Sunday, May 12, 2013

What the Art Teacher Wore #65

Hubs and I bright and early at the Eiffel Tower. We thought we were so clever by getting there early to "beat the crowds". Yeah, it's the world's most famous monument. There is no crowd-beating.
 And just when you thought I couldn't possibly share any more Parisian vacation photos, I load up some more. I'd apologize but this city is just too amazing not to share. I've also got a smattering of Germany photos as well...but I'll save that for a future update. For now, let's focus on La Tour Eiffel.
I'd read in my travel book that some of the best views of the tower are across the river Seine from the Jardins du Trocadero (that's be Trocadero Gardens to you). Turns out that every tourist on the planet owns a copy of said book as we encountered each and every one snapping away. But really, who could blame 'em?  I mean, even naked statues gotta stop and stare.

 By the way, since this is kind of a "what I wore" post: scarf: Target; sweater: made by me, DIY here; bird blouse: Old Navy; velvet pants: Anthropologie; boots: The Walking Company. We managed to get a couple of photos that didn't have a tourist or twenty in the view. It was actually fun watching them taking photos as they did all sorts of cheesy things like pretending to touch the top of the tower or holding it between their hands. I thought I was so above all that until hubs snapped this photo of me...
 If I told you that this was completely unintentional, would you believe me? Seriously! I had turned my head to do some lipstick-on-my-teeth clearing when hubs snapped this shot. So it turns out I'm just as cheesy as the next tourist. As if that wasn't obvious.
 Nothing can describe the awesomeness that is this tower. Nor can anything describe the insane amount of people there. Thankfully, I'd done a little homework and found that the line to climb the 669 steps to the second level, where one could purchase a ticket to the top, was significantly shorter than the two hour long straight-to-the-top elevator line. The trick was finding the correct line. If it's one thing I noticed about Paris, it's that they don't make anything easy. After asking a half dozen other confused tourists (bad idea, by the way), we found our way to the correct ticket booth and huffed it to the second level. Walking the steps of the Eiffel Tower was very exhilarating for me.
Aw jeez. I can't even look at this photo without feeling a little light headed. After we purchased our tickets to the top and crammed ourselves inside the glass elevator with two dozen strangers, hubs and I both realized we have a fear of two things: heights and small spaces. "Then what are we doing?!" I asked. Hubs said, "I thought you wanted to!" This is the view of the Parc du Champ de Mars. And the view of all the tour buses that visit the tower daily.

And this would be the place where we took those photos seen at the start of this post. We didn't stay at the top too long. For one, I swear I could feel the tower sway in the wind (this is unlikely as the thing is pretty doggone sound. It only moves 9 centimeters max). And I found this constant announcement unsettling: "Ladies and Gentleman, pickpockets are active in the tower. Please guard your belongings. Thank you for your vigilance." Yikes!
 Once back on solid ground, we toured the Parc du Champ de Mars. Everything was blooming so beautifully.

After the tower, I wanted to explore the Latin Quarter (called such because the students of a local university spoke Latin until the Revolution). Just moments after getting off the metro, I was thrilled to see this famous cafe. Sadly, their vegetarian menu was limited so we dined at another cafe just down the Boulevard Saint Germain.
After lunch, I wanted to explore those famous booksellers that my tour book bragged on and on about. I did enjoy strolling this area and even picked up a French fashion magazine from 1937 for just 4 euro.


Have you heard of the Paris love locks? It's this thing were lovers can show their undying love with a lock inscribed with their names. This is a view from the Pont des Arts. That bridge in the distance is Pont Neuf, which means New Bridge. Which is kinda funny since it's the oldest surviving bridge in Paris, having been completed in 1607.
The following day, I wanted to explore Montmartre. This area is the one made famous by artists such as Toulouse Lautrec, the above joint being his fave hangout. But before all those artists descended upon Montmartre, it was an area of mills and vineyards. Currently, there are only a few of the original "moulins" or mills still standing. And this one is still a cabaret.


We took a self-guided walking tour of the area which lead us to the apartment of Vincent van Gogh and the villa for homeless artists that once housed Renoir. I loved this area for it's steep roads and amazing views of Sacre-Coeur, the Church of the Sacred Heart. Since we had to leave our kitty at home, I wore her around Paris (which was met by more than a few odd glances). Crazy cat lady sweater diy here.
Sacre-Coeur sits on a hill above the city. So the views are killer. Just ask any one of the bajillion tourists. The church was built as a memorial to the 58,000 French soldiers killed during the Franco-Prussian war (thank you, tour book). I was a little wore out from all of my waiting in lines at the Eiffel Tower to do the lines to venture inside. Maybe on my next trip.
 What I really wanted to see where the artists at place du Tertre. In fact, before we even made it there, the caricature artists were walking the streets, looking for subjects to draw. One gentleman came up to hubs and said, "Ah! You look like van Gogh! Let me draw your picture." Needless to say, my van Gogh declined.
Holy French Fry, can we just pause for a moment and talk about The Sweets in Paris?! I've never had better. And, if you know me personally, than you know I know my sweets. I've got a little reputation for partaking in dessert first. However, neither I nor my sweet-toothed hubs were prepared for the amazing delights we sampled. My favorite were the macaroons. His was the freshly made raspberry waffle. Or was it the scoops of gelato atop a freshly made waffle? Or the chocolate croissants? Dude, I'm drooling.
I think my favorite part of our trip was this part of town called Marais. A girlfriend had told me that it was a less touristy area full of cafes and boutiques. Walking around here, I actually felt like I was a Parisian. Minus the unchic cat sweater and my hillbilly French. I do believe we sampled every treat and I dove into every boutique this area had to offer. When we found this sweet cat eying us from his spot on the window sill, we couldn't help take a picture (okay, 15 pictures) of the little dude.
Usually we rent a car where ever we go. Which, in Germany, meant a sweet BMW. However, after reading that the Parisians were some of the world's worst drivers, we opted to take the metro. And it really wasn't too hard. Which was good because sometimes help was hard to find. I'm just gonna come on out and say it: I didn't find the majority of Parisians we encountered to be particularly friendly. But, to be fair, I've not always been treated warmly in NYC either. Or any city for that matter. Regardless, we got around without incident and that was nothing short of a miracle for this directionally challenged gal.
On our last evening in Paris, this was the last photo taken: La Defense. It was the most amazing trip to the most incredible city. I've got a huge list of things I want to do next time...but I have a feeling that might be a while. Until then, au revoir, Paris! Je t'aime!





6 comments:

  1. so amazing!!! that is wonderful that you got to go to Paris! :)

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  2. Your photos make me want to visit Paris right now! Did you manage to have a look at the fabric shops at the base of Sacre Coeur? I seem to remember they had some great stuff, but I was too scared of the Parisians to buy anything.

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    1. WHAT?! There were fabric shops?! Oh no...now I have to go back! I know...I didn't buy much while I was there. The prices were crazy! I did go to a thrift store in Germany where I scored some great traditional clothing...but no fabric, sigh.

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  3. Gorgeous photos!!! Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Love these pictures! My daughter and I are going in a few weeks, you gave me some great tips! Thanks!

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    1. Lucky!! I hope you have the most wonderful time. So glad you found my craziness helpful ;) Bon Voyage!

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Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate each and every one :)