June 27-29: Travel! I never used to understand what people meant when they said they were exhausted from travelling, because, hello, you're just sitting there...but I get it now. We started our adventure with a 7 hour drive down to Vegas. We then spent the night (which, by itself was amazing...most comfortable bed EVER and some seriously delicious pizza and wings delivered to our room), and flew out the next afternoon. The flight out was 10 hours, but because of the time difference, we left at 1pm and got in at 7am. I did not sleep more than 20 minutes, unfortunately. This ruined me for jetlag for the rest of the trip. IF YOU'RE GOING TO EUROPE, PLEASE SLEEP ON THE PLANE. Anyways, we didn't actually fly in to Paris, so after the transatlantic flight, we had a 9 hour layover in Manchester, which was the WORST AIRPORT EVER. Seriously, going between gates felt like we were trespassing in secret backalleys of the airport. And we were originally planning on going out into the city, but didn't realize it was too late until we were through security again and couldn't go back. It was okay, though, because we were talking to another couple who said that everything in town was closed for some reason.... So anyway, we got to Paris around 9pm, had a tiny snafu with buying bus tickets, and FINALLY got to our apartment around 10:30. Thankfully, our host, Coraline, was patiently waiting for us, and was very understanding about our late arrival. Unfortuately, I'm not as good of a sleeper as Hans is, so for about 7/10 days that we were there, we ended up going to bed very late, I wouldn't sleep very well and then I'd wake up insanely early, we'd go out, then come back in the afternoon for a quick nap and end up sleeping until it was too late to go out again. But ah well, c'est la vie! (This is why I emphasize to sleep on the plane...it will help you beat your jetlag!!)
June 30: Our first day, we just wandered. I was just so happy to be in Paris, and wanted to soak it all in. We walked down towards the Louvre and then over towards Les Halles. We ate lunch at a little cafe and then went to St. Eustache, the church at Les Halles. Then we got gelato at my favorite little gelato shop, where I used to go all the time on my study abroad. We walked down past the Centre Pompidou, LDS Institute Building, and Hôtel de Ville to Notre Dame. The line was OUTRAGEOUS (see my previous post), so instead, we went down to the Crypte Archéologique, which is right in front of Notre Dame, underground. It's a museum about ancient Gallo-Roman Paris, complete with old ruins! Pretty cool. After that, we meandered back to our apartment and just relaxed for the rest of the day.
July 1: We got up early and went to Notre Dame. Luckily, no line this time (probably because we were up before anything else was open). After that, we went to the catacombs. We walked for AN HOUR, only to find out that there was a monstrous line to get in. So we waited...for 2.5 hours...to see some old bones. No but it was pretty cool. I'd been down there before, but Hans wanted to see it, and I think he thought that it was worth it (for the most part). And that made it more worth it for me, because I really just wanted Hans to think Paris is as awesome as I think it is :)
So after the catacombs, we walked back to our apartment. This walk almost killed me. It was over 100 degrees, we didn't have enough water, and I was wearing terrible shoes and very hot pants. I can't tell you why we didn't just take the metro. But we didn't. Lesson learned: next time it's unbearably hot and my feet are going to fall off, I will take convenient transportation instead of walking. My bad.
July 2: We walked through Place de la Vendôme (unfortunately, the pillar was being refurbished, and so was covered) to the Grand and Petit Palais. However, I guess we were too early because I don't think either was open. So we walked over to Les Invalides, which was another one on Hans's list. Les Invalides is the military museum. There is a LOT of cool stuff in there, I definitely recommend it! Hans very much enjoyed looking at all the old weapons and such. Part of Les Invalides is also Napoleon's tomb. This was one of my FAVORITE things that we saw. It. Is. GORGEOUS. It compares with any of the cathedrals you will see in Paris. Completely stunning. See it. Seriously.
July 3: Another one of my favorites: Sainte-Chapelle. This was one of the places that I didn't get to on my study abroad, but promised myself I would go to this time. It is seriously breathtaking. The main part of the cathedral is on the upper level, so you go up some stairs and as soon as you walk in, it's just...I just don't even have the words to describe it. The whole thing is stained glass and it is just amazing. I couldn't get enough of it. If you go here, try to go on a sunny day. But definitely go. I could have stayed in there for hours.
So after that, we went to the Musée de Cluny, which is the medieval museum (stopping for crêpes on the way, of course). Then, we wandered around the Quartier Latin looking for kebabs for Hans. And we found ALL the kebabs. So Hans was very excited. To be honest, kebabs were his main goal on this trip.
July 4: We walked to Sacré Cœur. It was about a 45 minute walk, but it was through Montmartre, which is such an amazing neighborhood. It's like the artsy neighborhood (it's also the one with the Moulin Rouge). And Sacré Cœur is just my favorite. This is where we locked our love lock. The Pont des Arts no longer holds any locks, due to the fact that a part of it collapsed from the weight. And they're starting a campaign to stop the locks from being locked on any bridge. So we locked ours on a part of the fence in the little park by Sacré Cœur, hidden in some ivy.
