Thursday, September 24, 2009

Paris Day 2

On the second day of our stay in Paris we got up fairly early and enjoyed a nice shower. Ellis went out to the bakery to grab some delicious croissants for breakfast. After a tasty breakfast we set off to see more sites but then were quickly distracted by a local street market one block from the hotel. There were fresh fruits and vegetables, coats, bags, jewelry, and CHEESE! Of course we went a little crazy with the cheese. We got brie, and three others that we had no idea what they were called. Alexia also got a necklace made garnets and silver for cheap. We also bought some strawberries and a peach. Ellis tried on a gorgeous leather suit jacket but it was too expensive and a little bit too shiny for Seattle. We bought another bottle of wine at a wine shop (5€) as well.

We took all of our goodies back to the hotel and had lunch of a baguette, the CHEESE, wine, and the strawberries. The CHEESE was AMAZING. All of it! The strawberries were wonderful too; they tasted like candy. The strawberries were different than the ones they sell in the States. These were tiny strawberries, like wild ones, perfectly ripe and bursting with flavor. Best strawberries either of us have ever had.

After having our little foodgasm, we set off for the Eiffel Tower. We had a couple other places we wanted to stop along the way as well, so we set off. We started off walking down Boulevard St Germaine. This is the main road through the Latin Quarter which is where we were staying. This road is lined with all sorts of shops. Everything from super high end clothing shops (more on that in a bit) to tiny little cafes and convenience stores. We were feeling completely underdressed and so we set off to find some new clothes so that we could look more like the locals. It was quite interesting. Everyone there is very well dressed. Most men wear suits, or at least slacks and a shirt. Even delivery truck drivers were wearing shirts and ties and nice pants.

We found a couple cool shops with clothes within our budget, but nothing in there really called out to us. For kicks, we went into one of the high end shops to try stuff on. To give you an example of their stuff, a Hugo Boss suit at 850€ was their budget suit. Alexia was looking at the coats and found a couple nice ones, but they weren't quite right until she found "the one". It was a gorgeous felted cashmere grey coat and it fit perfectly. Only problem was it was 690€ which is was more than out of our price range. You could buy another plane ticket for that kind of money. Alexia just wished she had a million dollars and then we went off on our way.

We window shopped in a few more places and then visited the Hotel des Invalides. It was built in the 1600s as a hotel for the soldiers that were injured in the name of France as well as veterans. Part of it was still being used as this and the rest was a museum of war. We got in for free with our ISIC cards and went through the whole thing. They had an exhibit on armor from the medieval ages on and two elaborate exhibits on WWI and WWII. After that we headed to see Napoleon's tomb, also in the hotel, under the large golden dome. There were several tombs there; some were of people we heard of (Napoleon) and others we hadn't. They were huge granite structures, carefully carved, and set in various large rooms in the domed area. Intricate paintings, carvings, and stained glass decorated the ceilings and walls. On our way out of the Museum we saw the area where they kept the wounded soldiers. It was forbidden for tourists to enter. It was nice to see that this country cared for their wounded and veterans as such. The hotel was very well kept.

After the hotel we set off for the Eiffel Tower. We could see it above the buildings so we knew where to go. We stopped at a sandwich shop along the way to grab a bite to eat since it was almost dinner time. We had a sandwich with composed of a baguette, ham, and butter. It was simple but delicious! After that we stumbled the rest of the way to the Eiffel Tower. By this point we had walked 8 km so far and our feet hurt a lot. The Eiffel Tower was beautiful. It was built in 1889, but had some refurbishments along the way of course. The elevators were essentially original except for the automation. We decided to go all the way to the top.

We got to the top and you could see everything! Miles and miles! And Paris went for miles and miles! We didn't realize just how big Paris really was. We went to all corners and took lots and lots of pictures. Then we had a celebratory toast of champagne, because all though cheesy, we had made it to the top of Paris and had worked really hard to get there. After that we continued site seeing and then realized "Paris is the city of lights!" We had to see the city at night. It was 6:00 then… and sunset was at 8:30. So we camped out on the top of the Eiffel Tower for 3 hours, well maybe more with all the picture taking and the trip down. We watched the sun set and slowly watched the city light up one street lamp at a time. We also saw the Eiffel Tower light up. Once we had seen Paris in all its nightly glory we decided to head down and make the long trek back home. The Eiffel Tower sparkled on our tip down with tiny little strobe lights everywhere. Since it was just after 9 pm we thought it must light up on the hour, but we were too tired and hungry to wait until 10. We snapped some photos of the Tower at night and headed home.

It was very dark on the way home, we were starving, and our feet were killing us, but it was completely worth it. We walked back toward the hotel and found a cool little restaurant about halfway back. This was our first time eating out at a proper restaurant in Paris and we were quite excited. Ellis ordered the beef tartare, which was the first time he'd had it, and Alexia had the veal. The meal was very good, and afterward we made our way back to the hotel and collapsed.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you're having the times of your lives! Fantastic. I'm hungry just reading about your culinary adventures.

    Love the tale of the 250 euro jacket. Reminds me of being at the flea market in Paris with Nelson. We were looking at leather jackets, and the vendor asked us (in French) what had brought us to Paris. I explained (in rusty French) that my husband had recently passed away, and I decided to bring my sons to Paris. The vendor asked me when my husband died, and instead of saying a year ago, I said "an hour ago." I'm sure you can imagine the look of astonishment on the vendor's face! And when I realized what I had said, we all dissolved into laughter.

    Enjoy Paris -- one of my favorite places on the planet! And keep up the blogging. I'm enjoying every minute of it.