Sunday, February 27, 2011

Paris day 3!

Saturday was our last day in Paris, and we decided to take the metro/train to go see Versailles. When we arrived it was rainy and wet, but we got tickets to see the inside of the castle. 

The inside was amazingly ornate. All the ceilings pretty much looked like this one with huge painting and gold on them.

The hall of mirrors.
 The king's bedroom. In both his and the Queen's bedroom there was a little fence dividing the room. I guess the court would go see the king wake up and go to bed. There was also a dining room where they would eat dinner in front of people. I would think this would be INCREDIBLY awkward, but I mean that's just me.
Queen's bedroom. The last queen to sleep here was Marie Antoinette.
 Outside in the gardens it was still pretty rainy, but I walked around for a while. Hannah and Kali decided they would rather go back to Paris and walk around where they could duck inside if they wanted to, but I wanted to stay. So I stayed and we decided on a time we would all meet back at the hostel. I took far too many pictures, so bear with me here. There are other ones I took on my video camera when I ran out of memory on my point and shoot, so I'll put those up later.

Later on the sun came out and it was really nice. If any of you have been to/know kinda the layout of the gardens there, there is basically a giant lake in the shape of a cross. I walked all the way around it. This last picture is from the far tip of it back towards the castle. I walked around for about 2 hours, most of which was spent going around this lake. Then I headed back to the hostel, got another crepe, and walked around that street looking at shop windows and things until it started raining again. Then I went back to the hostel, met Hannah and Kali, and we chilled for a while inside cause it was still raining. While we were waiting, England was playing France in rugby on TV, so Hannah taught me about rugby. It's a really fun game to watch, so that was cool. England won, so yay?
Anyway we soon headed back to the train station for the ride back into London. All in all a very successful weekend. I really loved Paris. 

Paris deux

On Friday we woke up early to take the metro to the Sacre Coeur. It is a beautiful church on top of a hill, so there is a really cool view of the city. Usually you can go up to the dome, but they were renovating it and it is closed until April. The inside was still really cool, and the view from the front was amazing. 

 Then we started walking towards the Eiffel Tower. Kali and I had ordered tickets in advance to go to the top at 2, so we had quite a while which was good because it took about 2 hours walking to get there. Along the way we stopped outside the Moulin Rouge. To get there we had to walk through what is essentially the red light district of Paris. There were some interestingly named shops.

 After a ton o walking, we arrived at the Eiffel Tower! We had grabbed some food at a grocery store along the way and picnic ed on a bench while we waited for our time to go up.
The view from the top was absolutely stunning.

 You could see all around the entire city. It was cool to see where we had walked that day and the day before all laid out.  Here is the Arc de Triomphe where we ended the day before.
And the Louvre.
 The church we were at in the morning. waaaaaaay in the distance. I'm really proud that we walked that far!

They had how far it was to major cities all over the world in the direction they were from the Eiffel tower.
 A better picture of the church from the second level.
Kali and I on the second level.
 You could walk up/down from the second floor to the ground and vise versa. There was no way in hell we were walking up, it is 704 steps and we had already walked enough that day thankyouverymuch. So we decided to walk down. It was cool, this is looking up the lift shaft to towards the top of the tower.
After we walked down, we met back up with Hannah, took an obscene number of pictures of us jumping in front of the Eiffel Tower, and headed over to the Louvre. If you go after 6 it is free, so naturally we got there right around 6.
 Here is the Mona Lisa!!!! You could take pictures as long as there was no flash (which I'm finding is the case in most museums in Europe). The Mona Lisa is really unimpressive in real life. It's surprisingly small. But still cool no?
The Louvre used to be a castle, they have the moat still in the basement, they just built on top of it.
 The Louvre at night.

You can see the Eiffel Tower and the Ferris wheel in the distance.
After we saw all we wanted to at the Louvre, we went back to the hostel and got savory crepes for dinner. Note: savory means anything that is not sweet, but its not salty either. So for crepes, sweet ones are, obviously, the kind with chocolate and savory are the ones that are actual meals. 
These crepes were amazing. so so good! Then we went and got this amazing ice cream and got a bottle of wine and hung out at the hostel and went to bed pretty early because we were getting up early the next morning to go to Versailles. 

PARIS! day one

This weekend I went to Paris with my friends Kali and Hannah. (have I mentioned Hannah? she goes to Queen Mary but studied abroad at Miami last year). Anyway we got up bright and early to catch out train over there. 
our hostel

 We then proceeded to walk towards the Louvre. Along the way we got crepes (so good!) and stopped to take a few pictures.
 This bridge is called Ponte des Arts. Its really cool, people put locks on it and throw away the key into the river to symbolize their everlasting devotion and whatnot. There were some really cool locks that people had decorated. But there were also locks that opened with a combination instead of a key. Clearly some people in the City of Love are keeping their options open.

 At the Louvre, we messed around for a while and probably confused a lot of people who didn't speak English by all taking our pictures so it looked like the water was coming out of our mouths. Classy no? We then walked through the park behind it, past a carnival they had set up, Cleopatra's needle, and along the Avenue des Champs-Elysees.
 loved this fountain.

  We got dinner at a little restaurant near the hostel and I tried snails! They were actually really tasty. There was a 3 course deal, so we all got 3 different courses and shared them, so in that meal I tried the snails, french onion soup, goat cheese salad, mussels, duck confit, creme brulee, chocolate mousse and peach tart. So French!
The view from our window, we were on the very top floor! It was quite the stair climb. The stairs were so narrow a spiral that I always got dizzy climbing up or down them.
Our loverly room. We shared a 10 people room, all the other people in it were very nice, although the walls were paper thin. 
Besides the fact that Hannah is one of my best friends, I was very glad that she was in Paris with us. Kali is in a beginner French class now, and all I know how to say it "thank you", "hello", and "I don't know". We would have been totally lost without her. (She took French throughout school, so she is semi-fluent. Girl also knows Arabic. Tri-lingual! How cool is that?)