Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A La France Avec Amour...

Ok...not that I don't love Germany...but my sister lives 45 minutes from France...so of course, that is going to be my favorite part of our European trip. Having lived there for 16 months and never getting to go to Paris, that was my one goal for this trip. And I totally achieved it! Heather, Andrew and I got on a train Monday morning and 2 hours later we were in Paris. First of all, just being back in France was wonderful. I loved my mission but it wasn't the easiest time in my life. And I used to lump France itself in with that experience. But I know now, having been back twice now, that I absolutely LOVE the country of France (note: I have yet to visit my mission area...who knows how I'll feel then...).

We spent only like 36 hours in Paris...but we sure packed in the touristy crap! When we first got there, we dropped our stuff off at our 300 year old hotel, and took a walk. We went to the Luxembourg Gardens and had yummy sandwiches while French-people watching. Also, from our little spot in the Garden, we could totally see the top of the Eiffel Tower...and I won't lie to...I full on cried. After lunch, we split up - Heather went to one of her museums while Andrew and I just started walking. We walked up to the Seine and then all along it...watching the painters and the book salesmen and absolutely swimming in Paris.

We seriously walked loads that day. We ended up in the Louvre that afternoon. I like museums fine...but usually I get a little bored after an hour. The Louvre, however...I mean, you just CAN'T get bored. Every room you walk in is totally different from the last and all day long I was constantly saying, "THAT painting is here?! I know THAT one!" My favorite, far and away, was Winged Victory...this picture does it absolutely NO justice...It's the most stunning thing I've ever seen. It quite literally took my breath away.

So many beautiful things to see - not to mention the building itself - that was actually Andrew's favorite thing - the gorgeous architecture. We then met up with Heather and ate at a trendy spot close to our hotel - had wicked yummy croques.

The next day, Heather spent her whole day in Versailles. Andrew and I started our day at Notre Dame. I love French Cathedrals. My first area of my mission had one much larger than Paris'. But it didn't have the history...and it definitely didn't have the stairs. We walked up to the first level...I don't think of myself as claustraphobic....but....I may be a bit. Grrr...tight tight tight! Then we went all the way to the top - such a fabulous view of the city. Then Andrew and I had lunch at McDonald's. I know...we're surrounded by the BEST food in all of the world and we choose McDonald's? But first of all - MacDo is SO good in France - don't ask me why...it's just better. And also...Pulp Fiction, man!

After our Royal with Cheese's, we went to the Eiffel Tower. We took the subway and so when you come up, you don't see anything. So we followed the crowd along this road. And then...all of a sudden...it's just there, looming in front of you. The most beautiful structure I've ever seen. I can't tell you where my love for la Tour Eiffel comes from...but I pretty much can't even talk about it without getting all teary. I'm actually getting emotional just typing about it. I don't know why it's so beautiful - it's just a big iron tower that really has no point...but to make me cry, apparently.

We didn't mean to, but took the elevator to the top. There's a midway point where you think you see a lot of the city. But when you get to the tippy-top - wow. What a view! We did take the stairs down. Which was nice because we were able to stop at the first level and have a diet coke and a croissant! Heaven, I tell you...

Then we wandered and bought random touristy things...and then we went back to Germany. I know it was only 2 days...but it was the best 2 days I ever had in France. Paris is quite honestly the yummiest city I've ever been to. Done and done.


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