Paris...what can I say except that I would still be there if I a) didn't have any responsibilities and b) had a trust fund. But alas, neither are true. So, I'm in Jackson, MS. Pretty much the antithesis of Paris.
Moving was the usual nightmare, which we managed to do 2 days after we returned from Europe. Jeff's fellowship started last Monday and my post-doc started this week. I've been getting our new apartment settled and have been completely busy having a pity party for one.
But back to Paris. It was a dream. Everything is beautiful there. It's like they built the city with the intention of it looking like a jewel box. I just couldn't get enough of it and I wanted days to simply sit at a cafe and eat pastries, but that wasn't exactly Jeff's idea of a vacation. He's more of a "let's do absolutely everything we possibly can in the shortest period of time" type of person on vacation. But don't think it was all sightseeing and no eating. We ate our weight in gourmet food and traditional French fare each day, but hey we walked a million miles so it probably all evened out. So, without further ado, here are some of our highlights.
We hopped off the plane and headed to our hotel in the bohemian Latin Quarter. It was the perfect neighborhood for first time visitors as it sits in the middle of everything. Only a few short blocks from our hotel was the Pantheon, which we visited on our first morning in Paris:
Underneath the Pantheon, various famous Parisians are buried, including the famous female chemist, Marie Curie:
|Geeking out at Marie Curie's tomb|
Every block we passed on the way to various destinations held something unique to discover:
|Eiffel Tower in background|
|Cool gargoyles extending from a church|
|An art deco metro sign in the 6th district|
|One of the many "lock bridges" we stumbled upon|
Saint Chapelle and Notre Dame are close by each other on the Ile de le Cite (an island in the middle of the Seine) and both are beautiful in their own right- Notre Dame for its immense size and gothic architecture and Saint Chapelle for its stained glass windows that fill every wall.
|Notre Dame back view|
|Notre Dame Cathedral|
No trip to Paris would be complete without scaling the Eiffel Tower! So we arrived bright and early one day before it opened to get an early spot in line. Boy was it worth it.
|View from the top|
Can I just say this thing is huuuuuge (insert that's what she said joke here). You just don't get the immenseness of the Eiffel Tower until you're standing right up underneath of it.
But just as important to me as seeing the Eiffel Tower was a trip to the famous macaroon shop Laduree. I dragged Jeff across town for a trip to this location near the Champs Elysees and it was heaven:
We ate our treats that were almost too pretty to eat on the lawn in front of the Louvre with a view of the Eiffel Tower in the background. I mean, seriously? It doesn't get much better than that.
Speaking of the Louvre, we almost didn't go because of the sheer vastness of the museum and rumors that the overwhelming crowds would make it unbearable. But we just didn't feel like a trip to Paris would be complete without at least attempting to see some of its famous masterpieces. I'm so glad we went. Coming from a self-diagnosed claustrophobic, I would definitely say GO if you're ever debating whether it's worth the trip. It was incredible. I spent more time looking up at the ceilings than looking forward at the artwork. You have to remember that the Louvre was originally a palace, and all the over-the-top gilded wonderfulness remains. Not to say that the artwork wasn't incredible too, because it was. We saw the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, etc etc. It just blew my mind to think that people actually lived here though.
We spent our last morning relaxing in the Luxembourg Gardens before our flight to Rome. We had lunch at a cute outdoor cafe in the park and then gorged ourselves on an entire box of desserts we had picked up at a bakery along the way. Then we napped in the shade for awhile next to a bunch of locals. It was bliss.