06.17.2014 - 06.21.2014 70 °F
Justin Alex and I were able to make it to Paris although all of our trains were cancelled. It was a bit of a headache though because it meant that we had to get on other trains without an assigned seat and play musical chairs…But at least we made it!
Day 1: Arrive in Paris
When Justin Alex and I arrived in Paris we met up with our friend from Georgia Tech, Stefan. After graduating from GT, Stefan moved back to Paris and started an internship there. Luckily, he was able to get some free time a couple of nights and once for lunch!
For our first night, Stefan took us "off the beaten path" to an authentic French restaurant. I tried escargot (snails) and this dish called Cassoulet, it has sausage, duck, beans…and…I'm not really sure what else, but it was great! The sauce the snails was in is actually the best part…so even if you don't want the snails you can at least dip your bread in there
Day 2: Segway Tour, Picnic Lunch, Notre Dame, & Louvre
When convincing Justin Alex to come to Paris with me he gave me 1 stipulation: I had to go on a Segway tour. I honestly have always thought they were corny and everyone looks really silly, but I was so wrong! It was too awesome. The part that made me most nervous was that the company, Fat Tires, hired 2 people to make a new promotional video of the tour and those people just happened to be in our group! Don't worry, when they finish the video I'll post a link so you can see how scared I looked.
Places we visited on our tour:
Ecole Militaire - military training facilities where Napoleon graduated from in 1 year instead of 2
Musee de l'Armee - In front of the museum is Napoleon's cannons that he brought with him to Russia in 1812
Pont Alexandre III - most elaborately decorated bridge across the Seine and named after the Russian tzar who formed an alliance with France in the late 1800s. This bridge is in the movie Midnight in Paris and a James Bond movie...also an Adele music video haha
Obelisk of Luxor - In the center of the Place de la Concorde and is older than anything in Paris. This was gifted to France in 1829.
Eiffel Tower - built for the 1889 World Fair and was actually supposed to be torn down after 20 years. I didn't have time to go up, but my mom did and got some amazing pictures! Apparently, when you go up there is a place where you can vote what the next color of the tower will be - pink currently has the highest number of votes.
Picnic Lunch: After our Segway tour, Stefan picked us up for a picnic lunch. We got some French bread (amazing), Pate, Foie Gras, Canard Mouse, an unpasteurized cheese, brie, and then Stefan's favorite cheese (can't remember the name, sorry!). We were so lucky that we had a Frenchie (our name for our French friends that went to GT with us) to pick out our cheeses and meats. I think it was the best picnic food of my whole trip.
Afterwards Justin Alex and I walked to the mini statue of liberty since we were so close. Also, I've never been to the one in NY because the line is always ridiculous.
Random free "gym" next to the statue of liberty:
Lastly, (yes the day is not over yet!) Justin Alex and I were able to meet up with another friend from GT! Emmanuel, also a Frenchie, was supposed to meet us in Tours, but due to the train strike could only make it to Paris. We were only able to spend the afternoon with him, but it meant a lot that he still tried to meet up with us after all the train problems. We went to Notre Dame and the Louvre together.
Notre Dame - French Gothic cathedral and known for its flying buttresses and large rose petal stained glass window. When I was a kid I loveeed the Hunchback of Notre Dame and even had a poster of it in my room. Funny thing is that I thought the cathedral was just the two towers that you see in the pictures.
Louvre - This museum is massive. Our tour guide told us that if you just spent 30 seconds at each piece of art, it would take 13 full days (24 hrs) to finish viewing. I also found out that Louis XIV lived here before choosing Versailles as his new home. Justin Alex and I knew that we wouldn't have enough time to go inside, so we just stopped by for a photo op. I'll have to spend a few days here next time.
We also saw the "famous" lock bridge where lovers place a lock on the bridge and throw away the key. Apparently, right before we got there one of the railings broke from the weight of the locks!
Day 3: Rodin Museum, Arc de Triomphe, Sacre Couer, & Moulin Rouge
Today was me and Justin Alex's last day together so we made it count:
Rodin Museum - most famous Romantic sculptor, August Rodin. You might know him because of his sculptures: "The Thinker", "The Kiss", or the "Gates of Hell". I had fun making Justin Alex pose in front of the sculptures (haha). (And a big thanks to Kelle for the suggestion to visit this museum!)
Arc de Triomphe - military memorial to honor the French killed during Napoleon's campaigns. There is an eternal flame underneath to mark the tomb of an unknown soldier from WWI.
Sacre Couer - basilica that stands at the highest point in Paris and is said to be "lily-white". I read that it stays this white from the travertine stone that releases a kind of natural bleach when it gets wet…true story.
Afterwards we had to say goodbye…it was really hard especially after spending almost every day for 2 years in the lab together. But it was probably the funniest goodbye I had: after saying goodbye I got on the metro and Justin Alex ran after it and banged on the windows like in one of those dramatic movies. Everyone was so confused lol!
Day 4: Night bike tour with Stefan
I'm skipping ahead to the next night so I can write about the time in Versailles with my Mom in another post.
After Versailles, Stefan offered to take me to see the Eiffel Tower at night. Little did I know we were going to ride bikes starting from Notre Dame (which is actually quite far). I was a bit nervous because, even though it was 11:00 at night, there were a lot of cars on the road and I'm not used to biking on the street…or at night…(yes, I'm still a kid lol…). But this was definitely one of the highlights of my trip. I was able to see a lot of the sights I previously mentioned but at night and truly get the feel for "The City of Lights". It was beautiful.
We went along the Seine River until we saw the Eiffel Tower and then walked up to Trocadero, the best spot for pictures. We made it just in time for the last light show of the tower at 1am. Thanks again for the great tour Stefan! (The pictures of the light show are a bit blurry because I was running out of time haha).
One last shoutout to Justin Alex, Stefan and Emmanuel for a great time in Paris!