Thursday, March 7, 2013

Paris - Part One

Back in February my college roommate and I had the amazing opportunity to go to Paris for a week. Now, as a Spanish minor in college and after studying abroad in Spain summer 2010, Paris was quite different and the language barrier was the biggest difficulty when traveling. 

Jet Lagged from our 7 hour red-eye, we decided to walk around our neighborhood and head towards the Seine River. We stayed in the 16th Arrondissement, which was more of a neighborhood feel. 

As we were walking along the river we came across a bridge that led us straight to the Eiffel Tower! 

After seeing the most iconic Parsian sight, we hopped on the metro and headed to quite possibly its most famous street, the Champs-Elysees. We arose from the underground to find the Arc de Triomphe. 

After a little shopping therapy, and of course, macaroons from the original Laduree, we were exhausted and headed back to our apartment for a dinner of French cheese, baguette and wine! 

Since we had been up for about 48 hours from our travels, we decided to be lazy and slept in Sunday morning before heading to Notre Dame. 

We climbed to the top to explore the gargoyles and views of Paris. (Note: If you are going to Paris, I highly recommend buying the Paris Museum Pass, we got into all the museums, churches, major sights with the pass for a discounted price.) 

Climbing to the top was my favorite part of the trip. I highly suggest taking the trip up, it was not as crowded as other sights and gave magnificent views plus you can't beat the magic that comes with the 800+ year old church.

Some of the gargoyles were very graphic! 

After our trek to the top we stopped in a cafe for a traditional cafe and crepe!

We decided to explore the Isle that is the center of Paris and walked along the Seine Quay's, another must do in Paris. 

We were lucky to be able to meet up with a friend's friend who was studying in Paris for dinner. She took us to a fabulous restaurant in the Latin Quarter, Le Relais Odeon, where I enjoyed a typical French dish, salade chevre chaud, or warm goat cheese salad, so delicious! After, we headed next store to a delicious chocolate shop, where we served ourselves to our hearts content. 

Monday, we made our way back to Notre Dame to see the inside of the beautiful church. (Note: It is free to get inside, but go early in the morning, around/after lunch the wait becomes 30 min+) 

After, we made our way to the Louvre. (Note: It is extremely crowded, like almost claustrophobic in the popular parts of the Louvre. Hit the three big sights - Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, Venus de Milo - then escape the crowds.) 

 We headed to the opposite end towards the Napoleon apartments, which were extremely ornate and a must see at the Louvre in my book. Loved the crown jewels on display! 

Next on our list, Pompidou, the museum of modern art in Paris. It looks super bizarre (reminded me of a hamster cage thing) on the outside but it is easy to manage and has some great pieces of fun art, without the crowds of the Louvre.

That night, we headed to the Champs-Elysees area to go up the Arc de Triomphe at night. This was my friend's favorite part of the trip. One must see is the Paris skyline at night, it is so romantic. Afterwards, we went to a traditional French dinner of steak and frites.  

I'll be back later with more of our time in Paris! Au Revoir! 

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