Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 4. Paris

After walking all around this city, again, today, I've discovered that I really like it here. Much more than I had anticipated. And I'm not sure why. I mean. I get what people say about the French not being the friendliest of people. I've noticed that trying to speak English to most people will get you nowhere. And fine. Fair enough. But there is an attitude about the people that I can confirm based on my limited interactions during this short trip.

All that aside, however, it's been great. And it's even reminded me of New York City. Which makes it even more surprising that I like it here considering my love/(mostly) hate relationship with NYC.

But there's a buzz and energy here. And it's an easily walkable city with endless options of places to eat, culture to take in, bars to drink at and amazing people watching to do among the backdrop of a truly historic and beautiful city.

Today took us to check out the Arc de Triomphe up close. Before this, we had only seen it way off in the distance. So our first stop was to take the metro right there. It was beautiful and massive. (Check it Katie!)

We went back and forth on whether we should climb up it and ultimately decided to just walk down The Avenue des Champs-Élysée. Which went on forever and ever and ever. Shortly after leaving the Arc de Triomphe, I had mentioned to Amy that I read about some memorial to Princess Diana. I had wondered if we were nearby and of course couldn't find the information in the guidebook I had on hand. But I swore I had seen it in there.

I was a disaster that morning. As I started taking pictures, I realized I had forgotten my memory card and Amy was wonderful, sacrificed her own ability to take pictures, and handed hers over. Crisis averted. Phew!

Anyway, back to one of my favorite memories of the trip...

So Amy couldn't find information either but all of a sudden goes. "Come with me. I think I've figured it out. I got it. This could be really good." My response? "Amy, are you sure? You know how much I hate to backtrack." She was convinced it was right behind us, so we turned around and saw this building with what she believed was the "eternal flame" behind it:

Oh man. I laugh thinking about it, especially knowing that Amy and I will continue to laugh about it for years. Me never letting her forget that one time she thought the Qatar Embassy building was the Princess Diana tribute.

From there we continued walking towards the Musée du Louvre where we sat outside, enjoying the sunshine and taking in everything around us and waited to meet up with our friend Chelsea who we met the night before on the Fat Tire bike tour. She's a teacher (like Amy!) based out of London and is from Chicago. She was brave enough to travel to Paris (and then Bruges) by herself and her resemblance in looks and personality to our friend Dirty Rita made us like her instantly!

Once we met up with Chelsea, we went off in search of a restaurant I had read about in the only guidebook Amy & I had. Le Bouillon Chartier came highly recommended and had exactly what I wanted, but had yet to try while in Paris- steak frites! The guidebook description made it seem fun too (the waiters write out your bill on the paper table cloth). Better yet, it was a great meal and hit the spot!

We made our way back to Montmartre to take it easy for the night. The plan was to enjoy some wine, bread and cheese in the apartment. Pack. Relax. And hang out. We took a few more pictures in our 'hood before going upstairs.

Then we prepared our dinner and got in bed. Yes, honestly.

When all was said and done, I felt- no feel!- so fortunate for our time in Paris. Amy and I did and saw so much in such a short period of time, and we stayed in such a fun and beautiful part of Paris. It was like a dream. Really.

As I've already mentioned, I had no expectations of Paris and due to the craziness and unexpected cruelty in my life before leaving, I had no time to plan anything. If not for Lindsay, I wouldn't have even had a guidebook! But Amy and I continued to travel very well and easily together and we had a wonderful time. I'm so happy for the new memories we created and the countless things that will run randomly through my head and make me laugh out loud.

And while saying goodbye to Amy is never easy, I'm grateful that I still have a week and a half of vacation in Ireland to look forward to tomorrow!


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