City of…snails

After just a few more posts I’ll be all caught up on our European adventures and can get on with more current activities – it’s bittersweet.

As our time in Germany got short we felt pressure to do, see, eat, etc. everything. But at the same time, traveling is really tiring (I know, I know – it’s a First World Problem if ever there was one.)

I spent a lot of time conducting research before each trip so that we knew exactly where to go, how to get there, and what to do once we arrived. Most of our trips had a specific goal and usually a corresponding schedule. I think we selected this destination because as snotty as it sounds, traveling to Paris was easy. We knew where to stay, how to maneuver the city, what we wanted to eat, and come on: it’s Paris for goodness sake!

Cafe Central
We checked in to our hotel and then practically sprinted to Cafe Central for their fantastic hamburger sauce.

We stayed just off the Rue Cler and I love everything about that little street:
Rue Cler

Flower shop on Rue Cler

We spent the first day wandering aimlessly from landmark to landmark, stopping for wine along the way.

We're here!

Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile
Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile

Louis Vuitton on Champs-Elysées
Louis Vuitton

Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées
Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées

Les Invalides
Les Invalides

The next day we ventured to Versailles and toured casually – we used the audio guides but really just stopped whenever something seemed interesting rather than trying to see every single thing (which isn’t possible anyway, right?)
Château de Versailles

Château de Versailles

Château de Versailles

Jardins du château de Versailles

And when we got hungry? We decided maybe someday we’d return…and we left. Here’s to us for being carefree! We ate at Helio’s Pub, a cute little place that let Big D order items not on the menu. I had my first of many escargot servings:
They were so delicious I ate mine and most of D's.

That evening we wandered around the Latin Quarter and unintentionally strolled all the way back to our hotel – about four miles.

Art Nouveau Metro sign

Musée du Louvre
Musée du Louvre

Musée d'Orsay
Musée d’Orsay

Big D and the Tour Eiffel

We decided to spend Sunday morning at the Les Puces de Saint-Ouen – a flea market we briefly visited on a previous trip – and the afternoon/evening at the Orsay. I even bought tickets for the museum online so we wouldn’t have to wait in line. It turned out we only saw a tiny fraction of the market on our first visit and had no idea the maze of stores and stalls is HUGE. We spent most of the day there and rather than rushing, we never did use those museum tickets. They’re valid for a year so if you’re headed to Paris, I’ll send them to you! (Photography is generally prohibited at the market, so all I have is what’s in my mind’s eye.)

We filled the free time that afternoon with… escargot of course! And wine. And cheese. And whatever these are.
Big Ds "snack."

And then we roamed around the First Arrondissement with a stop at my personal mecca, Goyard – closed on Sunday.

my Mecca

This guy got a ticket from policemen on Rollerblades. How embarrassing!
Definition of embarrassing: Getting a ticket in your Smart Car from policemen on rollerblades!!

Tour Eiffel

Monday brought our trip to a close. We checked out of our tiny hotel and dragged our bags to the Trocadéro just so I could try to get the photo below, which required sneaking my glass out of the restaurant, across a few busy lanes of traffic, and into the center of a roundabout. Big D said I looked like I was playing a game of human Frogger.

not exactly what I was aiming for

This photo didn’t turn out exactly as I hoped. But really, I can not complain.

More photos from our final trip to Paris are over on Flickr.

Merci pour les souvenirs, Paris!

Paris? Oui, s’il vous plaît!

Before we even knew if we were really moving to Europe, I got up in the middle of the night (Florida time) to IM with my pal Ally (who lives in LA) so we could buy tickets to see U2 in Paris the moment they went on sale. That shizz isn’t easy, even when it’s not in French! But it all worked out and in September 2010 I set out on my first trip to the City of Lights.

When I first arrived I stowed my bags at the hotel, grabbed my map and headed to the Champs-Élysées. My first stop? The Virgin Megastore. But that was a happy accident. I strolled to along the Champs, had lunch, and climbed to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. And it was there that I had my first ever glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. And I burst into tears. Because, really!?

Suffice it to say, I am really appreciative of the experiences I’m lucky enough to have here in Europe.

atop the Arc

I took a Fat Tire Bike Tour that afternoon, which was fantastic. If you’re ever in Paris, Berlin, London (or Barcelona, which I haven’t visited yet) take one of these tours!! Each has just the right amount of history, architecture, lightheartedness, and beer or wine.

Jardin des Tuileries

Did you know that the tower freaking SPARKLES at the top of every hour? I did not. Imagine my surprise and glee when I was laying in bed, smiling about the day I’d just enjoyed and excited for what was still to come when lo, out of the French Doors (or are they just ‘doors’ if you’re in France?) I saw sparkling and twinkling. I couldn’t believe it!


a video by elysia1 on Flickr.

Basically, the whole trip was magical.

Double rainbow over La Seine

And that’s without evening mentioning crazy things like seeing Roman Polanski pick someone up in his Smart Car. Or you know, the actual reason we were there: U2.

Roman Polanski and Emmanuelle Seigner

reunited and it feels so good

360° - Paris

We walked miles and miles over the course of the next two days and saw more things than I could even begin to try to detail here. After we parted ways, my traditional Post Concert Letdown (which I had at Gare de l’Est) was monumental. So big in fact, that I got in my car and drove to Brussels a week later to see U2 with Ally one more time. But that’s a story for another day.

I was THRILLED when Jen & Gary planned New Years in Paris last year. Because of course this meant Big D and I could invite ourselves along – and Angie flew from the States to join, too!! I was able to do things I hadn’t the first time around including touring the Louvre and enjoying a fun night at the Moulin Rouge (where we saw Karl Rove and Harry Whittington, more commonly known as The Guy Dick Cheney Shot in the Face.)

Karl Rove at the Moulin Rouge
You’ll just have to trust us. It really was Karl Rove.

Moulin Rouge

We took the Fat Tire Bike Tour:
me at the Pyramide du Louvre

Eiffel Tower

We turned into the Griswolds:
Griswold family vacation

And we quietly rang in the new year:
hmmm...
Bonne année!

And in March of this year? When I just had to see Snow Patrol on their last European tour date and made a the spur of the moment decision to jump on another train with Tricia? Yep. Paris was the destination. A few years ago, I’d never dream that I’d go to Paris, yet here I was, enjoying a third visit. I still can’t believe it all.

Untitled

I’ll make at least one more trip there – I haven’t toured the Musée d’Orsay yet, I’d like to see the catacombs… and I’ve never met an escargot (or a glass of champagne) that I didn’t love.

Tons of photos from adventures in Paris on on Flickr.