Sunday, September 25, 2011

crêpes for dinner

paris. ummmmm. paris. don't really know where to start, so i guess i'll start where i left off. at the airport in charlotte.

we finally left at around 8:30pm and flew across the pond to charles de gaulle airport in paris. i got to watch some great movies with their on demand. something borrowed (a book i loved) and water for elephants (a book i loved more). they were both cute..not as good as the books, but when are they ever? we were supposed to sleep as much as we could on the plane, but my seat wouldn't recline as much as i wanted to, it was cold, and my pillow sucked. i probably slept an hour the whole flight. when we got to paris it was 10:30 in the morning. we had to stay up allllll day (again). we got our bags and started to try to navigate our way around the airport. france is a silly country and the airport doesn't have free wifi. we couldn't pull up the address to our hostel and of course neither me or my sister thought to write it down. we found the RER B to take us to gare du nord, and from gare du nord we were supposed to take the 2 line to sacre coeur...or so we thought. we both thought our hostel was really close to there, but we were so so wrong. after dragging our suitcases and carry on bags through the streets and train stations of paris for almost 3 hours we finally decided to just take a taxi. we got to our hostel a little bit after 1:30 and skyped with our parents (it was 7:30am in charlotte). the 6 hour time difference has been something in and of itself to adjust to.

oh, i forgot to mention! our french stunk. we had such a hard time communicating..looking back i'm going to blame it on exhaustion.

we took a nap (even though we weren't supposed to) and then got up and walked around near the hostel. we're staying at st. christophers inn right along a canal that leads to the seine. it's a great place, highly highly recommend staying here if you're ever in paris (or any other city where they might have a location). we got our first french meal..a baguette with chèvre, tomatoes, and was most delicious. we walked along the canal, sat along the river, then came back to the hostel and had a few beers. we met some wonderfully friendly scottish people and hung out with them for the rest of the night.

we got up on friday and decided to conquer the louvre and the eiffel tower. we got lost on our way to the metro station..the first of many many times getting lost. we finally found the stalingrad station, bought a bunch of metro tickets and got on the 2 to head to the louvre. we took some pictures of the pyramids then decided to just walk to the tower and we would go to the louvre later. the walk from the louvre to the tower was not short. it was long. very long. but it was beautiful and we only started complaining when we got hungry. solution: un patisserie et boulangerie for another baguette sandwich. we ordered then walked the rest of the way and ate on a bench at the bottom of the tower. the lines to take the elevators up the tower are so long, so we decided to take the stairs. 669 stairs (equivalent to 43 stories). holy tired. but SO worth it. the view was breathtaking. we walked back down and got an ice cream (une glace) and ate it on the lawns looking towards the tower. we took a nap and sat for a while, then got up and walked along the seine to find dinner. we ate at a café. it was good, but we decided not to do that again. we found our way to the metro and headed home.

every day we've had has been long and tiring but we managed to space everything out nicely so we haven't felt rushed. yesterday morning we woke up, showered and got ready and came down to the café/bar attached to the hostel, watched a bit of rugby and had lunch. my first croque monsieur this trip and it was so yummy. so yummy i may have that for lunch again tomorrow since my mouth is watering now just thinking of it. we went and ran errands. we got french cell phones, went to gare du nord to buy my train ticket for tomorrow, then to saint lazarre station to buy cari's and to be sure we knew where to go as to not miss our trains. from saint lazarre we went to sacre coeur, montmatre, and le moulin rouge. sacre coeur and montmatre are not as high as the eiffel tower, but it's breathtaking to look over the city from higher up. we did lots and lots of walking and climbing more stairs. on our way home from the moulin rouge we stopped at a pizza place just down the street from our hostel and had a homemade pizza. ham, mushrooms, and cheese. i don't remember ever having a more yummy pizza..well, maybe when i was in italy after high school..but this one is a very very close second.

this morning we decided to get a bit of an earlier start so we could see everything except the musée d'orsay (which we'll do tomorrow before we leave). we had breakfast at the hostel and were out the door by 10:30. first stop was the louvre (for real this time). we got our tickets and walked all around the museum. i don't even know where to start with how many amazing things we saw. the statues are so lovely and i cannot believe how the artists were able to make them so detailed. we of course saw the mona lisa, venus de milo, winged victory, and the sphynx, but there was so much more and it was all incredible. after a few hours in the louvre we went to find the arc de triomphe. we got lost. again. really really lost this time. well, not THAT lost, we just walked the wrong direction..for at least 2 miles. we found our way to ave champs elysées and made it to the arc. it was huge. and beautiful. and huge. then we took the metro to notre dame, which was also huge and beautiful. we caught a little bit of mass while we were there, i am not catholic, but the hymns were lovely. when we left we found a crêperie right outside of the cathedral and had crêpes with nutella and banana for dinner. we're allowed to do these things because we walk so much during the day it cancels it out. after our dinner we took the metro back home and here i sit in the café at the hostel.

i packed my suitcase for tomorrow, had a chocolat chaud, and am getting ready to head up to bed. we're going to the musée d'orsay tomorrow morning before we have to leave. my train leaves gare du nord at 16h 58 and i'll arrive in lille at 18h. the principal of my school is coming to pick me up from the train station and i'll stay with him and his wife tomorrow.

more to come from lille in a few days once i get settled in my dorm/flat/studio/wherever it is i'll be living.

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