Europe 2: Paris!

Our first European destination was Paris!

We arrived at 9:30AM, after a pretty uneventful plane ride.  I slept for most of it, and I believe my mom got some shut eye too.  For dinner, she had some sort of chicken thing, and I had beef canolli– oops, I mean canneloni 🙂  I didn’t realize there was a difference until my mom corrected me.

We hoped quickly on their S-metro and ended up at Les Halles, a huge transportation hub near the Louvre museum and just a hop-skip-and-a-jump away from our quaint hotel.  Since we couldn’t check in, we tried to ignore the fact we had been in the same clothes for 24+ hours (I was now at like 48 hours with just 4 hours of sleep) and headed out to explore the sites.

I had pre-planned an extensive walk for us, taking us all around the city!  We started with the Palais de Justice, then saw the Louvre, before heading through the Touileries Garden & Place de la Concorde & up the Champs Elysee to the Arc de Triomphe.  From there, we took a two-stop metro ride to Place de Trocadero so my mom could see the Eiffel Tower up close & personal!

Walking through an indoor arcade on our way to the Louvre
Walking through an indoor arcade on our way to the Louvre
As we were walking around the promenade in front of the Louvre, my mom asked, "How come people keep doing that funny pose with their hands??"  She didn't get what they were doing doing haha!
As we were walking around the promenade in front of the Louvre, my mom asked, “How come people keep doing that funny pose with their hands??” She didn’t get what they were doing doing haha!
As you can tell from the pic above, it literally took 50+ attempts for my mom to get a picture of me truly holding the top of the pyramid.  Because of her bad knees, she couldn't squat and instead had to do a deep runner's lunge to get the right angle for the picture.  I was DYING laughing at her because she looked like she was trying to do yoga at the Louvre.  It is still one of my favorite memories from the trip because she looked so silly & we were trying for probably 15 minutes to get this dang picture!  For the rest of the trip, anytime she wanted me to smile for a picture, she just had to bring up "yoga at the Louvre" and I would start cracking up :)
As you can tell from the pic above, it literally took 50+ attempts for my mom to get a picture of me truly holding the top of the pyramid. Because of her bad knees, she couldn’t squat and instead had to do a deep runner’s lunge to get the right angle for the picture. I was DYING laughing at her because she looked like she was trying to do yoga at the Louvre. It is still one of my favorite memories from the trip because she looked so silly & we were trying for probably 15 minutes to get this dang picture! For the rest of the trip, anytime she wanted me to smile for a picture, she just had to bring up “yoga at the Louvre” and I would start cracking up 🙂
The Louvre Museum extends further still in each direction, but this was the most I could fit in one picture!
The Louvre Museum extends further still in each direction, but this was the most I could fit in one picture!
Start of the Tuileries Gardens
Start of the Tuileries Gardens
Looking down the Tuileries Gardens, through the Place de la Concorde and up the Champs Elysee...to the Arc de Triomphe!  This super zoomed photo comes courtesy of the awesome lens that Dad & Cherie got me for Christmas!
Looking down the Tuileries Gardens, through the Place de la Concorde and up the Champs Elysee…to the Arc de Triomphe (about a mile away)! This super zoomed photo comes courtesy of the awesome lens that Dad & Cherie got me for Christmas!
Place de la Concorde
Place de la Concorde
Looking a bit haggard in front of the Arc de Triomphe, one of my favorite buildings in Paris!
Looking a bit haggard in front of the Arc de Triomphe, one of my favorite buildings in Paris!
There she is! The Eiffel Tower!!
There she is! The Eiffel Tower!!

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Walking toward the tower, from Place de Trocadero
Walking toward the tower, from Place de Trocadero

Next we walked under the Eiffel Tower through the Champs Mars to L’Ecole Militaire.  Then we swooped back up a bit to the Hotel des Invalides, before crossing the Seine River at Pont Alexander and ending up between the Grand & Petit Palais’s.  Noting that it was almost check-in time, we headed then back to the Place de la Concorde & caught the metro back to our hotel for a quick clean-up sesh, before we were off again!

