Sunday, August 5, 2012

Filles Voyage a Paris

Having lived in the great state of Texas for almost 7 years I had no idea and was recently made aware that there is a Paris in Texas. But this my friends is not a blog post about Paris Texas as much as I LOVE Texas, this is about a girls trip to Paris France. Yep I admit I am grateful for google translate.....2 years of French in high school and I had to google how to say "Girls trip to Paris"! I do have to say I have been extremely blessed over the past two years in all of our grand European traveling adventures, and to be able to travel to Paris with my Mom and a friend, well nothing compares and all I can say is I love my life. This being a trip without the boys or my husband we were able to get away with flying instead of driving. So we borded a FULL plane and at this point we were lucky to get a seat. I sat next to a lady who didn't really want to give up the middle seat that her purse was so cozily sitting in and who huffed the whole two hour flight. Sorry lady if you wanted a seat for your purse you should have bought it a ticket!! Upon landing in Paris we quickly found our luggage and then got in the que for a taxi.....funny how none of them wanted to take us through the city and bummper to bummper rush hour traffic. We were passed over a couple of times before a very nice person was willing to make the journey. After getting checked into the hotel we were ready for lunch. We found a quaint little cafe across the way from the hotel where we had a delicious lunch. Probably the best meal we had there besides of course the meal we had at the Hard Rock. So after lunch we ventured to the nearest subway station and figured out how to purchase subway tickets and found the one we needed to get us to our first sight of the trip which was the Louvre. The subway was easy to manuver but just crazy busy so it was usually standing room only with very little breathing room, no wonder pick pocketers thrive in Paris. A couple of times we shoved our way onto the subway otherwise we were going to be seperated from the rest of our party. Needless to say the Parisians are quite used to being shoved up to the people surrounding them. We made it to the Louvre and made a quick venture through the main points of the museum. Like the Winged Victory of Samothrace


The Marriage at Cana

Venus de Milo

The ever famous Mona Lisa which is no easy feat to get a picture of. This little beaut is located in a room jammed packed with hundreds of people trying to get a look. It is roped off so you can't even get very close to it, and it is behind a wall of glass. So your first problem is trying to get to the front of all of theses people to even try and get a decent picture, all the while getting shoved and pushed and jerked and stepped on. Then when you finally get to the front you are being yelled at the people behind you to "HURRY UP AND TAKE A F*&^ING PICTURE"! After you quickly snap a horrible shot of the lady in all her glory, you then have to turn around and get shoved, pushed, kicked, and stepped on to get out of the room. By the time that task is completed you are ready to find a place in the Louvre where there is some breathing room......ummmm yeah not in gonna happen.

After having seen our share of the Louvre we decided to find our way to the pyramid exit......that's after we climb and desend a couple hundred steps. Along our mission to find the exit we came across this little odd piece of art by an unkown artist called Gabrielle d' Estrees et une de ses soeurs.

I was curious about the meaning of the painting so once again google is my friend. Beginning to wonder how I made it through my education years without google. Anyway this picture is of Gabrielle d'Estrees the mistress of King Henery the IV of France, sitting up nude in a bath, holding Henery's coronation ring, whilst her sister sists nude beside her and pinches her right nipple. The painting symbloizes the anticipation of Gabreielle's first child with Henery the IV.

Finally we made it to the exit to take a few photos of the Pyramid exit/entrance. Then we were on our way to the Hard Rock for dinner.

So we maneuvered our way to to the Metro, crammed ourselves onto a subway train or two and walked our way to the Hard Rock. The Hard Rock in Paris takes 2nd to the one in Barcelona and far out beats the one in Dublin but that will be expanded upon in my Dublin post. So time to sit, relax, drink, eat and take a load off. So my first priority was to order one of my all time Hard Rock faves......A TROPICAL ROCK and man oh man it certainly does ROCK!!!!

After we were completely satisfied we walked our way back to our hotel for the night.

Day 2: was a day of surprises...We started this day off with a quick breakfast at McDonalds, where we had our first and only real encounter with a rude Parisian. However I am sure it was just the fact that she clearly hated her job. Where else in the world could you go and order a coffee and ask for cream to go with it and get handed a empty cup instead? Brilliant! After our fun breakfast laughs over the CREAM or lack there of we ventured to the sardine case....I mean metro station to get packed and unpacked. We walked through the Jardin des Tuileries, a garden which I am sure is just insanely beautiful in the spring time, however in June it leaves little to be desired. Although it was still pretty, and much more beautiful than when we saw it during the winter of 2010, it seemed like many other gardens we have visited before.

After visiting the gardens we ventured on to one of my mother's 'must sees' which was the Pont Alexandre III Bridge. This bridge symbolizes the Russian-French friendship and was named after Tsar Alexander III. This bridge spans the Seine river, connecting the Champes-Elysees quarter and the Invalides and Eiffel Tower quarter. Pont Alexandre is Paris' most elegant bridge.

This bridge was used in several scenes in different movies such as Rush Hour 3, Midnight in Paris, Kiss of the Dragon, Ronin, and The Devil Wears Prada (mom if you haven't seen that movie you should rent it). Adele also filmed her music video for Someone Like You on this bridge.

