Paris 1 - Day 31
Paris Travel Blog› entry 19 of 30 › view all entries
The afternoon of August 23, saturday, we hopped on the train to go from Belgium to France. The train was packed, unlike any of our journeys on them so far. The Paris train station was equally packed, but we managed to extricate ourselves from the masses to find the metro. Guess what? It was packed. On the metro we followed the directions given us by our next host, Nicole. After walking a short way from the station we found her apartment, met her, and settled in. It was already early evening, and we were starving, but in France people don't usually eat until later at night (9-10ish, or later). But Nicole graciously fed us baguette and cheeses to tide us over, and after we relaxed for a while.
Later we metroed back into Paris' center with the intentions of finding food. Nicole had given us a guide book that included restaurant recomendations, so we tried to find one near the Bastille monument, but it was not at the printed address. Then we realized the guide book was from 1996, and therefore not to be trusted for restaurants. But another restaurant in the book was nearby, so we decided to chance it and try to find it. Voila! It was there, right down the tiny scary-looking alleyway it was supposed to be. I have no idea how anyone would normally find this place. But it was fun; we had cold melon soup and thin slices of beef as appetizers, then had little mini pizzas for the main course. It was delicious, but by the end it was near midnight, and we were pooped. Back to Nicole's place and to bed.
Next day we ate breakfast of bread and cheese with Nicole, and again headed back into Paris via metro. By the way, the Paris metro is awesome, you can get anywhere easily. Today was rainy, so we decided it was a good museum day. We headed to the L'Orangerie, a smaller museum near to the Louvre (where we bought 2-day museum passes for all the museums in Paris). This place is famous for being the home of Monet's waterlillies, and these were incredible. Most everyone recognizes these famous works from pictures, but to see them in person is much different. Each painting is perhaps 30 feet long, and about 5 feet tall, so they are long strips. The rooms that they are housed in are ovular in shape, with 4 paintings surrounding the center vantage point, and it creates a very panoramic effect. They are beautiful.
Next we had lunch of french onion soup (of course) and quiche at a small restaurant. The weather was starting to clear up, so then we wandered the streets for quite some time, admiring the beauty of the surroundings. One thing about Paris is that most of the buildings are from the 1700-1800s (I think), and were built with some serious style. Every doorway, window sill and rooftop is ornately carved stone, with many statues and other decoratives adorning each exterior. No matter where you go, everything is beautiful. Its really something to see.
Later in the afternoon we headed to the Louvre, Paris' (and possibly Europe's) most famous museum. This is where the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, and countless other world-famous works are housed. It is absolutely huge. Here we wandered for a bit, but were soon kicked out as it was closing at 6. Wandering the streets some more, we bought 2 souvenier-paintings of Paris sights, and then headed home. Here Nicole had made dinner of ratatouille, which was yummy, and then we walked around the neighborhood. Nicole lives on the outskirts of Paris, right next to Chateau de Vincennes. This was once a getaway castle for king Louis (not sure which one, but one of the crusade commisioners). We walked around the castle a while before heading to bed.