Wednesday, August 22, 2012

European Extravaganza - Part V a - Paris

Dare I say that the first meal I had in Paris was McDonald's?  Pretty bad.  Tragic on several levels.

However, early morning flight, small breakfast, long walk through CDG, RER train, metro ride, and a walk to Mark's apartment as it started to rain = hunger and need for something close by. At least I tried different condiments?

I haven't seen Mark in a couple years, but his 'summer in Europe' was one of the motivations to book this trip.  Mark lives in NYC and is a college professor with summers off, sort of.  He apartment swapped with a couple in Paris for 6 weeks, and then another guy in Rome for 6 weeks.  He sent me a note as soon as his plans were decided back in April and told me I should come to Europe.

You don't have to tell me twice.  And here I am, in Mark's Paris apartment.  I think we kinda took the afternoon off since it was raining. Great time for a nap, although, yes, we are sort of wasting time in Paris.

As I write, Mark is 'finnishing' up his summer in Helsinki, St Petersburg, and Tallin.   

He went out to the market for fresh pasta and cooked us dinner.  What a great host.

Still tons of daylight in these northern cities, so Becca and I took off to explore for the evening.  First stop, Palais Garnier opera house.  The sky was just beautiful.

Some private event looked like it was going on, so we didn't go inside.  Pretty enough outside though!

The walk continued and I found some blue doors to love.

Walking, walking, walking.  I forgot just how stunning all the buildings are in Paris.  Truly amazing.  I kinda fell in love over those few days.  It'd be magical to live there for a year.  I'd really consider it.

I'd  been to Paris previously for the kick off trip of my New Years Eve travels, way back in 2005, though I really didn't remember much.  We only had 3 days, maybe, and it was cold, so this time in the summer, I kinda started over on the tourist attractions.

We made it to Champs Elysees and Arc de Triomphe.  See my scarf?  It was kinda cold.

We meant to stop at Laduree on the way home, but it was closing up.  I guess it was nearly midnight

I just adore those Metro signs.  Headed back home to Ménilmontant in the 10th.

Next day - tourist time.  Isn't this stunning?  Wow, Paris.  Hotel de Ville.

There's Notre Dame.  I didn't see a hunchback.

I went in, because I don't remember if I went in during my last trip.  Poor Becca, she was just in Paris last year, and again a couple years before that.  She is well versed in Paris tourism!  But she went in with me anyway, as this is sort of a must-see.

Oh, this is a terrible photo below and I don't know why, but I can think of a couple somethings that were missing on that timeline.

I think this side is definitely prettier.  And no one came back here!  Too bad for you.

The gates around Sainte Chapelle.  The line was terribly long.  We didn't go in.  At this point we started to debate purchasing the Paris museum pass, which helps get you to the front of long lines.

Down to the Latin Quarter.  Super great area.

We went shopping, and luckily were able to jump into shops just as the rain started to pour down.

Time to find some lunch.  The fondue options looked pretty great and reasonably priced.  I'm kinda bummed I didn't get any raclette on this trip.  Oh well.  Paris, I'll be back.

We picked one of the many, many restaurants on the block and started to eat.  This was some cheesy baked potato thing with bacon and it was delicious.  Perfect to warm us up - really it was kinda chilly.  Paris in the summer isn't always warm!  Los Angeles has spoiled me to the max.

Used books galore - in English!  Becca had more travel days ahead of her after France, and she needed something to pass the travel time.

More shopping.

Notre Dame, instagram'd.

Afternoon break - headed home.

Pastry stop.  One of many.

I desperately needed to do some laundry after two weeks on the road, and despite mostly figuring out what things said in French, the cycle would start, water rushed, and then it would just stop after a few minutes.  Turns out you have to close this metal hatch thing to make it spin?  Yeah, an hour later we figured that out.

Rewarded myself with a pastry.

Big Senegalese population in Mark's temporary neighborhood.  This place next door was bumpin' every night.

Something was going down in the Metro plaza.

To Sacre Coeur.  This I remembered from my last trip and definitely wanted to see again.  It's just beautiful and the view from the hill is great.

Becca found us some awesome jackets that day while we were out shopping.  I had to try out mine right away.  And it matched the cathedral!

There was a service going on, it was dark, I didn't really take any photos.

There was a concert on those steps.

One of the many guys who tries to sell you junk.  They are persistent!  Be ready to say no.

Becca and I came back down the hill to meet up with Mark, who was going to join us for dinner.

This lady cracked me up.

Trip Advisor steered us towards a pizza place on one side of the cathedral.  It was cozy and good, I think it was Babalou.

Back out in the was time to go home.

One more instagram...

On the walk home from the metro.

We almost went bowling.  Almost.

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