Sunday, June 21, 2009

I see London, I see France....

Coffee and a Crossant in Paris, Life is great!
These past 4 days have been a serious whirlwind.  I rode on the flight for about 10 hours next to my mother who had a bout of  motion sickness somewhere over South Dakota.  (I haven’t 
prayed so much in a long time and 
thankfully those air sickness bags remained empty.)

We arrived at the airport after a long night (about midnight our time, but 11:00 am Paris time) We waited in a long line though customs, and finally made it to the baggage and Taxi area. Apparently all those ideas you had about the speediness of the drivers around here are absolutely true.  We drove through the city and ended up at our hotel after a few horn honks and a few cut off cars. (Scary!!!)

The room was a perfect Parian room with two windows that opened up and overlooked a rather busy street.   I loved the fact that our hotel was not in the middle of a tourist hub, but instead was closer to actual neighborhoods.

We walked down to the Hotel des Invalides, where Napoleon is buried, but didn’t go in because it was a military museum and we weren’t really into that (I know you may say, you should have gone anyways but I think that 1: it is all very overwhelming, and Europe is pretty expensive right now with the exchange rate.) 

The next morning my sister Amy joined us and we were off to the Eiffel tower after a fresh croissant and a latte. (The coffee here is way stronger than even Starbucks but oh so good) When we got to the tower, which is a marvel in itself, we got to the back of the line. 

My mother learning to use her camera.

We moved so slowly and decided to try it later and to go on a tour of the city like a traditional tourist. We got on the open top Red Buses and went on our way for a deal of 24 Euros, (which is about $30-35 US dollars.)  The bus drove us all along the city, weaving in and out of traffic, and taking us to some of the most prominent Parisian sights. 

We saw everything from the Opera House, Louvre, Notre Dame, and my personal favorite, the Arc de Triumph.  We jumped off the bus (which was great because you could rejoin the tour anytime you wanted to.)  and had a quick bite at a covered sidewalk café on the Champs el elysse.

 We were seated right as the clouds opened up and started to downpour. It is so laid back and relaxing but you feel rushed because there is so much you want to see. After lunch we headed over to the enormous Arc de Triumph.  

For only 9 Euros (about $15 dollars.), you could take the 284 stairs to the top.  We even got my mom up to the top. 

Proof my mother made it to the top of the Arc de Triumph! 

It was so amazing because you could see everything in the city.  All the architecture in Paris is so intricate and has so many little details, no wonder all the great creative people have been here before.

After the tour, we headed back to the hotel to take a rest.  We went to another café for dinner and somehow ended up walking back almost to the Eiffel tower. 

The most surprising thing about Paris is that there is graffiti everywhere… on the train overpasses, on the storefronts, on the side of chimneys.  I can’t believe how everything in this city is so old and gorgeous but has graffiti around it and somehow it all works.  Crazy.  The people have been pretty nice too considering my mom has been a sub par translator for us. (I think it is the fact that they speak really fast.)  It has been a fun time trying to learn as much as possible.

We are on the train heading toward London through the Chunnel, then I will update later. 

** Made it to London and will post more about that tomorrow, hopefully! :) (This is me riding in a taxi to our hotel.) Miss Everyone! :) 


Janalyn and Rob said...

The Arc would be at the top of my list too! Love the pic with Pat and her camera. :) said...

Paris is beautiful! I remember being amazed when I saw Notre Dame, the details are so intricate and everything is soooo old! I remember thinking to myself, "and I thought Salt Lake was old!"

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

All that grafitti on top of such gorgeous architecture does sound incongruous. Got any shots you can post?

Glad to hear you all had such a good time, and especially that your mom made it . . all the way to the top!

Mandy said...

It looks like you guys are having fun! I wish I could go to Paris!

Melissa Joy said...

How beautiful and what great detail of your trip. I can't wait to continue reading as you are on this wonderful journey! You have me craving a strong coffee and a croissant now. Miss ya!