Monday, August 24, 2015

Europe Trip 2015 (pt. 8 Paris)

06-09-2015 - 06-19-2015

Summer and Linsey excited to see Sacre Couer
We spent a lovely 2 weeks in Italy. We didn't experience the usual post-trip depression quite yet, because Paris was the main course! Thus, why I may split Paris into a couple of posts. I'll describe the dynamics of the trip, and then talk about our cool experiences! I'll possibly cover culture in a different blog post.


We met up with my family at the CDG Paris airport after a short 2 hour flight from Rome. Their journey had been considerably more exhausting, coming straight from Salt Lake City, Utah. My parents took care of many of the details such as, booking a house on AirBnb, booking the taxi ride from the airport, etc... 
Our new house for the next 10 days was quite excellent! It was roomy, charming, and close to many essentials, such as a boulangerie (bakery), Carrefour (a French Wal-Mart style store), Metro station, and more.

Family Reunion
We ate some amazing things in Paris. We didn't eat in fancy restaurants for every meal. Many of the amazing things we got from the grocery store. Every morning, we ate Tahitian style, but with French items. We always got fresh baguettes, pain au chocolait, and croissants from one of our local bakeries. We always had fresh spreadable cheeses, pates, nutella, jams, and butter to spread. My dad's personal touch is that we had Coke zero for every meal. While it was quite delicious and memorable, it led to us leaving the house late everyday! That's okay though. While we had to blitz through Italy's iconic cities in only a couple of days each, we had almost 2 weeks to enjoy Paris, the city of love. This was nice, and made it more relaxing. We used the Metro and our own two feet to get everywhere. 

The sights:

I kept a great travel journal in Italy. In Paris, I was a little lazy, so I don't remember what we did, what days. So I'll just post my favorite photos and describe what's going on!
Guaranteed to come often and packed!

Notre Dame:

On our first day, we went to the center of Paris, and headed for the iconic Cathedral of Notre Dame. I was so excited to be at the scene of one of my beloved childhood Disney movies! I'd get to see the very square that Quasi Moto filled with hot lava to kill the evil Claude Frollo! Along the way, we passed the Hotel De Ville, which is the building that houses the city's local administration. You're able to climb to the top of many buildings in Paris. It was one of my favorite parts, well worth the small fees. We climbed to the top of Notre Dame and saw the gargoyles, and the bell tower.
Hotel de Ville
Notre Dame from the outside.
My camera has great aperture, which means great church photos. But, this image doesn't quite do the stained glass justice. It is amazing to see in real life! 
A scary but fascinating facade!
A breathtaking but safe view of the city from Notre Dame
The dreaming gargoyle, admiring the beautiful city.
The bell tower

Eiffel Tower:

We then proceeded to walk along the River Seine, towards the Eiffel Tower. It looked so close on a map, and it didn't seem too far in the distance. While it was quite the adventure to walk so many miles, we were quite exhausted when we arrived! We came to unanimous consensus to start using the Metro to get around the city. The Eiffel Tower was much bigger than I thought it would be! It was originally planned to be twice as tall. We went up to the first and second level. We weren't able to go to the very top until a different date, because they stopped taking people up after a certain time. It sparkles on the top of every hour after dusk. It was quite awesome!
It was very romantic...
Then it became even more romantic.
The view was superb!


One of the days, we went to see the catacombs! The lines were long, but nowhere in comparison to the other sights. Millions and millions of bones were used to create patterns. Paris ran out of room in the graveyards, so they took out the remains and stored them down here. It gave me mixed feelings. In one sense, it felt macabre, creepy, and sinister. In another, it made you feel that life is short. We really are just dust in the wind. It made you think that each of the skulls belonged to somebody like you and I. It made me wonder who they were, what did they look like, what were their lives like? It made me wonder how I'd be remembered when I died? What would distinguish me out of the billions? Does it even matter if we're remembered? All the deep and morbid thoughts were extinguished at the first sight of a Patisserie. (Pastry shop.)
Little did this fella know that he'd be a prop in my selfie someday.
My dad, lost in thought.


One of the really interesting places to visit was the Montmarte district. There were many shops with cool souvenirs, many restaurants, bakeries, street musicians, and artists selling their work. The crown jewel was the Sacre Couer Cathedral. It was worth the many steps that we had to climb. We went inside the cathedral, below into the crypt, above in the towers.
Inside the towers of Sacre Couer!
Stained glass window inside
Sacre Couer
Inside the crypt, below the church. It was either peaceful or creepy. I can't decide which.
Situated on a hill, Sacre Couer has a unique view of all of Paris!
So many steps... I love this family picture!

Les Invalid

This is a hospital that Napoleon Bonaparte, a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution, commissioned. It now serves as his final resting place. The dome is covered in gold, and I loved it! The French truly honor Napoleon.
Inside the dome(left) .My best Napoleon pose, in front of Les Invalid.(right)
My sis, Linsey by his tomb.

Jardin du Luxembourg

Jardin du Luxembourg was a spacious, diverse, and well maintained park, complete with statues, trimmed bush and flower gardens, a palace, and a lake/pond where children could sail little boats. We weren't able to explore as much as I would have liked, but it was still awesome.

