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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I. Am. In. Paris!!!!!!!!!!!!

YAYYYYYYYY!!!  After all of the waiting, we were finally in Paris.  The best part about it was that the weather cleared up in the city and it had been drizzling in every other part of France we had been in.  The weather was just really on our side this whole trip!  We got into Paris at Gare d'Austerlitz and took the metro around to our stop to pick up our Paris Pass we had purchased before leaving for the trip and that would give us "free" travel in Paris while we were there.  We got off the metro and started walking to the office and on the way...Braden stepped in poop.  Dog poop.  :)  After finding the place and getting all of the stuff sorted out, we got into a little fight.  We were only a block from the Eiffel Tower and even though I knew we were seeing it later, I just wanted to see it now.  Braden wanted to go immediately to the hostel.  I said that I would just meet him there, but in the end he came with.  It was so great.  I loved it.  A lot. 

After that, we went to the hostel and waited for April and Maria to find their way there.    They ended up taking a taxi, so I didn't get to make fun of them for not finding it right away.  Ugh.  Our stop, Anvers (on-vair) was probably the most worthless stop on the entire metro map and required two changes to get anywhere, but...it functioned.  We went there and took it to the Opera House to catch the hop-on hop-off tour that was included in our pass.  We took a night tour around Paris.

We stopped at the place that overlooks the Eiffel Tower and night and took some photos and then walked up to the tower and took some more, and then we got onto our free boat tour of the Seine River that cuts through Paris and did that.  

There were some annoying little brats from Canada behind us, but for the most part it was enjoyable.  We saw some awesome sights of Paris at night, which, in my opinion, is when it is at its best.  It is lit up so well and looks so much more magical than it does during the day. 

We got off the boat and took the metro up to the Champs Elysees to get some food at McDonald's (it being Sunday and we having not seen anything at all affordable).  From there we could see the Arc du Triomph at night and...oh...everything was just so great.  It was a wonderful first night with the exception of Braden's mood, but that can be overlooked.  We got back to the hotel and slept.

The next morning we woke up and all but sprinted to The Louvre.  While we were waiting we took a picture with the place that is (according to The Da Vinci Code) Mary Magdalene's grave.

I think I was like the 3rd person into the museum, and Braden and I (having left April and Maria to fight their way up the stairs) were 3rd and 4th into the room to see the Mona Lisa.  I didn't have to wait at all and even got a picture with it!

After that we did some more exploring of one of the top rated museums in the world.  And...for all that, we got bored.  We were just really museum-ed out and nothing was impressing us at that point.  There were, of course, some beautiful pieces, though.

After spending the morning in The Louvre, we walked along the river to the Champs Elysees to see the memorial where The Bastille once stood.  The Bastille was a prison that held all of the political prisoners of the French royal family that ended with Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.  The French Revolution began when the "common" people attacked the prison and tore it down brick by brick and freed all the prisoners.  They used the bricks to build the nearby bridge.  That became the place that held the guillotine of Paris.  The one that killed the king and queen and hundreds (maybe thousands) of other people that were considered for that day at least to be traitors to the new free French nation.  That's enough history for now.

We walked all the way to the end of the street and seperated a bit for lunch.  Braden and I stopped at H&M and I bought sunglasses (it was sunnier than I had thought it was going to be).  After we met up again, I quick photo-bombed someone and then we made our way to the top of the Arc du Triomph.  Again, Braden and I powered our ways up to the top and April and Maria lagged behind.  I only say that because I am proud that I can do stairs.  If there is one thing I've gotten from this trip, it is even better legs than I had before I left.  Thank you Shape-Ups+10,000 stairs.  The views from the top were really great.  I didn't even know that Paris had a downtown with super-tall skyscrappers. 

Maria=typical Asian tourish, me=typical European tourist

After we got down to the bottom, we decided to get back onto the hop-on hop-off bus tour that we had free for just one more day and take that the rest of the way we hadn't gone on it yet.  We drove all around and got more beautiful pictures of the Eiffel Tower (I'm addicted) and stopped at Notre Dame.

There, we went souvanier browsing and I bought a ton of postcards to go along with the postage I had bought in The Louvre.  I didn't see any shot glasses that I liked, though.  After getting my first French crepe (cinamon-sugar) and loving it, we got back on the bus and took that to the metro and went back to the hotel to get some shopping done.  It was overall a very full and fun day and a GREAT first full day in Paris. 

We ended the night by going to an Italian restaurant.  That was, of course, not the original plan.  What we had wanted to do was go to an Indian restaurant that was right down the road from our hotel.  That was closed.  We didn't know why and none of us know enough French to translate the reasons...all I know is that it was closed.  So, we asked the guy at the hotel (who was not the friendliest or most helpful) where we should eat.  He obviously sent us to his friends Italian place.  It was not by any means fantastic or cheap and the way he made is sound was not what it turned out to be.  Ah well, we had food and it wasn't terribly expensive.  The best part of this story though is April asking for directions to this place.  The man had terrible handwriting and none of us knew at all what he had said and when he asked, "do you understand?"  April said, "yup" and off we went.  Well...she didn't really understand so we kinda just walked in a general direction until we luckily happened upon the place.  It was an adventure in the back streets of Paris. 

After dinner we got some supplies for sandwiches for the next day and were off to bed.

I was getting creative with the camera...

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