Over a week ago I wrote a huge post about my time in Paris...then lost it. Somehow it all got deleted. I got mad and haven't tried to write it again until now. So let's try this again.
PARIS IS BEAUTIFUL. Also, the subways are super ghetto and really do smell like pee, just like I was warned. But it doesn't take too much away from the magic of the city.
We arrived before dark, giving me my first glimpses of the gated windows in the evening light. My insides were screaming with anticipation as we zipped through the city on the train to our stop. My eyes couldn't take in enough. Everywhere one looks in Paris is something beautiful. Everywhere.
After getting settled into our tiny apartment, we decided to walk the 10 minutes to the Eiffel Tower (!!!) to watch the sunset and the show of sparkling lights the Tower puts on every hour after dark. After dreaming of seeing this icon of Paris my entire life, actually sitting in front of it is overwhelming. It's enormous! It's so much bigger than I thought. Its weird looking at it though because it really is nothing more than a big iron tower thing. But because of what it's associated with is what makes it so special.
The next morning, we found a little market and got bread, cheese, salad and wine (typical and cliché) and had our lunch there on the grounds of the Tower. I tell you what, there are few things more satisfying than having a glass of wine IN Paris IN FRONT OF the Eiffel Tower. It's just like the movies, honestly. We walked to the other side of the river to get a different view of it and then went to the Orsay Museum. I was really looking forward to this museum because it has everything I love: Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Renoir, Matisse, Gauguin, Seurat, Cezanne...magical. It didn't disappoint. I have been nerdily overcome with emotion over the art I've seen on this trip. I have literally been brought to tears over the first Picasso I had ever seen in my life, and I also cried over seeing the Globe Theater in London. I mean, Shakespeare was there! Right there! Directing plays! What's not to cry about!? So the Orsay was definitely a highlight. Art is the best.
We also saw the Notre Dame that first day. Talk about awesome. These iconic things that we all know by sight are all of a sudden in front of my face. It's just insane. Al has been lighting candles for his grandma in all the Catholic Churches we've gone to so of course the Notre Dame was a big one. It's magnificent inside. One of the most detailed and ornate churches I've ever seen. The stained glass...whoa! And these places in Europe, the buildings and churches and monuments...are old! I mean old old. Like hundreds or even thousands of years old. Back home in america we flip if something is 1700s old.
The next day we went to the Louvre. They have things in there from ancient Egyptian times that were dated to like 5000 years ago. Its hard to even wrap my head around! I also, of course, saw the good old Mona Lisa. Seeing that with my own eyes was nuts. I know da Vinci was brilliant and everything, but for the life of me I just don't understand why it's so much more famous than other works. It's lovely and I understand the mystery behind it, but there are much grander and better works in that museum. Oh well.
Our second day we meandered around Montmartre and saw the Moulin Rouge and the Sacre Coeur before the Louvre, then wandered up the river to enjoy the evening. After getting back to our place, I realized I had somehow lost my new favorite hat I bought at topshop. I don't lose things and I'm still pretty mad about it. There is no topshop here in Italy, but there is one in Iceland so I think I'm going to get another one there. Sad face.
After hitting some big cities...London, Paris, Milan and Rome, Paris is my favorite. Just like any metropolis, there is graffiti ruining beautiful things and slummy areas and bums...but the magic is underneath. It's downright gorgeous and just as fabulous as you imagine. The little cafes with the tables outside and flowers in windows are everywhere, reminding you of where you are in the world.
Parisian people aren't too snobby, but that could be because I have a French husband. The women are very plain, pretty, but plain. The fashion is very simple. The opposite from London! I prefer London's style: more funky and colorful. I dig the classy black of Paris, but I'm feeling London more when it comes to fashion. (And the weather)
The next day we packed up and got our rental car and headed south to the Loire Valley...castle central.
(After re-reading this I realize how choppy and not great the writing was. I apologize. I do find it hard gathering thoughts and writing creatively on this dumb phone. Bear with me. Once I'm home with a keyboard hopefully my story telling will improve).