Thursday, May 27, 2010


Welcome to the wonderful experience that was PARIS! Yes I know that this is going to be a super long post and it has taken forever to get it up and ready, but I wanted to share some of my favorite things about Paris.

So I will start at the beginning: This is 80 Rue Balard where I lived while I was there! I lived on the 8eme floor (the ninth floor). To get in I had to scan my key over the black circle next to the door. (And to get out of the doors you always had to push the "porte" or door button...
Here is my bedroom, which I think was really my Madame's bedroom...I tried not to think of that too much! It was totally pink!
This was the view out on my balcony. I loved the balcony, it was just too bad that it was so cold for the first two weeks that I didn't get to enjoy it too much. The only bad thing about this was that my Madame had to come though my room to water her plants...but what a view!Here is a picture of the bathroom that we all got to share. And notice that there is not a shower head attached to the wall. This is pretty typical for people in France. You have to sit in the tub...which was kinda hard to shower one handed in less that 10 min. I actually did the whole turn the water on and off thing...which was really cold!
Here is the kitchen! I ate breakfast each morning looking out the window just observing Paris! Random note...In the green fridge Madame did not use tupperwear or seran wrap. She would just put leftovers in without covers...sometimes this really made the fridge smell funny! My responsibilities: Dishes! I set the table each night and did the dinner dishes afterwards. Here was the living room/dining room...this is also where my Madame slept (please note the mattress under the window!) Obviously she really liked to read. She had the TV on a lot, I got to watch the wheel of fortune each night at dinner :)
Here is the metro that I took each morning. I lived at the end of line 8. I know it is silly that I took photos of the metro, but I spent so much time on it that it was a big part of each day! This was the entrance/exit. I took the tunnel to the left! To get on the metro I had a metro pass that I would weekly charge...I felt so official after I got it. :)
This was a cool picture that Bre took of us huddled and holding on!
For the first few days we walked down to the metro station right next to the Arc de Triomphe. This was quite a sight! This is how they tow cars in Paris! We totally sat and watched this happen.
This was the day that we visited the Concergerie, which at one time was the palace for the king, but was then made into a prison. In fact this was the prison that Marie Antoinette was kept before she was beheaded.
Me and Bre! I love this photo. Sometimes it is the random ones that are the best! :)Once again it is the random ones. She said to pull a face...and this is what I did :)
This was my favorite church! It is called Sainte Chappelle. It had the most amazing stained glass windows! They told the stories of the new testament.Sainte Chappelle was the first place that I got to experience the winding stone staircases...these ones weren't too bad, but the ones at Notre Dame were so scary!
On our way to one of the many museums we stopped for some tartes! Elise would randomly say that she needed tartes...totally hilarious! :) Here was my first tarte: une tarte framboise! So fact I am getting hungry again just thinking about it.The view of Paris from the tower of Notre Dame. I think that this was one of the best views that I have ever seen.
When the weather warmed up (a bit but not much!) we walked to the Eiffel Tower to catch the bateau-bus, which is a boat that goes up and down the Seine that you can get on and off of. On the way we got some great shots at the Eiffel Tower!
This is my favorite picture of Paris. It was the end of the day and I was waiting for the bateaubus again. Why I love this picture: because it is not of anything of any great importance...but just normal buildings that totally remind me of Paris.One of my favorite things about Paris was church. It was AWESOME! I totally felt the spirit and I understood everything that went on. Interesting note: In the church the rooms were not connected, you would have to cross through the courtyard.
On the second Sunday we walked through the catacombs of Paris. In the 17th century the people of Paris had a need to clean up the sanitary state of Paris...and one of the ways they did this was to excavate all of the old graves from church's cemeteries and relocate them to tunnels dug underneath Paris. They would have signs posted of where the bones where from and the date that they were dug up! Totally creepy. Today there are stacks and stacks of bones, water dripping from the ceiling and low lights. We were just waiting for someone to just out at us! Here are some photos!
Here is me and my wicked cool headlight. Everyone kinda laughed at me for bringing it, but I was so thankful for it! Yes, you could tell that Meaghan read her guide book before coming! I know that this photo is super dark but I loved the expression on my face...This one was just my very artsy photo of the creepy bones...
This was our first day trip! It was to a small town named Chartes about an hour by train outside of Paris. The countryside was so beautiful! We specifically came to Chartes to visit the cathedral. It is the first Gothic cathedral ever built and there is a tour guide by the name of Malcom Miller. He is an old Englishman who has been giving his tours for over 50 years. He was hilarious and very interesting. We liked him so much we went to lunch and came back for his afternoon tour. He focused a lot on the stained glass windows. Here are some photos of the trip.
My first train ride! :) Very comfortable. This is the way to travel!
This is the Chartes cathedral
Some of the stained glass windows:
This was my group at lunch. We ate at an Italian restaurant...I had spinach tortellini, so good! The waiter thought that I was kinda weird because I ordered chocolate chaud (my first hot chocolate) in the afternoon...but in my defense I was so cold!
The town of Chartes, France! Please note that after this shot was taken I had to run to catch my train! Ahh!
Me out in the gardens.
The streets were so beautiful. I was a bit sad that this photo turned out so dark.The next Thursday was a holiday in France so we got the day off from school! Hooray! So we took another day trip to Versailles. Elise chose not to come with us on this one because the tickets were so expensive! Our group gathered though and we headed out by train again.
This was us walking to the Chateau!
Me in front of Versailles! Can I just say that it is huge! Even though we spent all day here I don't think that we saw everything. And I wish that they let you see more of the rooms inside...and that there was less people inside, I got kinda claustrophobic! Versailles was built by King Louis the XIV as an escape from society in Paris. We after it was finished society came to him so he ended up building an escape from his escape.This is a view of the gardens. In the back right corner is where King Louis built his "summer" palace...which is where he spent most of his time. You can also find the domain of Marie Antoinette in this corner as well.
Inside Versailles. This is called the hall of mirrors. So beautiful! This was one of my favorite parts of the day!
Steph, Bre and I listening to our awesome audio guides.
This is part of Marie Antoinette's area...she built a little village so she could see what village life felt like. I am pretty sure that she hired people to live here, so not really realistic, but it was beautiful! The next day trip (Wow I sound like I went on a lot day trips...these were just my favorite parts and have the best photos!) was to a chateau called the Vaux le Vicomte, which was built by the finance minster of France, Nicolas Fouquet in 1641. When it was finished Fouquet had an openhouse to show off his new home. King Louis the XIV was so jealous that the next day he arrested Fouquet and sent him to prison for the rest of his life, took his architect, landscaper and designer and built Versailles, which had to be bigger and more extravagant! This is the view from the top of the tower. I really liked this chateau because it was more intimate...and you got to see the whole thing! :)In the gardens...Me and Elise!This is one of my favorite group shots! Me, Stephanie, Jeff, Julie, Lindy, Elise and Breanna!

