Monday, December 16, 2013

Paris Is Always a Good Idea

However much I hate to agree with the masses, I just gotta say it: After visiting 3 times, I have come to the conclusion that Paris is the most wonderful city in the world (at least, that I have been to so far). Yep, gypsies and all. Freakin' love that place.

It's so beyond its architecture, although that sure does help. It's beyond the Eiffel tower, the Seine river, the masterpieces of art, the cobbled roads. To me, it's the small wine bars on the street corner. The fromageries, the bread shops, the macaroons. It's the croque madams, quiches, duck confits, and crepes. It's the people. The waitresses, the vendors selling their paintings, the shop keepers selling scarves. It's the feeling of vibrancy that the city gives me, the take-your-breath-away, heart skipping excitement for no other reason than simply being so happy to partake in this Parisian day. That feeling that with every winding street you walk on, you will find something new. There is no getting lost. There is no taking a wrong turn. It is all an adventure, one filled with such an immense amount of beauty. Being in Paris, you feel like life is wonderful and bountiful, you could live a million years in that city and do something new and exciting every single day.

Whew, so you get the picture. I love this city. I could go there again and again and always be happy. I hope that one day we can live there, but only time will tell!
Not where we stayed, but just a gorgeous hotel
So, the 4 of us hopped on the Eurostar on Friday to take the train to my beloved city. This time, I didn't screw up on our lodging and we stayed in a private flat, right by the Louvre.

Daniel and I got to sleep on a loft bed, Brandee and Justin got the pull out couch. It was all lovely and a wonderful experience. I don't know if I would always recommend renting a flat, but for Paris, I really do. It just makes me feel like I am experiencing true Parisian life.

Justin and Brandee are novice Parisians. We got them to eat stinky cheese, but couldn't convince them that the rind is edible

He thought that if he made this face, I wouldn't put the pic in my blog. He thought wrong.

We walked along the Seine, back to the wine bar that we so loved when we visited with my mom and sister. Our same adorable waitress, Chloe, was there. She remembered Daniel and me, and that we lived in London but were from TX. Whoever says French people are impolite and rude really need to go back and give these people a second chance.
Leaving with warm bellies, we walked to The Latin Quarter (I deem this my favorite area in Paris) and had dinner at a little bistro, where I had Steak frittes and everyone else had croque madam (a ham, egg, and cheese sandwich). Had to get a pic of the decor- Scooby holding the Tasmanian Devil's head. Silly Europeans! 

 The next day, Daniel and I split up from Brandee and Justin. They wanted to see things that we had just seen a few weeks ago, and there are so many other attractions that need to be experienced!

Daniel and I started off our morning with breakfast by our flat- him, a hard boiled egg and fresh squeezed OJ; Me, a chocolatey waffle and latte.

Our first stop was to the Catacombs. We had to take the metro (which was fairly easy to understand) South of the river. The line was crazy long, and we had to wait for 90 minutes before getting in!
I called this man the Crypt Keeper. He was the man with all of the power, deciding when to let people in and how many at a time. I suppose whenever the ghosts of the catacombs called out to him, he would let a handful of people in, about every 10 minutes. If I would have known how long we would have to have waited for, we would have done something else! 

The catacombs came about in the 1700's. The cemeteries were overcrowded and there was no more room to bury the dead, so the king declared that the bones would be dug up and thrown into this underground maze of tunnels by the cemetery. The bones of six million people were transferred there in the late 1700's, and dead bodies continued to be deposited in the quarries until the mid 1800's. It was later that an artist decided to arrange the bones in such a way. It took 20 years for his project to be complete. And this, people, is why I want to be cremated when I die! 
Gotta say, I can't recommend the catacombs. It was a very cool thing to see, but not worth the wait. Maybe if you go at opening time on a weekday. 

We were a bit rushed through the catacombs because we had a wine class to attend, at a wine bar called O Chateau. We only got to try 3 different French wines, but we learned so much about wine! Some tidbits:
-Always buy 2005 and 2009 French red wines
-The more north, the drier the wine
-If you can read text through a glass of red wine, then it is light bodied. If you can't read it, it's full bodied.
-The cheaper the grape, the more sulfates added
-If the bottle is from a "Domaine" then it is a small mom and pop producer; from a Chateau, then it's from the big dogs. 
-A sweet French white wine is usually in a clear bottle; a dry white is usually in a green bottle

Our 3 tastes were clearly not enough, so Daniel and I wandered the streets to find some more wine (not a difficult task, when in Paris!). I had the most decadent, velvety glass of champagne. I rarely drink actual champagne, so it was such a treat. 

Library by the wine bar

We met up with Justin and Brandee for dinner, where Daniel and I split Duck confit and a Nutella crepe. We wandered to another wine bar, where we had our last glass of wine in Paris for 2013. 

Au revoir, Paris! I do hope to see you again soon!

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