Looking from the Eiffel Tower toward L'Ecole Militaire (the military school)
Looking from the Eiffel Tower toward L’Ecole Militaire (the military school)
Hotel des Invalides (where injured soldiers lived during Napoleon's reign)
Hotel des Invalides (where injured soldiers lived during Napoleon’s reign)
Walking across the Pont Alexandra.  While Paris isn't my most favorite city, it's impossible to deny the beauty & detail they put into every part of the city.
Walking across the Pont Alexandra. While Paris isn’t my most favorite city, it’s impossible to deny the beauty & detail they put into every part of the city.
Grand Palais
Grand Palais

(On a slight side note, I don’t think I remembered to take a picture of our hotel room, which we had booked online through Hotels.com, but we had been randomly upgraded to the biggest hotel room they had!  This was a wonderful start to the trip, given how notoriously small hotel rooms are in Paris.  We had a nice full size bed along with a twin bed futon, that was on the other side of the room, like a little sitting area.  To top it all off, we had the cutest view:

Street view from our window
Street view from our window
View out of one of our windows :)
View out of one of our windows 🙂

Anyways, after cleaning up, this time we headed the opposite direction of our previous walk & instead scoped out Le Centre Pompidou before meandering back toward the Seine River and across to see Notre Dame!

Le Centre Pompidou (a very controversial mixed-use building in Paris.  It's obviously very modern and its setting in the middle of the historic core of the city obviously upset more than a few people.)
Le Centre Pompidou (a very controversial mixed-use building in Paris. It’s obviously very modern and its setting in the middle of the historic core of the city clearly upset more than a few people.)
Notre Dame Cathedral
Notre Dame Cathedral!  After finishing the trip and seeing hmm…probably 30+ cathedrals now in Europe, I can say Notre Dame is still one of my favorites.  The scale inside, as you’ll hopefully be able to get a sense from in the pictures below, is just SO enormous and grand!  I mean, just look at how little the people look in the picture below, in comparison to the entrance doors.  It truly stuns me to ponder how on earth a building of this magnitude was built so long ago, with so little technology.

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Start of the inside pics from Notre Dame
Start of the inside pics from Notre Dame

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I really love this picture of the giant stained glass window that you can see in the front of the cathedral, at the center.
I really love this picture of the giant stained glass window that you can see in the front of the cathedral, at the center.  Notre Dame’s windows are my second favorite in Paris (second to Le Saint Chappelle, just a few minutes walk away in La Conciergerie) and easily top ten in Europe.

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Back of Notre Dame
Back of Notre Dame
The famous lock bridge
The famous lock bridge

After crossing the lock bridge, we meandered around the St. Germain District for a bit before headed back toward Les Halles for dinner.  My mom and I both had quiche, which would be just the first quiche of many for me during our time in Paris!

Then given our 24+ hours traveling, we headed to bed early so that we could get up early for the Eiffel Tower!

Overall our first day was great!  We knocked just as much off of our “to-do” list as I had planned!  We ended up following the pre-planned itinerary I had written out to a “T,” but organically, without consulting it and what not.  I always knew in my head where we were going next and my mom simply followed me around, listening to me ramble about all of the different sites.  (Thank you three years of French studies & a previous trip with my dad, Cherie, and Derek, for that knowledge!)

Highlights definitely included my mom doing yoga at the Louvre (I still can’t. stop. laughing.) and the jokes we were making about how disgusting we looked/felt as we were walking around in such a pretty city, in our comfy workout clothes from the plane ride, after an entire day of traveling and no hair brush, tooth brush, deodorant, etc to help the reality.  (Plus I had dried blood dripping down my leg, from somehow cutting it randomly en route to the hotel from the airport, making us look even classier!)  Paris was also when we first realized that no one in Europe seems to wear flip flops.  Like no one.  Ever.  So my flip-flop-ed feet had more than their fair share of stares.

I was glad too that Paris was where we started first because I enjoyed the enjoyment my mom seemed to get from seeing so many famous sites in person.  While every city we went to was fantastic, I don’t think she was as familiar with the other places & sites as she was with Paris.  It was nice to start the trip off with a bang, as they say.

Tomorrow I’ll get to Paris Day 2!

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One thought on “Europe 2: Paris!

  1. Thanks so much, Paige…………I just MIGHT be that person from MN who was waiting/watching for you to return to paigeintraining………..your blogs/pictures are super-super-interesting. Much love, Grandma Dolores

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