I simply don’t have time to continue writing chapters as previous, and I doubt anyone has time to read them either. There’s so much in Paris that I could never describe it all, so I’ll just make a list of our visit’s highlights:
1. When in Paris, you have to endure the brain damage (as Aaron would say) of standing in lines to go up the Eiffel Tower. And we did, and it was at times unpleasant, but the view is incredible at night. But, in my humble opinion, the view is better from the outside. Standing on the green in front of the tower as it sparkles for five minutes at the top of the hour starting at 8 p.m. is the real sight to see. And then going back to our room and having the same sparkling view was amazing.
2. The Notre Dame is a masterpiece of a building, inside and out. The eerie gargoyles that jump out of the stone catch your eye, and the buttresses holding up the dome must be some kind of engineering marvel of the time since Aaron made me take many pictures of them.
3. The stained glass inside the Sainte-Chappelle are beautiful, and only pictures would do them maybe half a justice.
4. Museums, museums, museums. We visited the Orsay (inside an amazing building) and saw Van Goghs and Monets, and the Louvre where we got lost inside the monstrosity of a building. Eventually, we did find the obligatory Mona Lisa. We also visited the Rodin Museum, with its many statues including the Thinking Man. If you ever go, get the Museum Pass and you can bypass the huge lines.
5. The Rue Cler, a pedestrian-centered street with all the classic French shops, was very enjoyable. We sat here and had coffee and crepes while people-watching. Seemingly all of the buildings in the city are very old and beautiful. Paris is a bustling city, but you can always find pedestrian refuge to enjoy the view.
6. Food! We found a restaurant that seemed to be tourist-free and entirely French one night, and loved the ambiance and creme brulee. There was also the restaurant near our hotel that we visited twice, as we could sit on the sidewalk with chairs facing the street to watch the motorbikes, cars and people go by. Another note on food – nobody loves cheese and eggs more than the French! I could get used to that.
7. The people do indeed love to smoke, though maybe not as much as the Germans. And wine is as cheap as Coca-cola in most places. That 3x wine price mark-up we have in the States doesn’t exist at least at your average French restaurant.
I’m sure I’ve left something out, but seeing as I didn’t plan to write much but did anyway, I’ll close out Paris. We’re on our train to Brussels right now, and I had to take advantage of the free WiFi to catch the blog up to the present.