palace until 1682 when King Louis XIV chose the Versailles Palace for his household and the Louvre was left to house the royal collection.  The Louvre did not become the famed museum of today until after the French Revolution.  The glass pyramid made famous by The DaVinci Code was completed in 1989.



Later we visited the Latin Quarter to see Notre Dame, enjoyed a fantastic French dinner, took a boat ride down the Seine to view the city illuminated by night, and ventured to the top of the Eiffel Tower, but those are all stories for another post.

8 comments:

  1. Such beautiful architecture and rich history! Live it up, little Sis! I know this trip has checked a few things off your bucket list. :D

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  2. Oh my gosh, I'm in love with all of those pictures! I can't wait to hear more about your trip and of course for more beautiful snapshots! My favorite has to be either the black and white of the Eiffel Tower or the rainy glass view of the Arc.

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  3. Courtney: Two! ;)

    Lexa: Thanks! I love those two, too. Everything was so gorgeous. I have a total of almost 300 photos from two days. (Hence the multiple posts. I'll most likely do a post each day until I have covered everything, and it will probably take 4 posts...3 if I'm lucky.) I can't wait to go back. :)

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  4. It looks like you had a wonderful time. I went to Paris in 2006 and it was a lot of fun!!!

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  5. what a beautiful trip! Looks like you enjoyed yourself. I hope to get out there someday to see all of that.

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  6. Carrie, it's great to see you soaking up the benefits of living in Europe -- close proximity to culture and excitement. Enjoy!

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  7. i love paris too!! Especially the crepes. I counted and I had eight in a 48 hour period of time :p It was cool seeing your pictures of the Louvre because when I went we entered from the other side (the large entrance you see behind the pyramid

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  8. for my honeymoon we went to london, but we took the train to disneyland paris for one day. now i'm kinda wishing we went to the actual city itself, too. it looks and sounds amazing. i'm glad you had fun! also, i love the rainy arc picture.

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