Since you can see the Eiffel Tower from the Pont Alexandre Bridge we decided we would venture that way and see how dreadfully long the lines were. So we zig zagged our way through the streets of Paris stopping to have a coffee and pastery along the way. After reaching the tower and estimating that that the wait time was probably an hour to two hours. So we decided we would wait in line. As we were standing there and as we were crawling up the line some very nasty dark clouds started to surround us.
Although we were prepared with umbrellas we were not prepared for the downpour that quickly surrounded us. As we abandoned our plan to go up into the Eiffel Tower this day we decided to quickly find some shelter. This was no easy task and in fact had to walk several blocks before we found a bridge to seek shelter underneath. By the time we had gotten there the rain was subsiding but we were already pretty water logged at this point. So instead of trying to go back to get back in line at the Eiffel Tower we decided to tour the Rodin Museum.

This is where we saw magnificent works of Auguste Rodin. Works like the ever famous The Thinker:

The Gates of Hell (La Porte de L'Enfer)
Which was blocked off so we couldn't get up close or pictures from different angles.

The Kiss The Kiss Sculpture was inspired by Dante's tale of Paolo and Francesca, lovers entwined for eternity in the Inferno, this statue was initially part of Rodin's Gates of Hell.

The Thinker: The original one at it's orginal size.

The Cathedral:

Plus some of the beautiful surrounding gardens, in which they were preping for a wedding. Magical!


After closing down the Rodin Museum we walked around trying to find the nearest metro station for another packing in. We walked for a while before we were able to find one and catch it back to the hotel. After we made it back to the vicinity of where our hotel was we walked to a quaint little place for a bite to eat, before heading in for the night.

DAY 3: The busiest day of the trip....a day of walking, packing, walking, unpacking, walking, standing, climbing, and waiting. From sun up to sun down but this was the day I had been waiting for and the two things on my 'must see' list. Which were going to the Notre-Dame Cathedral and seeing the Eiffel Tower lit up at night. So after a quick egg omelet and cappuccino breakfast we were well on our way to the cathedral. The Hotel De Ville was right across the river banks from the church. This particular building is a little misleading because it is not even a hotel. It is the building that houses Paris' admisistration and mayor. It also serves as a venue for large receptions.

From 1310 on, the Place de Grève was the square were most of the executions in Paris took place.
Here people were beheaded, quartered, cooked up or burned at the stake. In 1792, a guillotine was installed. It would prove itself useful during the French Revolution. The last execution took place in 1830, after which the square was renamed Place de l'Hôtel de Ville. The square was later enlarged to its current size by Baron Haussmann, as part of his modernization of Paris. In 1982 the large square became a pedestrian zone.

We made it to Notre-Dame and all it's gargoyle glory.

Now begins our hour or so wait to climb 400 spiral stairs to the top of the south tower to get a gargoyles view of Paris. However I reccomend that if you are going to go up in the Eiffel tower, skip going up in the cathedral tower. You get a much much better view of Paris from the tip top of the Eiffel Tower than you do from the cathedral. Yep 400 of these!!!

And we are back on the ground.

Another check on the list of must sees. Now it is time for the big grand finale of this girls trip in Paris. After lunch of course.......and a windy outside lunch it was, but it was nice to be able to sit outside and enjoy a Parisian off the beaten path place to eat lunch. So then after being sardines for nearly the last time we made it to the 1000 ft tall bundle of metal in all its sureal glory!!

And this my friends was the end of the line that greeted us upon our arrival this day, and way way up there somewhere was the beginning of the line.

After about a two hour wait standing in line we made it to the elevator that took us to the 2nd level. This level stops at 377 feet and gives you a great view of the buildings of Paris.

Paris being the capital of France is the largest city in the country. As of 2009 Paris had an estimated 2,234,105 people and a metropolitian population of 12,161,542. You don't realize just how HUGE the city is until you are 1000 feet above it. The city just seems to go on and on in every direction.

You get a grand view of the city from the very top, but man oh man is it WINDY. When we were up at the top the sun was just starting to set and I was able to capture some great photos of God's glorious wonders.

After we captured some great photos, rested and relaxed and just took some time to just take it all in, we made our way back down to the ground. It was just starting to get dark so we walked arcoss the Seine River to find a good spot to watch the light show that happens at the top of every hour.

Awe what a really is more breathtaking in person. What a moment to remember and I am so blessed I got to share that moment with my mother. I know I have said it before but I LOVE MY LIFE!!! Now it is well after 11:00 pm and we still have to hoof it to the nearest metro sardine station. Things were starting to get a little crazy.....with people EVERWHERE as we were walking down to get back across the river a person on a mo-ped was hit by a car. Nothing serious but enough to cause a chaotic scene. Once we made it onto the subway a group of 6 drunk teens hopped on after us and then we we entertained by a guy singing songs in English. The subway night life was rather interesting to say the least but it kept us awake so we wouldn't miss our stop. What a trip!!!

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." Helen Keller