Monday, October 25, 2010

Paris, je t'aime

Last week, TU Rome had fall break, and everyone got into groups and trekked the world. Jimmy, Jess and Laura went on the school run trip to Tunisia. Our other friends toured Italy, visited Greece, and went to Morocco. Beth and I decided to got to Paris, Amsterdam, and Barcelona, spending two nights in each place. Our first stop was Paris. We had to leave Rome at 7:30, so we had an early start at 4. We took Ryanair, which I thought was pretty nice considering the cheap price of the ticket.

When we landed, we quickly learned that Paris is freezing this time of year, especially compared to Rome. So, after taking a bus into the city and getting food, our first stop was the Gap for some more weather sensible clothes. Then, we headed to our hostel, the Oops! Hostel on Les Gobelins. It was super cute and trendy, but we couldn't get into our room because of cleaning, so we ditched our bags and went exploring. Our friend had spent a month in Paris over the summer and gave us a long list of recommendations, including the Shakespeare & Co Bookstore behind Notre Dame. Notre Dame was beautiful. The line was really long and we were still adjusting to the cold, so we didn't go in, but the facade was amazing.

After walking around for a while, we found the bookstore. It was the adorable! The downstairs was new and secondhand books of every genre. They also had quite the Shakespeare collection. The upstairs was mostly books that were not for sale but could be read at the store in one of the many comfy chairs. The main room upstairs looked like an old scholar's living room, with worn comfy chairs and the sun shining in. Upstairs, there was also a little writing nook where visitors had written comments and insights and posted them on the walls. The entire place was idyllic, right down to one customer playing piano while others read intently.

From the bookstore, we went back to the hostel and napped for a while, having gotten up at 4:00 that morning. When we got up, it was the perfect time for dinner, so we went to the area around the Bastille and finally landed on a restaurant, where I got awesome French Onion Soup. We also got some wine and learned that the sommelier who had come to school was right -- French wine is better than Italian wine. From there, we went to a bar for a couple after-dinner drinks. There, we met a couple of Parisians that talked to us about our trip. They welcomed us to France and even gave us a recommendation for a good ribs place in Amsterdam!

The next day, we did the tourist stuff. Our first stop was the Eiffel Tower! The line to ride up was ridiculously long, so Beth urged me to take the stairs with her. And I'm so glad she did because it was much more fulfilling to walk up. So, we climbed and climbed and made it two thirds of the way up. It was more money to go to the top, so we just took out photos from the second tier. It was amazing! I found myself unconsciously smiling, just because I could believe I was atop the Eiffel Tower. Another thing checked off my bucket list....

From the Eiffel Tower, we walked to the Arc de Triomphe and down the Champs Elysees to the Lourve. What I had not realize was that, in front of the Louvre, is a gorgeous park with paths, sculptures, and a small water basin surrounded by chairs, where people sit and read or soak in the sun. In the museum, our first stop was the Mona Lisa. To be honest, it was kind of disappointing. First of all, it’s tiny- like half the size of poster board. Also, there are so many people around it was its difficult to even see. Beth and I agreed that we were not all too impressed. No offense, da Vinci. But in the hall near the Mona Lisa, there were a few walls full of pieces by Baroque artists, from Caravaggio to Guercino, so I got a chance to talk Beth’s ear off a little. From there, we hopped around and saw the highlights, such as the Venus de Milo, the Code of Hammurabi, Ramses, and Napoleon’s apartments. We also learned at in 2013, a branch of the Louvre will be opening in Abu Dhabi. Nice…

After the Louvre, we went another suggestion on our friend’s list: Angelina for macaroons and hot chocolate. It actually turned out to be a really classy expensive restaurant, but that was okay because Iwejust wanted dessert. We split coffee, strawberry/pistachio, chocolate/raspberry, and mont blanc macaroons and a pot of hot chocolate. The hot chocolate was amazing! It was like melted chocolate in a cup reminiscent what I think of the hot chocolate in Chocolat. Incredible!

That night we just wanted to relax, so we went to see The Social Network. It was in English with French subtitles. It was a lot better than I thought it was going to be. Beth and I both really liked it. From there we went back to Oops, since we would have to get up at 5am to begin the next leg of our journey….


  1. Sounds like fun! Minus the surprise cold.

  2. Beautiful photos as always, you are having the most amazing trip!! Love you!