I do not even know where to start. Paris was a dream. I didn't know how much I would enjoy it because people say you usually love it or hate it, but I absolutely loved it. PARIS, JE T'AIME all the way. Getting to Paris didn't take that long, but we were a bit surprised on the way there to find out that the train we were counting on to get us there "did not exist". SO- long story short, we had to pay to take the high speed train from Brussels to Paris on Thursday night. We checked in to our little hostel called "Le Regent Montmartre" and got settled. Upon getting to our rooms, we learned that this place was more like a hotel than a hostel. We each had a private bathroom and the room I was in even had a balcony overlooking Montmartre.
On Friday we woke up and had breakfast at our hotel- it was great. Cappuccinos and croissants galore! for free! (well, included in our hotel stay). The weather forecast for Friday was 90% chance of rain, so I wore athletic, water proof gear for our bike tour, thinking we would be biking in cold rain. Well, it turns out Friday was our most beautiful day- so in all of the sunny pictures, I have the ultra Baylor style of Nike shorts with leggings in our pictures. Cute.
Our bike tour was great though- we saw a lot of the main attractions in Paris- the Eiffel Tower of course, the Louvre, Napoleon's tomb, and lots of Parisian government buildings. We stopped for lunch and got to try CREPES! One was ham and cheese, the other was butter and powdered sugar. The bike tour, although leisurely, wore us out by the late afternoon. We headed back to our hotel and got ready for dinner. We asked our reception in the hotel where a good place to eat would be. They were so helpful and made reservations for us at a nearby bistro! I had three courses- first, goat cheese with eggplant, second, filet mignon with mashed potatoes, and third, tarte tatin (traditional french dessert with apples and caramel liquor sauce).
After dinner, we decided to go see the Louvre at night and see the Eiffel Tower sparkle. It was really beautiful. We also visited the famous Moulin Rouge on the way back to the hotel because it was close to where we were in Montmartre.
On Saturday I wanted to visit Sacre Couer (the huge, white church in Montmartre) Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe, and walk the Champs Elysees. I am surprised to say that I actually got to see all of these things! The pictures can speak for themselves.
I was so excited to get a picture in this spot because one of my favorite movies was filmed here. It is a French film called Amelie. The scene takes place right by this carousel then continues up towards Sacre Couer. I also went to a cafe where the movie took place called Cafe Deux Moulin (but that can wait til the Sunday section).
Here is some of our group- from left to right- Randall, Courtney, Grant, Natalie, Kenzie, Stephanie and that's me on the end. I met these wonderful girls when I got here and we have been having a great time.
Stephanie and I at Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe!
Saturday night we celebrated Courtney's birthday. How awesome is that- to have your 21st birthday in Paris?? We went out to eat, walked around the city, and went to a bar. At dinner, I had the best dessert. I know I talk about food a lot, but seriously, this was amazing. It was fried bananas with nutella and whipped cream. Soo good. Joel, Jeff, and Natalie stuck with creme brulee, which was awesome as well. Stephanie actually met up with her FRENCH friend, Helene, who helped us get around the city! It was great.
Sunday was so hard to wake up, but we did. We got up and ate breakfast at the hotel, checked out, and headed for the Champs Elysees to go to the acclaimed dessert place, Laduree.
Before leaving the Montmartre area, I dashed over to the cafe called, Cafe les 2 Moulin (the two windmills). It is one of the major places Amelie was filmed, so of course I got pictures of it! There were actually 2 other people snapping pictures there (2 men with nice SLRs) so I didn't feel so foolish walking in the cafe, snapping pictures, and leaving.
I was thrilled to get some shots of it. On the left is from the movie and obviously on the right is when I took it on Sunday. So cool.
On the left is Joel and I walking down the Champs Elysees. Stephanie took a candid for me. I always like candids better than posed pictures- they actually capture a moment, not just a place and a fake smile.
But, posed are good too, as we are in front of Laduree, the dessert place on the Champs Elysees. Best desserts you will ever eat in your life.
We had a calm Sunday as we left Paris and headed back to Maastricht. Can't wait to head back the first weekend in March to see the art in the Louvre & Musee D' Orsay and to visit Versailles!