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Wednesday, November 03, 2010
As some of you know, Paris was the unofficial kick off to our two week vacation to Italy.
Stay with me.
Paris for 2 days - London for 12 hours - Italy for 12 days. Ok, so Italy was technically less than a two week trip. Details, people.
We took the Eurostar under the English channel early on Saturday morning. I cannot emphasis how pleasant it is traveling by train (at least on this train, that is). Going through customs is a breeze and happens before you start your journey, you only have to show up a half hour before the train leaves, and once you arrive - au revoir! No baggage claim or long transfer into the city as many airports have.
We immediately checked in to our hotel and set off to see the sites! First up - the Eiffel Tower. We had only seen it from a distance during our last trip to Paris and we were excited to visit one of the most iconic buildings in the whole world (building? monument? hmm...).
It was awesome. I think awesome is the only word that accurately describes it. And not in the "oh thats like totally awesome" high school definition of awesome. Its like "standing at the base of the Empire State Building and looking up" awesome.
Spectacular, that could work too. I should really buy a thesaurus.
After spending a couple of hours admiring and walking around the Eiffel Tower (and taking approximately 930483920854209 pictures of it with two cameras, god we are cool and dont act at all like tourists) we made our way across the river. I insisted we take in a bit of culture during this trip and managed to get Brian to go to Musee de l'Orangerie - where 8 of Monet's Water Lilies paintings are on permanent display. I had heard about the unique set up of the paintings from a friend and had to see it for myself.
The paintings are displayed in 2 oval rooms, 4 paintings to a room. There are sky lights in each room with filters over them to soften the daylight. The walls are a creamy white and there is a place to sit in the center of the rooms to admire and reflect. The paintings also curve with the walls of the oval rooms and seem to wrap themselves around you. I loved every second of it.
Except for the obnoxious tourists who kept taking photos of the paintings and getting in my way.
And then I thought, if you cant beat 'em - join 'em!
After that we were cultured out (ok, more like Brians eyes were glazing over and kept standing by the door) so we ventured out for some lunch. We decided to cross back over the river and "see what we could find". Sometimes you leave things to chance and they turn out just ducky. You stumble upon a hidden gem populated by locals. You find a wonderful bakery and eat a meal that consists of bread and cookies. And sometimes, you find nothing.
We apparently wandered into the only area in Paris that didn't have any restaurants. I will spare you the details but it included a lot of walking and two very cranky Americans.
Instead I'll skip to the good meal of the day - dinner. We asked the concierge to recommend a restaurant for dinner that the locals go to. We didn't want a tourist menu or anything fake french. We wanted the real deal neighborhood joint. Lucky for us that joint was only a couple of blocks away. We managed to snag a table without a reservation (although only barely) and dined on escargot, scallops and veal, and a delicious duo of desserts (creme brulee and chocolate mousse incase you were wondering).
Full of good food and a good bottle of wine we called it a night.
Coming up - day 2.