Paris was the first big city I visited EVER. Denver was large around 2010, but nothing like the scale and scope of Paris. I was in such awe of everything that I witnessed that my eyes were probably the size of dinner plates as I explored the city.
I remember the emotions I felt so vividly and moments I stopped to really take in the city as an almost dream-like magic. Perhaps that is everyone’s first take on Paris. Regardless, the experience changed me and set me up for the rest of my travels in a better way than I thought possible.
ROAD TRIP TO PARIS
April 15th 2010
Stuttgart, Germany (back from Paris)
Last night we rolled back into Stuttgart about 1:30am from a beautiful, mind blowing and extremely fun trip to Paris. We drove which made it my first European road trip and first road trip in about two years so it was very fun.
I’ll start with our first day out, we left Sunday morning around 11am and headed for the french boarder. Crossing the Reine River (or what we could guess) and then heading into the Alsace region of French. Which is essentially a mix between German and French influences, even the language is an interesting mix between the two. About a 6 hour drive turned into about 7 1/2 hours one we hit the terrifying roads of Paris. Now I knew that the Parisians drove psychotic, but how psychotic I had no idea! I promise you that Carol will NEVER drive in Paris again and I will never ever! At points where their were no defined lines there were 2-8 random lanes that people were driving in, including meandering into the other lane, It was absolute chaos! Never to be ventured into again that’s for sure. However, getting to see little nooks and beautiful buildings coming in was wonderful! But we avoided accident and death and made it to our little hotel just fine! We found our little place in the suburb of Paris called Suresnes Mont-Valerian a few small rooms attached to a fancy restaurant. With quaint gardens and grape vines. “Les Gardins de Camille” was the name of it and it was a very lovely place with great beds, wonderful breakfasts, and our lovely hostess! After checking in, charging the camera, changing clothes, freshening up and putting on makeup we hit the town! We walked to the train station down the hill admiring the 300 year old homes in our little area and from a little distance we had a beautiful of the Eiffel Tour! We then caught our train into the city and switched to the metro and finally arrived at Tracadero station and walked out to see the beautiful lit up Eiffel Tour! That’s when it all hit me, I was actually in PARIS!!! Something that I had dreamed of my entire life of seeing and here I was in this gorgeous city! This was my first moment of almost being in tears from so much excitement and happiness! We then ran around and enjoyed this icon of Paris! The perfect first night in the city!
After having our fun and fill on crepes and Panini we hoofed it back to the train and almost didn’t make it to the last one going back to the hotel and thus didn’t arrive at the hotel until about 1am. We then awoke about 7 and had breakfast delivered about 7:30am and were soon off to the the Louvre. Which was so exciting to walk around this age old piece of work and just get chills at their beauty! I of course saw the Mona Lisa, being I am such a Da Vinci fan it brought tears to my eyes. There I was standing in the same room with a painting he did and not to mention the other 1 or 2 we passed on our way there. I was overjoyed! We saw a handful of other famous pieces and the statue of Eros and Psyche which was amazing. I must say that I shall be returning to the Louvre another time to truly take it all in how I should.
We then got back on the metro and we’re off to Notre Dame the 12th century cathedral known the world over! Which was wonderful to see! I very much look forward to being able to compare Notre Dame to those churches I will be seeing soon in the future! After Notre Dame we took a quick stroll through the Latin Quarter which I believe I fell madly in love with. We then went into the Cluny Museum or the Museum of Medieval history which I was just blown away by all the pieces of art in pristine condition. Some things were almost 2,000 years old and only looked about 50 or 100 years old. To be perfectly honest I think it was my favorite museum and sight out of the whole city. It was simply magnificent and really made the trip!
After the Cluny museum we took the metro to Montmartre, the district of artists or at least at the turn of the last century! Touristy little shops dotted the hill as we walked to the Sacre Coeur. I found the coolest posters and the perfect Charlie Chaplin sign in french! The french LOVE Charlie Chaplin, as I do, I saw many items and movies of his, at a variety of places, making me love the French even more for our shared passion! I also didn’t receive odd looks for my giddy squeals of delight to see items in reference to him.
At the Sacre Coeur we avoided the bracelet people that drive everyone crazy though they tried many times to grab our arms! One called me Laura, which I wasn’t sure about, but though that was all very annoying the view from the top was wonderful! It was all worth it getting to stand in that sweet little slice of Paris!
After the Sacre Couer we went to find the Moulin Rouge also in Montmartre, and by George we did! All three of us now wish to eventually go see a show there. The men at the front gave us pamphlets encouraging just that. Now I had an odd wish when I came to Paris, I wanted to try Absinthe! Not that I wanted to drink to drink it was the sort of romantic idea of Absinthe in Paris just to try it for the sake of trying it and what better place? I didn’t however think that I would luck out on having it in Montmartre let alone that we found it in the cafe/bar right across the street from the Moulin Rouge! I was absolutely silly about it but it made for awesome photo opportunities and a wonderful time! I actually did like Absinthe a very licorice tasting drink and no I did not see the “green fairy”.
After our touristy Absinthe stop we went to the Hard Rock Cafe Paris, Fallon’s choice for the evening. It was a pleasant meal and then afterward a quick trip to a Virgin records (which are now gone in the U.S.) was a calming time before heading back to our room. Making another interesting night finding trains and making sure we could get home, it led to much laughing later at our foibles and panics and I sum it up to all part of my adventure.
The next morning we had a later start, too tired from our late nights and mass sight seeing. We then headed out to Versailles to see the magnificent playground of Louis XIV. I adored it, especially because of my love of Marie Antoinette, who I find a fascinating historical character. It was an odd sense to walk around the same halls as not only the royal family but artists like Moliere. Who’s portrait hung in a room with other many artists and writers. After exploring the palace we went into the gardens and got the train to the Trianon’s and Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet and I was very surprised at the small farms that dotted the gardens. It added this unique charm and beauty that you wouldn’t expect, because what you think of Versailles are these 800 acres of manicured gardens all fancy and proper. The hamlet was likely my favorite because it was built for Marie Antoinette, her desired buildings and little farm. However it was an almost somber event because many of the buildings were in horrible disrepair and will eventually fall to ruin. After Versailles we went back to the city for a river cruise in the Seine; a lovely was to end the trip in Paris.
The next morning we slept in, ate breakfast got ourselves packed and then headed in a different direction around Paris. In the early afternoon we stopped in the Champagne region near Reims and went on a champagne cellar tour for Moet & Chandon, where it was finished with a glass of champagne. Interesting bits of information about the winery are that it was well loved by Louis XIV, Marie Antoinette and Napoleon. They still even have a large cask given to the winery by Napoleon in the early 1800’s. We then headed back to Germany, not arriving back at home until almost 2am where we then crashed.
That’s all there is on Paris, toodles until my next adventure!
Peace and Love,
Rebecca The Border sign