Sunday, February 5, 2012

Rue Cler, Bastille, Place de Voges

This is the post that describes the rest of what I did on my last day in Paris!  I'm actually going to start by writing about my dinner the night before, since it was a neat experience.  You may remember from earlier posts that I was at the Eiffel Tower during bad weather, after a very long and exhausting day.  While I was on the first level of the tower (I started on the second, then when down one), I considered buying some food and heading straight to the hostel to go to bed, but a part of me felt that it wouldn't quite be the full Parisian experience I wanted, and that I should go find a restaurant that my guide book recommended near the tower.  I was literally about to collapse, and did not want to go anywhere but bed, however the sandwiches at the Eiffel Tower cafe did not look appetizing in the slightest, and so I prayed that the restaurant would be good and that I would have the energy to make it there.  When I got there, it was a cute little place and I happened to be the only customer.  The man spoke a little English with me, and I got a good dinner!  I had duck with yummy potatoes and mushrooms and a salad, and it was divine.  I loved it!  I'm so glad that my day ended so well with the Eiffel Tower and the delicious Parisian dinner. 

The next day started off quite well too, as I went to Rue Cler, a cute Parisian market street, to assemble a good picnic.
I bought 3 different kinds of cheese, some bread, macaroons, chocolate to take home as a souvenir, and a yummy orange jam crepe!  Soooooooo goooooood!!!!!!

I ate the picnic later in the day, after I saw the Opera Garnier, when I was at the Place de Voges, a park next to the Victor Hugo house that I toured.  The Victor Hugo house was nice.  There wasn't anything super spectacular inside, but since he is my favorite author is was nice to give my respects.  There was a photograph, painting and Rodin sculpture of Victor Hugo that I liked.

Also in the area was the Place de Bastille, where the prison used to stand.  All that is there now is a monument, and another opera house!  I didn't go inside, but got a picture of the two together. 
After that I headed back to the train station to head back to London for a night, then to catch my plane the next morning.  I was a little early to the station, but ran into a nice Korean-American couple that I had seen earlier on my trip, that were seasoned tourists and had quite a lovely chat with them.  We talked about traveling, importance of education, and being Christian. 

This trip was quite hard on my body.  I arrived early to the train station because I couldn't do anymore.  I felt so sick and sore, and I mentally and physically could not do anymore.  The combination of sore legs for 6 days, plus my period, plus carrying all of my belongings that last day pretty much put me over the edge.  I think the moral of this traveling story is to always arrive and depart around check-in and check-out times, so I never carry my stuff around.  I want to be smarter with my luggage choice, and stay at nice hotels where I feel secure leaving my things there, and I have my own personal space to be at the end of the day instead of the hostel.  Not that the hostel was a bad experience, but there were always other people around.  I also need to stop doing too much in one day, and plan my vacations with more days than things to do.  This has been such a whirlwind trip.  I'm so glad that I've done it, for sure, but my body/mind can probably never handle a trip like this again. 

I had a headache as I started back to London on the train, and it kept growing worse and worse, and eventually it turned into nausea.  It may have been one of the most miserable I've been.  When I got into London I tried to find motion sickness pills for the plane the next day, but only found pain killers, which did the trick in the end anyway.  Coming into London after being in Paris felt familiar and comfortable.  Again, just when i feel like I am comfortable with the city and know how to maneuver, I'm leaving.  I kept thinking how fun it would be to return to London and Paris one day with Julia.  I hope that someday it will happen!

Opera Garnier

It's decided.  I want to live in the opera house.  Actually, it's probably almost exactly what my mansion in heaven will look like.  It's the most beautiful thing ever!  Words can't describe my joy at being in this place, and no one else would probably understand anyway, if I tried to explain.  So I'll just post the glorious pictures. 
This room in the opera house is called the Salon du Glacier, and is the location of my dream wedding reception.
And because the pictures I got weren't enough, I'll add a few more I found online.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Eiffel Tower

This was one of the loveliest parts of my trip.  As I was walking up, it was still kind of light outside.  As I got closer, the lights on the tower started slowly turning on.  It was so so so so so cool.  I felt as if the Eiffel Tower was the symbol of actually being in Paris, and it made it so much more real.  I was so excited! 
When I reached the base of the tower, I found out they closed the upper lever, the summit, because of rain and fog, so I could only go to levels one and two, which are about halfway up.   The elevator going up was super cool!  While I was up on levels one and two, it was super rainy, foggy and windy, and because it was dark and icky weather you couldn't get a great view of the city, so actually being on the tower wasn't very pleasant.  I did stop at a shop and get a few souvenirs though, so that was nice.  I took the stairs down, and when I got down and was waking away though, the blue lights one the tower which were previously off began to sparkle, and it was the coolest thing ever!  These next two pictures I took, and I love them so very much!!  It was one of my favorite moments in Paris!
The rest of the pictures I found on the internet, since again at this point in the trip my camera battery was low and I wanted to take a few pictures the next day, but I wanted to remember as many different views of the tower as possible!  I tried to find some that looked like it did when I was there, i.e. foggy and dark.

Musee d'Orsay

The outside of the building and the design inside was actually pretty cool. 
However.  At this point in my journey, I was not in the most pleasing mood.  Somewhere between Versailles, Les Invalides and here, the rain had started, my period had started, and my legs were trying to fall off.  Also, I had done my research and knew the types of paintings that were here.  I don't like recent art.  I get bored with impressionism, and anything after is appalling.  But 99.999% of the people I talked to before coming raved about Orsay and how they loved it so much more than the Louvre.  I knew that wouldn't happen to me, however I did fell that a visit to Orsay was needed, if nothing more than to at least say that I've been.  And so I've been.  Now, that's not to say I didn't find anything there that I liked, and so the following pictures are things that I did enjoy, despite the horrendous conditions that were present. 

My favorite part was an exhibit devoted to the Opera Garnier.  It was quite lovely and got me quite excited for my visit to the actual theatre the next day.
Also quite lovely was a room called Salles de les Fetes, which I think was just a fancy room they use to throw parties. 

Millet--The Gleaners
de la Pena--The Heights of Le Jean de Paris
Hebert--La lavandière ou jeune lavandière songeuse
 Jongkind--Rue de l'Abbe de l'Epee, Paris
Degas--The Ballet Rehearsal on the Stage
Renoir--Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette
Monet--Blue Water Lilies
Van Gogh--Bedroom (apparently Starry Night was somewhere in the museum too, but I missed that one...)
Rodin--Gates of Hell
There was also a lot of cool furniture, some in the Art Nouveau section, and some in other sections.  And there was a random Polar Bear.