Day 6: Paris

Paris Travel Blog

 › entry 7 of 7 › view all entries
Orangerie Museum - Monet

Our final day in Paris will never be forgotten. It's difficult to forget being pepper-sprayed by the police no? But more on that later…

 

We took the day at a relaxed pace, visiting the Orangerie impressionist museum in the late morning and then wandering through a well regarded French neighborhood in the afternoon.

 

The museum was very beautiful. Monet is my favorite impressionist and the Orangerie was built in consultation with him to specifically to house his final works- large panoramic paintings of his gardens at various points of day. Sadly, he died before the museum was finished but his work remains on display for all the world to remember him.

Orangerie Museum - Monet
The paintings are so beautiful they brought me to tears. I felt so privileged to stand before them. To see his gardens through his eyes is to see a bit of his soul put into them.  Aside from the main Monet exhibits, the museum has several other small wings of impressionist pieces. I took pictures of my favorites to share with you all.

 

Once we were finished at the Orangerie we made our way to the Rue Cler Arrondesment. This neighborhood is well known for their culinary shops and cafes so it is a requirement of course for all epicureans to visit.  The seafood shop blew me away. I've never seen live shrimp or crabs at a seafood market. I was so impressed I took not only photos, but a video of the shrimp and crabs dancing about. We popped in and out of several food shops- the butchers, the oil and vinegar shops (picked up some lovely Balsamics and olive oils from Italy), the wine stores, the produce market, and as expected, the stinky cheese shops (picked up a nutty hard french cheese to bring back to the states).

Orangerie Museum
We had a quick lunch at a Chinese café in the midst of all the window shopping and it was lovely. I've never seen anyone order Chinese food in French before.

 

By the afternoon we were ready to go back to the hotel and rest for a few hours before the New Year's Eve festivities were scheduled to begin.

 

For the evening adventure, we decided to participate in the big celebration on the Champs Elysees, having heard that it was akin to Times Square but less aggressive and with a lot more champagne and liquor being consumed on the public street. First we attempted to do dinner at Chez Clemont again only to find their regular 30E menu was jacked up to one hundred and fifty euros.

Rue Cler fresh (live) crab
Mind you they didn't change the menu, just raised the price for NYE. Crazy. Every restaurant or café we dropped into was the same way. We finally found a family pizza joint that was only adding a 10E charge onto their regular menu instead of raising the prices 5 time over. So we ate there. But Tracy was less than thrilled I think to discover they had horse on the menu. By now everyone's nerves were a little frayed. We were tired. It had been an adventure packed week. And we were hungry.

 

After dinner we ventured over to the Champs Elysees to find a relaxing spot to watch the scene from a block away. Not possible. All the cafes were closed for the holiday evening round the street. So we had to stand outside in the cold with everyone else for at least an hour or more waiting for the celebration to get going.

Jon, Jenni, Tracy, Valerie on Champs Elysees New Year's Eve
And then boy, did it ever. Everywhere you turned there were bottles of champagne, smiling faces, cheering and dancing. I've never seen anything like it in the States. We took a deep breath as the fireworks began over the Arc de Triomphe. The first few were lovely. And then….nothing. People began to get restless. We heard the firework sounds go off again and again, but no lights- it seems there were some sort of mechanical problems with the fireworks. All the noise but not of the sparkle. The youth seemed to get agitated and the next thing you know they were shouting and running down the street like the bulls in Spain. The police behind us began to shout "Get back get back, stampede" (but in sexy French of course). We tried to stick together as we raced off the street and onto the sidewalk, passing through a cloud of pepper spray on the way.

 

Our eyes burned, our throat burned, Valerie asked over and over "Are we going to die?" and I realized Jonathan was missing.

Champs Elysees New Year's Eve
He must have gotten separated in the crowd. I panicked a bit. Jon has asthma - what if he got sprayed dead on in the face? Or got trampled? We had to press ourselves against the storefront entrances at least once and run down the sidewalk a bit once as well as the police made a circle of themselves, back to back, with their riot gear ready in their hands as screaming college-aged youngsters ran down the street like lemmings. Scary stuff (but exhilarating too). Finally, after about an hour of searching for Jon, we gave up and hoped he had headed back to the hotel room and cautiously made our way across the street through the broken glass and drunken revelers to the metro.

 

We got back to the hotel and found Jon there. An unforgettable evening indeed.

 

The cherry on top of the whole trip was that as a Delta Elite Frequent Flier (having reached 25k miles flown in 2008) I was upgraded to First Class on the transatlantic Air France flight home.

Champs Elysees New Year's Eve
Four course meal on fine china, seats that fully recline, fluffly blankets, free liquor….heaven. I didn't want to move without Jon (he wasn't eligible for upgrade) but my gallant prince insisted I enjoy the luxury. And I did.

 

Our first trip to Europe. Definitely not our last.


Note: make sure to check out the 3 videos I filmed on NYE on the Champs Elysees from the picture list below. In addition, to get a real feel for the mini-riot that evening copy and paste in your browser this link to a clip another attendee filmed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyWAzPXJDmA&feature=related

 

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Orangerie Museum - Monet
Orangerie Museum - Monet
Orangerie Museum - Monet
Orangerie Museum - Monet
Orangerie Museum
Orangerie Museum
Rue Cler fresh (live) crab
Rue Cler fresh (live) crab
Jon, Jenni, Tracy, Valerie on Cham…
Jon, Jenni, Tracy, Valerie on Cha…
Champs Elysees New Years Eve
Champs Elysees New Year's Eve
Champs Elysees New Years Eve
Champs Elysees New Year's Eve
Champs Elysees New Years Eve
Champs Elysees New Year's Eve
Orangerie Museum - Monet
Orangerie Museum - Monet
Jenni w/ Orangerie Museum - Monet
Jenni w/ Orangerie Museum - Monet
Orangerie Museum - Monet
Orangerie Museum - Monet
Orangerie Museum
Orangerie Museum
Orangerie Museum
Orangerie Museum
Orangerie Museum
Orangerie Museum
Orangerie Museum
Orangerie Museum
Rue Cler fresh fish
Rue Cler fresh fish
Rue Cler fresh lobster tails
Rue Cler fresh lobster tails
Rue Cler fresh (live) lobsters
Rue Cler fresh (live) lobsters
Rue Cler neighborhood
Rue Cler neighborhood
Rue Cler fresh seafood
Rue Cler fresh seafood
Rue Cler fresh seafood
Rue Cler fresh seafood
Rue Cler fresh Turbot
Rue Cler fresh Turbot
Tracy dans le Metro
Tracy dans le Metro
Valerie dans le Metro
Valerie dans le Metro
Jon and Jenni on Champs Elysees Ne…
Jon and Jenni on Champs Elysees N…
Champs Elysees New Years Eve
Champs Elysees New Year's Eve
I've no idea what language these …
My chat with a drunken reveler fr…
Footage from NYE 2008 on the Cham…
Look at this little guy!
Paris
photo by: Sweetski