Yesterday (Saturday) was our second full day in Paris. We started off the day by taking the metro over to the Tour Montparnesse (a skyscraper in Paris with a viewing deck at the top so you can go up and see the whole city, including the Eiffel Tower–if you go up the Eiffel Tower you don’t get to see that in the skyline!). The view was amazing but it was pretty hot (around 90F) and bright and we both forgot our sunglasses back in London. We didn’t stay up on the top deck very long (floor 59), but there is also an observation deck on floor 56 which is inside and air conditioned, so we hung out there for awhile as well.
Right before we went to the Tour, we stopped at what some friends jokingly call “the American Embassy” aka McDonalds 🙂 I feel like a bit of a lame-o for eating McDonalds when I’m in PARIS, but I just wanted something quick and cheap, and everything else around were sit-down cafes. It was yummy, except in France they apparently put the nutrition facts right on the wrapper so there is no blissful ignorance in eating McDonalds here. Ouch.
Then we headed to the Louvre. Sadly, my camera was near dead at that point so I had to switch to the 5 megapixel setting to try to save power and I didn’t take as many pictures as I would have liked to. The Louvre is filled with so much art, but what really struck me was how crazy it was that it used to be a palace. I just couldn’t stop thinking, “this was someone’s HOUSE?” King, sure, but even for a King the Louvre is crazy big. And I also kept imagining people back in the day walking through there when it was the King’s place, and having no idea that a couple hundred years later all these tourists from around the world in their sandals and fanny packs with their digital cameras and cell phones would be strolling through the place in masses. So that is what I was thinking about most of the time– oh, and also about how TINY and insignificant the Mona Lisa seems compared to all of the other art. There was a painting of Napoleon’s carnation (?) that was bigger than the square footage of many peoples homes, and it wasn’t the only big painting… but the tiny Mona Lisa is the one people are fascinated with. It hangs alone on a huge wall… which kind of exaggerates how tiny it is… and is roped off and hoards of people stand around taking photos of it (we got one too… although I wish instead of zooming in I had taken a picture from a distance so you all could see how huge the wall is, and how tiny the painting is). So there you have it– the world is fascinated by Mona Lisa, and I am fascinated by how big the King’s house was. The things we think about 😉
After the Louvre we were exhausted–both from the heat, and all the walking and stairs. Besides all the walking here (both Paris and London), there are rarely elevators. The stairs can be KILLER. When we were flat hunting in London after the first couple days my legs were so dead I had to physically lift them with my hands to get up the stairs. The bright side is– no need for a gym when Europe is my stair-stepper? 🙂 So we headed back to the hotel to rest for awhile. We had planned to visit Notre Dame but the service was at 6:30 and we knew we couldn’t make it back in a hour so we decided to go Sunday instead.
After relaxing for a bit we got dressed up and headed out for dinner near the Eiffel Tower. Alexander had two places in mind (affordable for the area and recommended by a travel book). We got to the first one and the only people in the place were two separate tables with a couple older women at each table, and they were talking very loudly in English to each other across the restaurant. Not appealing. So we walked to the other one–Le Bosque–and it turned out to be very nice. Apparently we were really early for dinner, because the only other people eating when we first got there had full heads of gray hair 😉 But quickly a younger crowd came in as well. However, that also brought our one annoyance with the restaurant. For some reason, still unknown to us, the service to our table (and our table only) was extremely, extremely slow. People who arrived more than 45 minutes after us were getting their food before us, and Alexander’s lamb never came. We ultimately asked them to just bring us the check without the lamb on it, and paid so we could leave because I was getting really tired just sitting there waiting and waiting, and we had other things we wanted to see! Despite the slowness, our food was delicious and the place was so much nicer than option #1!
Next, we hopped on the metro up to the Eiffel Tower. We had planned on walking–it’s a nice walk–but dinner took too long and we wanted to get over there. I am so, so, so glad we went back to see it at night too! It’s so pretty! It’s currently lighted blue with a circle of stars resembling the European Union because France’s President (Sarkozy) is currently the president of the EU as well. It twinkles for 8 or 10 minutes every hour on the hour and Alexander knew the perfect spot to see it from! He also knew about Cafe De L’Homme (a very expensive restaurant with amazing views of the tower) which is in a Museum right there, and he convinced the hostess to let us have a table with a view just for drinks and dessert (she couldn’t let us sit outside if we weren’t buying dinner, but she gave us an AMAZING table inside!) I love, love, LOVED it! Then this morning when I uploaded the pictures I got all excited again. Definitely one of the coolest things I’ve seen/done, and ranks right up there at the top of “Best Nights Ever.”
Today has been a very relaxing day. Sadly, I woke up with (sorry for the TMI male readers) really bad cramps. I still managed to get myself in a dress and make it to the “international mass” at Notre Dame with Alexander, and we went to a nearby sidewalk cafe for lunch. Alexander had to find a pharmacy to get medicine for me, and came back with a pink box that says “regles douloureuses” which I think means something to do with periods 😉 I just asked him for ibuprofen but he told the pharmacist exactly what I needed! Also, it turns out “limonade” is not lemonade, but 7UP. In my desperate-pained state, lemonade sounded good so I ordered it. Not only did it turn out to be 7UP, it also cost 7 EUROS!!! (aka $10 US DOLLARS!! FOR A GLASS OF 7UP!!). So, no more ordering a beverage without (1) knowing what it actually is, and (2) knowing the price! The cheapest I’ve seen here for a diet coke is 2 euros (which is 3 U.S. dollars and I thought that was expensive!) but that is way cheaper than 10!
Anyway, now we’re at the hotel watching rented movies on iTunes because when I have cramps this bad the best I can do for myself is take lots of meds and take it easy. Luckily its today that this happened, a day we planned on taking easy anyway. And today is also the only day it has rained while we’ve been here. So perfect both ways. Hopefully I feel better soon because it’s my last night in Paris! I need to see more of the city!!