Afterwards, we decided to walk to the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, which is a way cool way on the east side of town. It's got cliffs and a lake and (apparently) waterfalls (although we didn't know that when we went, so didn't look for them). Anyway, apparently you have to walk through a not-so-great part of town to get there, so about halfway there, I got a little nervous and we hopped on the metro. Probably not a bad choice. After that, we took the metro out to the Place de la Bastille, which is basically just a monument (Hans was kind of disappointed), and then walked to the Musée Carnavalet, which is like a museum about the history of the city. On the way over there, we stopped and got lunch (kebabs) and went into the chuch of St. Paul-St. Louis. Then we walked home through the Marais, which is also a very interesting neighborhood. Lots of cool shops and such :)
July 5: Free museum day! We started out at the Rodin Museum. GORGEOUS. It's an old hotel and the gardens are just beautiful. I think this was a day or two after I found out that it was Paris Couture Week. Well, as we were walking around the gardens, there was this big, long, white tent that they were setting up. I saw inside, and there were some mirrors, and I said to myself (and Hans), that HAS to be for fashion week. Then we walked around the other side and saw this big, artsy structure that was VERY obviously for fashion week. If I'd thought about it, I should've known what show it was for, because I think they always do their show there (or they did last time, at least), but I didn't figure it out until we were eating lunch in the gardens, and I looked up and saw the impression of the name under the black plastic: Dior. This was a major spaz moment for me. I LOVE Dior. I spent the rest of the time trying to see in to the structure and just generally freaking out. And then, as we were leaving, you could totally see the models rehearsing inside. It was just awesome. Just really, really awesome.
So after that, we walked over to the Musée d'Orsay. Well, since it was free museum day, the line was just ridiculous. So, unfortunately, we did not get to go in. Next time. Instead, we went to the Musée de l'Orangerie, which is in the bottom corner of the Louvre gardens, and has Monet's waterlily paintings, along with some other cool art. Then we walked over towards the Madeleine, and it started raining. So, of course, we kissed IN THE RAIN IN PARIS. Life goal: accomplished. Then we got some indescribably delicious pastries from Ladurée (if you go here, get something rose-flavored. I promise you won't regret it) and walked home. BUT. This was the first day that we actually went out again later. We walked down to the Arc de Triomphe and went up on top and watched the sunset :) Ah, romance.
July 6: Pretty chill day. Started with a kebab on the way to the Police Museum (which wasn't super impressive. I wouldn't recommend it unless you are just insanely fascinated by police history). Oh, we also stopped for some VERY fancy éclairs. I would even go so far as to say gourmet. So after the police museum, we walked back past Notre Dame and the Hotel de Ville, back to our apartment. On the way back, I stopped to check out the Parisian Forever 21 (because, duh). It was mostly the same but somehow much, much better than American Forever 21. Then, later that evening, we walked down to the Tuileries and got some gelato, then just sat and relaxed in the gardens.
July 7: This was the day of the Chanel Haute Couture show. My amazing husband came and stood with me at the Grand Palais while I paparazzi'd the crap out of semi-famous people I didn't know. It was amazing. I know that probably doesn't sound like fun to most of you, but I LOVE fashion and taking pictures is basically my life, so it was just perfect. After all that excitement, we went across the street to the Petit Palais. There is actually a pretty cool museum inside of the Petit Palais. There was a lot of neat, old stuff, including some old pottery, etc., from around 500 BC! Then, we took the metro over to Les Halles to try Nabab Kebab, which is a kebab chain. Hans said that this was the best kebab (although apparently French kebabs aren't as good as German kebabs). After that, we walked back home, passing through the Passage Choiseul, the covered passageway that our apartment overlooked.
Later that night was our "night out"...a dinner cruise with Bateaux Mouches! We took the metro over to Trocadero to try and check out the Eiffel Tower, but it was super crowded and it took a little longer than I thought, so we had to leave pretty much right when we got there. We walked down to the river (and totally got caught in a rain storm), and boarded our cruise. This was most definitely one of the most romantic experiences of my life. It was a two-hour cruise down and back up the Seine, passing all the best-known monuments, and including hors-d'œuvres, and appetizer, main course, and dessert, all of which were delicious. It was a covered boat, with windows all the way around, and a violin player and piano player. There was also a deck that you could go up to and be all romantic and stuff :) I really couldn't have asked for a more perfect evening with my amazing Hans.
July 8: Last day. We tried the Louvre, but the line was atrocious (noticing a theme?), so we walked over to the Eiffel Tower instead. This was the only day that wasn't swelteringly hot. It was actually very cool and overcast, and a little rainy. But perfect. So we didn't actually go up the Eiffel Tower because lines (don'tgotoParisinJulyplease), but we walked under it and back towards the Quartier Latin. We just kind of meandered through the neighborhood. We got one last crêpe/kebab and then walked back to our apartment. A little later, I went back out, just down the street to the Opéra to take some more paparazzi pictures outside the Alexis Mabille show (HIGHLIGHT: SAW MISS J. ALEXANDER FROM ANTM!!!). Then, I went back and got Hans, and we had dinner at the little cafe next to our apartment.
July 9: We didn't actually go to sleep the last night. Our shuttle was supposed to come at 2:30am. It didn't actually come until 3:30am. Annoying. Our flight out was at about 6:40am. Few hours layover in Frankfurt (amazing airport. WAY better than Manchester). Then we left Frankfurt around 11 am-ish...and got back to Las Vegas at like 2:30pm...Weird, because it was a 12 hour flight. It was honestly horrendous. I never want to be on a plane that long again. And that's not even the worst of it, because then we had to drive 7 hours back to Elko. When we finally got home, I think I had been awake for about 40 hours and I don't think I've never been more tired in my life. Plus side: I did not have any jet lag on the way back, because I slept like a baby that night (even though we didn't get back until 1am).
So that's it! I won't lie, I was so stressed about this trip before we went. Part of it was that I was worried that Hans wouldn't like it, but he did. And I am SO proud of him...he actually learned AND USED some French! I have never been so impressed with him than when we were boarding our dinner cruise and he asked IN FRENCH if the lady spoke English. It was ridiculously attractive :) There's no one that I would have rather shared this experience with, and I can't wait for our next adventure!
If you want to see more pictures, they are up on my facebook page!
If you want to see my fashion week paparazzi pictures, click HERE and HERE.