Europe, France, Recent, Study Abroad, Travel
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Weekend in Paris: Part 1

Who knew a person could fit so much into basically 48 hours?

My flight from Minnesota to Paris was supposed to leave at 5:51, and right around 5:50 the captain came on and announced that whatever the thing that measures the fuel in a plane was malfunctioning—so even though we knew we had enough fuel, we were not allowed to go across an ocean without the device working. They said they might have the part in stock and we would probably have a 30 minute delay. About 15 minutes later we were told that they would be flying the part in from Atlanta and that we needed to get off the plane while we waited a couple hours. Of course, not long after that we learned that the plane from Atlanta had to turn back because of high winds, so our Plan C was to get back on the plane around 9:00pm and fly to New York, where we would acquire the piece before taking off again and continuing on to Paris.

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It all worked out in the end, but I ended up getting to Paris and my hotel about 6 hours late—which meant my friend Kelly spent the morning going to the Louvre as we had planned, only she went solo. More than ready to be outside an airport, as soon as I got to the hotel and we happily reunited we basically dumped all our things in the room and headed right back out to go exploring. Since we were now down to Friday night, Saturday and Sunday in Paris, we needed to make the most of our night—even though it was nearly 4:30 by the time we left the hotel.

**Check out my video for the first part of my weekend in Paris here! Everything in the video is described in greater detail in the blog, but sometimes its fun to watch it while it happens!

Luckily for us, our hotel is right in the middle of all the good stuff, and we walked up Champes Elysesses and to the Arc de Triomphe before meandering about some off streets in search of dinner and then over to the Eiffel Tower.

We hadn’t super planned to do those things on Friday, but it actually worked out perfectly, because we ate dinner at a normal American time, which meant we got to the Eiffel Tower just as the sun was beginning to set. We sat there in the grass opposite the river from the Eiffel Tower and watched as the sky went from pastel pink and blue to the deep navy of nightfall, and the Eiffel Tower go from its serious metal hue to vibrantly lit by red, yellow and black lights in honor of the recent attacks in Brussels.

I never thought I would have been able to stay awake so long, but between the walking, good food, and catching up on everything that has happened in the last few months, the night passed quickly and easily.

For some mysterious reason, my phone service includes not only international texting but also international data—which is simultaneously the most fantastic thing I have ever heard and completely terrifying because I am still doubtful that my stupid phone plan has free unlimited international data, even though I talked to the company before leaving and received a text message with the same information as soon as I landed. Anyway. Having a working cell phone means I am able to use Google Maps and stay connected to all my friends scattered all over the world, and for once I don’t have to hold it in all day and let it out in bursts once I get to a café with wifi or back to my hotel room.

Saturday our main plan was getting to Notre Dame in the morning, since it was at the top of my Paris To-Do List and I was worried that going on Easter Sunday would be a mistake. Notre Dame is actually located on a little island thing in the middle of the Seine River, and for whatever reason I just love that whole area of Paris. There seem to be an abundance of quirky cafes and that section of the Seine is also particularly picturesque to walk along.

Kelly and I got to Notre Dame around 10:00am and took a bunch of pictures before getting in the long line for the entrance. I thought it would take at least 30 minutes to get in based on the size of the line, but since the line was only to get through minimal security and nobody needed to buy tickets, we probably only waited 15 minutes.

I knew Notre Dame would be beautiful, but seriously…wow. The ceilings seem impossibly high, there is amazing stained glass everywhere, the arches and pillars throughout the entire church are completely magical, and the multitude of large metal chandeliers give the gothic architecture a hint of elegance.

I would not consider myself a particularly religious person, but I could spend days in that church. I did my best to equally try to take good pictures and also to simply exist and take everything in without my eye to my camera, and I would definitely say that while my pictures turned out okay it is nothing compared to the majesty of the real thing. If you are in Paris I highly recommend going—there is seriously nothing bad about the experience: its free, its easily accessible, its in a great area with many places to walk and eat, the lines aren’t long and you could easily spend as little or as much time there as you like.

After Notre Dame, we crossed to the opposite side of the river from which we came originally and meandered our way over to the 1st arrondismonte and the Saint Germaine area. This is where we decided to eat lunch, and after that we continued to wander around—it’s a great area filled with not only cafes and restaurants but also small galleries and shops. After wandering around we decided that if we were on House Hunters International we would ask our realtor to find us an apartment in that district.

One of the deciding factors for me was the presence of a Laduree shop and restaurant. Macarons for days. Its been a year since I was last at Laduree, and it was my first time to see the Yuko Higuchi art in person, which I loved. (Yes, yes, I am so far gone into nerd territory here it is not even funny).

Considering the amount of time we had left in our day, we decided to walk by the Louvre on our way over to the Musee de l’Orangerie, which was only about a 10 minute walk from our hotel.

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The line for the Musee de l’Orangerie was not incredibly long, but it was a much longer wait than I was expecting. There was a very small entrance with only one line for fairly intense security, and then you had to buy your tickets after that (if you didn’t already have them). What we realized while in line was that there were actually two lines—and that the line of people who got tickets in advance had preference for entering first, which made the line for people without tickets a longer wait than it would have been normally. This information I discerned by listening in on the conversation the two Japanese girls in front of me were having—the joy of knowing multiple languages, you can eavesdrop on everyone. 😛

The museum is small, but it was worth it just to see the two rooms of Monet’s water lilies alone! There are two separate oval rooms, each with four massive water lily paintings and benches in the middle so you can just sit there forever and stare at them. We went through the entire museum in about 45 minutes, so it was the perfect evening activity before dinner.

DSC_0705Dinner ended up being sandwiches we took to go and ate on a park bench while people watching and once again watching the sun set on a distant Eiffel Tower. While we were hunting down food for dinner we stopped in several pastry shops, because, well have you met me? That is just what I do. But also Kelly wanted to get some things for friends and family back home since she is leaving this week.

Our first pastry store stop was at Pierre Herme, where I got three macarons from his Spring-Summer 2016 collection. Unfortunately they suffered some damage in my bag, but oh my god were they delicious. I know I should expect the unexpected with his confections, but the Matcha + Toasted Sesame Macaron was completely unique from anything I have ever eaten, and the Burnt Butter Caramel was so much more intense from any caramel flavored macaron I have ever tried. Baking goals. Seriously.

**If you forgot or didn’t get a chance to watch the video version of this post, check out the link here:

Thanks for reading/looking/watching! Part 2 of my weekend in Paris, followed up by blogs on my so-far-amazing vacation in Nice, France!

 

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