08 mars 2006

Winter Break in Normandy and Paris (part 2)

"Hmm want to go to Paris tonight?" Yes, so just like that, on a Wednesday night, Greg and I packed up and headed for the city. Greg's buddy Antoine (they have been friends all their lives) was gracious enough to host us in his apartment right outside the city in nearby Suresnes (pronounced something like "sue-wren" not "sirreznuhs"). And yes, you can TOTALLY see the Tour Eiffel from his apartment.

Yep. Definitely in France.

From his apartment at night...It sparkles every hour.

Greg, me, and Antoine. I hang out with Parisiens, dude.

Thursday, Greg and I went to the Tour Eiffel! It was a very cold cloudy Paris day, but I didn't let the horizon-obscuring fog stop me from having a good trip up to the very top! (we took the elevator...) On the 2nd level you can walk outside (it was cold and there were some flurries), but on the very top it is all glassed in so I didn't feel the dizzying height so much. Check out the view!

If you look closely you can see where the names are engraved.

Yay! I made it to the top!

La Seine

My new favorite picture of me ...

We also drove by the Arc de Triomphe and down the Champs-Elysees.

Lights from crazy Parisien drivers around the Arc de Triomphe.

On that note, driving in Paris is NUTS. There are no lines really. You just drive whereever you want "as long as you don't block or bother others," says Greg. Even on the highway. Lots of drivers have a GPS, he says (although my roommate disagrees), so no one even knows where they are going. Pedestrians don't cross the road...they run, clinging on to dear life, hoping their legs will carry them across the street before they are ecrasé by a maniac in a Peugeot. It was fun though...I like adventure :)

That Friday, I saw Versailles (the palace right outside of Paris)... the overwhelming monstrosity that angered the French when the king spent all of their money on it but now brings in millions of dollars of French tourism. it is truly "la gloire de la france" or whatever it was that was inscribed in stone on the front of the palace. inside we saw the Treasures of the Court of Saxe (meh...just some pretty things owned by royalty) and of slightly more interest, the Grand Apartments and the Hall of Mirrors. There's lots of historic paintings (including some depicting when the French helped the Americans in Yorktown during the American Revolution!) and ornate furniture, thrones, etc. The Hall of Mirrors was partially under renovation, so I didn't get to see it in all its glittery wonder. It looks out onto the grand expanse of gardens all around the palace.

We walked around Montmartre, the old artistic part of Paris for a little while. Check out the twilight sky. It just makes you want to draw lots of pastel pictures, doesn't it?

The square in Montmartre where there are lots of artists and creperies.

I'm not sure what's more French, this cathedral or the fact that Greg is eating a crepe.

As far as nightlife in Paris goes, we went to a student soiree one night and a latin-themed place the next. The student soiree was like nothing I have ever seen (I really shouldnt have to say that though, this is like my entire trip!) They had a variety of things...a live band, dj music, then a fashion show put on by students (with both guys and girls struttin' their stuff), then some student music acts. I thought that was pretty entertaining. Perhaps Greg will send me his pictures of that soon. The latin-themed place was VERY trendy and just magnificent (about 3 stories high I think!) with a beautiful staircase going all the way up to the top.

You can't go to Paris without going to at least one museum. The museum of choice was the Musee d'Orsay (free student night, score) with its many impressionist paintings. It was actually a train station back in the day. Ohh and check out the most beautiful room EVER.

Isn't it magnificent?

I had a fun trip, getting to be a little more relaxed because I was with French people and not tourists. I can't wait to go back (probably with Mom and Dad when they come visit) and see even more!

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