Champs Elysees/Arc de Triomph

Champs Elysees is a high class street! It has everything from high end retail stores to gourmet luxury foods. We made sure to grab some. If you were a star and you needed somewhere to dispose of your lavish income, this is the spot. At the end of the street, is the Arc de Triomphe. It is one of the most famous triumph arches in the whole world. It honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars. We climbed to the top and discovered the surprisingly beautiful view.


Beautiful windows
All the cathedrals we saw have such different architecture, and they are awesoe for different reasons. This one was small, but breathtakingly beautiful. It has many stained glass windows. It depicts the entire story of the bible. It was completed in 1248, it amazed people back then, as it still does today. Even big shots such as Hitler, came to admire its beauty, in his one and only visit to Paris.

La Defense

Paris is a major city with 12 million people living in the metropolitan area. One of the crazy things is that there aren't many buildings that are over 5 to 6 stories tall. In 1977, the Tour Montparnasse, a black modern building was constructed. Towering at 689 feet, many argue that it is a scar on the face of Paris. The Defense is a metropolitan area on the outskirts on the west-side of Paris. Here you can find modern buildings and towering skyscrapers.  They even have their own modern twist of the Arch de Triomphe. Except this one is an office building.

The new arch
View of the Defense from the top of the Eiffel Tower

Opera House

Summer was very sick, and she stayed at the house. We missed her very much! This Opera house was impressionable. It was very majestic and ornate. Its all the small details that made it amazing. This is suppodsedly where Phantom of the Opera took place. Later we went to Fraggonard, a high-end perfumery that shows the process of how its made. You have the option to purchase some .


Front view of the palace
This historical palace of Versailles is well worth the visit. It is about 11 miles away, southwest of Paris. Easily accesible by train. King Louis XIV must have been couped up in the royal palace, the Louvre in Paris, so he built this. In 1789, this symbol of monarchy no longer housed the French royal family, due to the French Revolution. Inside it was immense and ornate! It was mind boggling to think about all the artisans it must have required to build this gargantuan castle.
If the palace was big and impressive, the gardens were out of this world! I was impressed just by it's sheer size. On the flip side, if you're a king who can't hang out with the common people, this is your whole world. After visiting this, we went back to our house and I was reunited with Summer!

It was very ornate on the inside
We're in the backyard

It's a very big backyard

Musee Louvre

We had a lovely meal with my uncle and his buddy Steve. Then we headed to the Louvre. My parents, having already seen it, decided to hang out in the immense park outside. We got there rather late, and we only had 2 hours to see everything. We mostly saw Italian renaissance paintings, but we quickly admired everything from Egyptian hieroglyphs to Greek statues. We did get to see the Mona Lisa. I felt like we needed more time! I'm not an art expert, but I have read Dan Brown books! I also took an art class and studied about many of these paintings.

I didn't know this, but the glass pyramid on the left was built modernly, as an entrance to access the museum. Its pretty cool.

There was a great arch next to the Louvre.
The famous Mona Lisa
The angel. We didn't know that this was important until we got here.

Musee Carnavalet

When I visited Washington DC, it was quite sobering to see all the historical artifacts of our country. I studied about these things at school since I was young! When I was placed with historical French stuff, it didn't have the same impact. It makes me want to learn more though! This museum was jam packed with everything from art, treasure, paintings of the queen losing her head to the guillotine.
Outside the Museum
Execution of Marie Antoinette


Having just come from Rome, it was exciting to see an influential building built after the Roman Pantheon. Inside and out, it felt like a state capitol. It was awesome! Some of France's heroes are buried here. My family loves Victor Hugo, author of Les Miserables. He is one of many buried here.
Outside and inside the Pantheon, respectively.

Victor Hugos tomb.

Bateau Mouche

The Seine River runs through all of Paris. Many of the important sites, such as Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower, are located along it's banks. Bateau Mouche, or Fly Boat, will take you for a cruise up and down the river! We left at dusk, so we got to see everything in daylight, and then all lit up on the way back. If you only had a few hours in Paris, this would be the best way to see it. It was incredibly fun and romantic.

Awesome view of the Eiffel tower.

Along the way

We encountered many treasures along the way, when we were traveling from point A to point B. Beautiful fountains, buildings, and treats!
Princess Diana monument

Somebody's pet goat with a bird on his back.

Neil loving the love bridge. People put their locks on this bridge.

mille feuille, my favorite French pastry

Inspired by the movie National Treasure, we were able to find the mini Statue of Liberty!

There were more varieties of beloved Fanta. It used real juice!

Place de la Concorde

Place de la Concorde

Notre Dame

Fontaine Saint-Michele

A government building


It was very sad to be leaving Paris. We had some great experiences there. We all miss it! We all hope to return. Our last day was a lot of fun and very surreal. We left to New York City to experience more amazing adventures!

Top of the Eiffel Tower.

An amazing crepe place

Enjoying our crepes by the Eiffel Tower

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