Friday, August 31, 2012

European Extravaganza - Part V c - Paris

Our day of decadence came to an end since Versailles closes up around 6pm.  Since Becca and I had split up in the afternoon, our meeting point was, once again, McDonalds.  At least they have macarons in their fancy cafe section.  And free wifi!

We jumped the train back to Mark's apartment, grabbed him and headed out to dinner.  His apartment swap friends left a pretty detailed guide on the neighborhood with some of their favorite restaurants and things to do.  I looked up some menus of their picks, saw the words 'duck burger' and soon we were out the door in search for Le P'tit Bouquet.  

Destination found.  Despite living in Paris last summer, Mark doesn't speak French.  Becca doesn't speak French.  I speak Spanish, so I was the designated table getter and orderer.  I'm terrible at French pronunciation.  The guy kinda acted like he didn't speak English, so we fumbled through it.  Oh, well.  Food got to the table.

The beautiful duck burger.  We had another noodle-ish side dish that was okay.  But the duck was pretty dang delicious.

Chocolate mousse on the menu means I have to order it.  They gave us an entire huge bowl.  HUGE bowl!  Remember my ode to chocolate mousse?  It was like making a cake mix and just eating the whole bowl raw with the huge spoon.

We kinda closed the place down.

The walk home.

We finally figured out that laundry thing and washed some clothes.  I forget that Europeans don't believe in dryers.

Sunday morning it was museum day.  Becca was museumed-out from her fairly recent trip to Paris, so we split up for the day.  She went off to the Basilica of St Denis, which is the burial place of the French Kings, including most of the Louies and Marie Antoinette. That'll be a stop next time I'm in Paris.

I headed to Musee d'Orsay first.  See that long line?  Eeeek.  While in line I did some quick math and decided to buy a 2-day Paris Museum pass. I'd be able to hit enough sites to get my money's worth, AND in most places there's a separate entrance for people who already have tickets.  It's much faster.

Once inside, whoa, this place is gorgeous.  I can see why some people prefer it over the Louvre.  It is a stunning building, inside and out.

Once I got over the building, I started to see some art.  Sometimes I get a little tired of art quickly, but I used Rick Steves' free audio guides to walk me through the best of the best.  It was really helpful.

Maybe it's cliche, but I loved Van Gogh.  Loved.

I love puzzles.  If this fit in my suitcase, I would've purchased one.  Maybe I can just get one on Amazon?

Lock up your love on this bridge and throw away the key.

Since I had the museum pass now, I ran over to the Musee de l'Orangerie just across the way.  No photos allowed, but it's the museum with all the huge Monets.  You know, the ones that take up the whole room like in these photos.

They also had a temporary exhibit about music and the arts, featuring Debussy, who I enjoy.

Okay, quick stop.  On to the Louvre!

This place is massive.  I knew I'd only make a dent.  There are several entrances, but I stuck with the popular pyramid one.  Down I go!

Rick Steves to the rescue again.  I only had about 3 hours and this place has 3 wings and even more floors.  Tough to tackle.

Venus de Milo.  Mr Steves told me some good facts about it.

So cloudy!  I'm glad we made it to Versailles on a sunny day.  Paris in June - not always delightful weather.

The former palace opened as a museum in the late 1700s during the French Revolution, right around the time my alma mater started in Washington, DC.  That sometimes blows my mind.  I don't always remember that those events line up together on the timeline.

Rick Steves was taking me through the Denon wing, mostly, and a little into the Sully wing.  I finally made it to the grand spectacle.  She's actually quite small!

Definitely the fullest room.  Mona is the only thing hanging on that far wall.

Remember when Napoleon crowned himself Emperor and had a painting commissioned to show it?  

It was nearly closing time, and I decided to run back over to the Champs Elysees to hike up the Arc now that I had a pass and could get in.  It was raining.  Oh well.

Up I go!  

Fifteen minutes later I was back on the move for a quick jump over to the Eiffel tower.  I remember going here in 2005, but I didn't ascend the thing.  Turns out I wouldn't ascend it on this trip either.

I had texted Becca earlier in the day with a meeting point near the Eiffel metro stop.  I got there a little early and waited under some trees to avoid the rain.  Soon, two guys who ran the nearby newstand came over to chat with me and before I knew it I was inside the news stand, charging my phone, and speaking Spanish, since they didn't speak English well.

We made plans to meet up after the newstand closed, but Becca and I got back there late and they were gone.  Oh well.  We were just having too much fun at the Eiffel Tower.

I wanted to wait for the sparkley lights to come, and they don't do that til it's dark which is right around 10pm.  So late for light!

Sparkley lights - check.  Plenty of photos - check.  Time to go home and eat something.  We settled for the kebab stand on the way home.  Ass doner, anyone?
Quick grocery store stop on the way home to replenish Mark's apartment supplies, and then we called it a night.  One more Paris day left!

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