Sunday, November 16, 2008

Tres, tres chic!

Bon soir! (I think I spelled that right!) I am back from an absolutely amazing trip to Paris. It is truly is the most romantic place imaginable. I recommend all you lads out there to take your honeys for a weekend get-a-way. It’s a gorgeous city that should really be explored while holding someone’s hand. Regardless of oceanic distances, my trip to Paris was simply splendid. International Friends, the touring company which now knows me my name, as they should, since I keep them in business, took us straight from the port in Calais to the Eiffel Tower, where we snapped some quick shots before jumping on a boat and cruising the Seine River at sunset. We docked after an hour of sailing, just as the Tower began to sparkle, as it does every PM hour, on the hour. With limited time to climb, we treated our calves (but not our wallets) to an elevator ride to the top of the tower and got a really breathtaking view of the Paris skyline. We were able to see the Arc de Triumphe from one side, and Sacre Coeur on the other. After a quick ride back to our hotel, Kathleen and I met up with some other Kent friends for our first Parisian meal, and in true French fashion, I bravely ordered and subsequently scarfed es cargot. They were scrumptiously full of butter and garlic, with a clammy texture and calamari-ey bite. (I’m so cultured.) I’d totally get ‘em again!

After a breakfast of Nutella filled crepes (I was naturally in heaven), our guide led us to Sacre Coeur, a Parisian church, circa 1920. Since all of the churches I’ve seen so far come from a far earlier period of time, it was nice to explore a domed church with more modern architecture. Sacre Coeur sits upon a hill, so after climbing 120 steps, the view of Paris was grand! Behind Sacre Coeur is Monmartre, a small artist’s colony. Strolling in and out of the painters’ stations was an experience in itself. While the hand painted varieties were a bit pricey, tourist shops sold some replicas, so I bought some nice art prints, in addition to some vintage Moulin Rouge advertisements. (Moulin Rouge means “Red Windmill.” Who woulda thunk?) After Monmartre, we actually walked past the famous Red Windmill and took some CanCan shots. How cutsey!

Notre Dame was the nest stop. It looks exactly like Westminster Abbey, but unlike Chaucer’s thankful gravesite, allows photography and had a college choir rehearsing as tourists explored the chapels and spire. Notre Dame sits on the trendy Latin Quarter, where we lunched on some traditional French onion soup, beef bourgione, and chocolate mousse. White wine (obviously) made an appearance, as well, and served as the prefect treat to an afternoon of sightseeing and shopping. I could not stop buying postcards! All French moments look better in black and white, I’ve decided. I bought enough black and white postcards to send one to everyone I love. However, I’ve spent about 30 pounds on sending postcards already, so that might not happen!

From the Latin Quarter, we made way for Champes Elysses and strolled in and out of Chanel. It was fantastic. I found a bag that I really like. It’s only 1,100 Euros. Not bad, right!? LC has it. Now all I need is my own reality show to fund the purchase, which shouldn’t be too bad now that I have the gift of gab and all! =)

After all of these trips, I’ve realized how exhausting traveling is, so I’m not embarrassed to say that by 10 PM, Kathleen and I were completely conked out. After all, a morning in the Louvre awaited us. The Louve (which followed another breakfast of Nutella filled crepes, a.k.a. Heaven on Earth) is frighteningly big place. It must take months to explore. Since we only had 3 hours, we booked right to Mona. She is one tiny painting! Nonetheless, it was awesome to view, and I’m glad I got to take in her traveling eyes. We also got to see the Venue di Milo, the Code of Hammurabi, and Michaelangelo’s Dying Slave. I can’t say I’m an art connoisseur, but it was a morning full of – albeit rushed – culture.

It’s back to the daily grind now, though. I’m off to Scotland on Friday at 3 AM, and have 2 papers of write before then. If anyone wants to chat economic impacts of acid rain, let me know. Au revior! :-* (←That’s a kiss to stay in spirit with my weekend. Parisians love showing love in the most public of places. That is, when they take a break from smoking for five minutes!)