During one of our walks we were right next to Sorbonne which is the University of Paris. Elise actually went here!We visited a very famous cemetery called Pere Lachaise...This is me and the grave of Edith Piaf (A very famous French singer...La Vie en Rose.)And of course you have to visit the Louvre! Once again I felt a bit claustrophobic because of all the people!
During the last week we were in Paris we had a lot more free time...which suited us just fine! We got to really experience Paris! This is me sitting on the grass in the Place des Vosges, which is where Victor Hugo lived while he was writing Les Miserables. And once again, me with food! I am eating a beignet, which is a really fancy way to say a wicked awesome, chocolate filled doughnut. I ate it in honor of Kyle! :)
The bridges at dusk. We were on our way to a play!
Me eating the famous berthillon ice cream on Ile Saint Louis! It was raspberry and super tart but really good!
During my last few days in Paris I realized that I had yet to climb the Eiffle here I am!

Each night on the hour the Eiffel Tower sparkles. It was amazing! I would sit and watch this from my balcony...sigh...
On our last official day in Paris we took it easy! We walked the Champs Elysees, sat in the park and soaked up some sun, went to a movie, visited the opera house again (The first time the actual theater was closed...)and in the evening visited the Quarter Latin.
We saw Robin des Bois (Robin Hood).
This is a crazy guy in a chicken suit! I was trying to get a good photo of the Opera House and he came up behind me and put his arm around me. I totally screamed bloody murder!
Our last night in Paris!
I was being goofy and posing with the ligthpost! Last photo outside of the Hotel de Ville...
All in all Paris was wonderful. At the end I was really happy to get home though. Things I missed about home: clean bathrooms, Kyle, hot showers, Kyle, milk, breakfast cereal, my family and no homework. Things I miss about Paris: Crepes, my group, nutella, awesome architecture, walking, bread, the language and amazing bookstores.