Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Catch-up Time: Paris!

I never thought I could love a wrought iron building, but I did and I do. I literally let out a little gasp at my first sight of the Eiffel Tower, and a big smile crept upon my face whenever I saw it.
Love at first sight.

We stopped at a street vendor to buy some sandwiches, and sat and watched as the sun went down. Every hour, the Eiffel Tower sparkles and is extra pretty, and we ended up staying so long chatting that we got to see it light up twice!

Paris is one of the most expensive cities I've ever visited (It didn't even phase me to pay 16 euro for a hamburger and fries. Sad.), but the city definitely makes up for it with it's art. And I'm usually not one who ever wants to go inside an art museum.

As sad as it is, thanks to Dan Brown, I was really excited to go see the Louvre. It took me 5 tries, but I finally got in waiting in no line and using my Spanish ID card to get in fo' free. Yo! 
This was before attempt #1 to get in. Fun fact: The Louvre is closed on Tuesdays.

I totally judged everyone who was in front of me doing this, but when I got to the front of the pack I decided to be an A-hole tourist too. When in France!

P.S. Did you know the Louvre used to be a palace for French royalty?

Now moving on to other lovely things! Let's take a stop at the Cathedral of Notre Dame! Thank you Catholic Central High School for an education including the architecture of Gothic cathedrals. I was weirdly excited to the see the flying buttresses.

Fun fact: At one point after one of the many revolutions, the people wanted to tear down the Notre Dame because it was a symbol of the French regime, not to mention, it was in terrible ruin. But this one guy named Victor Hugo did not want that at all. In fact he wrote a book about it called Notre-Dame de Paris. He was a little annoyed when the title was changed to The Hunchback of Notre Dame for the English translation of the book, but in the end he was happy because it brought attention to the cathedral. People started coming from all around the world to see it, and eventually they decided to repair the cathedral instead of tear it down.

Also, while sitting outside in the courtyard in front of the cathedral, a pigeon flew into my head.

Next stop: Sainte-Chapelle! This chapel was built by King Louis IX to house the original crown of thorns and a part of the original cross that he brought back from the crusades. The huge stained glass windows tell stories from Genesis all the way up through the Resurrection (and then showing how Lou for the relics and brought them to France). During World War II, the windows were taken down to try to keep them safe. I couldn't get any good pictures, so if you ever get the chance to go, it's worth the wait. The details are incredible. 

Next stop: Eiffel Tower! Yay! So this guy was built for the 1900 World Fair and they had a 20-year contest leading up to 1900 to design a monument for the fair. Other entries included a giant cyclops, a giant skeleton, and a giant guillotine. 

Fun fact: There are bathrooms on top of the Eiffel Tower! Not just a one-staller either - the ladies' room had three stalls! And after my two-hour wait, it was much appreciated. 

"Did that girl say she wanted to be the Eiffel Tower" - tourist taking my picture, talking to her friend

I learned so much history on this trip! I hope you're learning too!! Another fun fact for you: A Nazi saved Paris from being destroyed. Apparently during World War II, Hitler said, "Either I have Paris or no one does." He left one of his most-trusted men there with the order to blow up the city if things started looking down for them. They were prepared and everything, and had buildings wrapped in dynamite ready to be blown up at an orders' notice. However, the guy left in charge came from a military family and he grew up listening to war stories and learning strategies, and he just didn't see any point to blowing up Paris. He said it just didn't not make sense strategically. So he called up the Allies and was all "Help me help you" and he waited just long enough for them to get to Paris before retreating. Apparently there's record of Hitler yelling "Is is burning!? Is Paris burning!?" because that's what he had ordered.

But in lighter (and more current) news, my travel buddy has a friend who is studying in Paris right now, so we were super lucky to have our own personal tour guide. 

I definitely could have spent more time in this expensive, yet beautiful city. One day, my friends, one day!! Because, gosh darnit, I still want to have a picnic in the yard in front of the Eiffel Tower. And, of course, sit at a café and judge people as they walk by...

...because that's just what you do in France. 

Next stop: Bilbao!

1 comment:

  1. Jenny- It was such a nice surprise to see you at Panera the other day. After I left I was thinking about you and how proud I am of you. You have such a passion for life! You have experienced more than most people will in a lifetime! I hope you had a great trip home and look forward to spending some time with you in August. Love- Aunt Patty