Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Birthday Weekend in Paris 2012

We are quite the travelers at the moment--trying to get in all these last minute trips before we head back to the gold ol' U-S of A here in July. So for memorial day weekend, which also happened to be my birthday weekend this year, we decided to take a trip to Paris, since we hadn't been there yet in our 4 years over seas. While we were there we had a lot of fun taking in the sights, and eating yummy French food. Jeremy and I literally walked ALLLLLLLL of Paris, it was a but ridiculous and our feet were definitely hating us; but I was terrified of using the metro, and for good reason because when we finally had to use it to get back to our hotel, we TOTALLY got lost.

Our first night in Paris we had traveled for 11 hours to get there because the tour bus we had gone with ran into ever possible delay we could have had, traffic, missed the ferry, more traffic--so it too much longer than usual. Anyway the night we just wanted to take it easy so we stayed with the group and went to this awesome French restaurant. The food was great and the atmosphere was amazing, plus it was all you can drink wine,which you just can't complain about! We sat with this great couple from the tour names Bill and BJ, a lovely retired couple from Florida. They ended up being great company through the entire trip! After the dinner we headed back to our hotel and called it a night since we had an early start the next morning.

The second day of the trip we were off to an early start as we had a lot of sights to take in! We started the morning with a lovely bus tour that host of the highlights, but wasn't really great for photos ops, but gave us a good idea of the city for our own exploring later. After the bus tour we took a river crui tour which was really neat, but once again I picked the wrong side of the boat and didn't get a ton of good pictures--I always seem to do that! After the boat tour they too us to the Louvre and dropped us all off for free time the rest of the day. We went with our new friends Bill and BJ adage lunch at the U.S. embassy--which I so lovingly call McDonalds! Ha ha it's cheap and easy in any country. Don't judge. After that we went inside the Louvre, which is HUGE! It took us 3 hours to hit the highlights we wanted to see such as the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, the Venus di Milo, and Neapolitan's apartment. Later we stopped for a drink on this balcony of the museum and got s great view of the famous glass pyramids, as wells an awesome view of the Eiffel tower. I'm not really a museum person myself, but it was really neat to see! After the Louvre, I was on a mission; ever since we got stationed in England I have been telling Jeremy that I wanted to get a expensive handbag,like a Chanel or a Louis Vuitton when we went to Paris. Paris is where both Louis Vuitton and Chanel originated so where better than to pick up my lovely "souvenir!" so we headed back to the Champs Élysées, which is the most famous shopping street in France and headed to the three story Louis Vuitton store--my version of the Louvre for sure! We checked out Chanel but she was a little bit out of my I'll have to keep saving my pennies! I did however end up getting a beautiful Louis Vuitton bag which ended up being my birthday present from my sweet hubby! My parents even helped out a little too! So happy birthday to me! I was so excited--if any of you know me well you know I LOVE fashion, and I'm a fashion major,so this was a big deal to me! I'm already go try next one picked out *wink!* After we were done at the Champs Élysées we walked up the street to the Arc de Triumph monument, which is HUGE! It is surrounded by one of the busiest roundabouts in Paris so you actually have to walk underneath and underground tunnel to walk up to it. We actually sat and rested here for about 30 minutes before headed over to the Eiffel tower once again. I was determined to stay out until it lit up. This time of year it doesn't start getting dark until about 10pm, so we went and had dinner at a restaurant down the street until the sun went down. After we got to see the tower all lit up we decided to call it a night and head back to the hotel...this is where my funny story about getting lost comes in...(after a few pictures!)

 Sophia Loren's Paris apartment! 

So we were wandering around Paris trying to figure out where we were where going. We knew which train we needed, however finding the right station was another story--you think I would be used to an Underground since I'm a pro at navigating that, totally different when it's in French! Anyway as we are aimlessly walking in and out of metro stations trying to figure out where in the heck we were going when Jeremy starts talking to a girl who was definitely American--her and her group of friends seemed like they knew what they heck they were doing so we asked them if they would help is and they gladly obliged, telling us they had a hard time figuring it out at first too. Well they helped us find the trains we needed to take which happened to be on the same path as theirs so they offered to get us on the right track and stay with us until we got to the station we needed. They were so nice! So we got talking to the and asking the usual questions i.e. "so where are you from?" we replied telling them we were from Utah, near Salt Lake City. The one girl literally stopped dead in her tracks and said "NO WAY! We all went to school at BYU!" turns out they had lived in Utah at some point in time, and one the guys was even from Orem. I was in shock! It just goes to show what a small small world it really is! Well it only took us 3 hours but we finally made it back to our hotel in one piece. Our hotel mind you want kind of in the ghetto, so it was a little intimidating navigating at night when a Louis Vuitton shopping bag in hand...I literally thought we were going to get mugged. But like I said we were fine! We definitely didn't stay out too late the following night, but we also had a much easier time finding the hotel--oh we'll at least I got to see the Eiffel tower all lit up!

After our adventure on the second day we were ready to tackle the third day. We chose to do another group activity in the morning which took us to the Palace of Versailles. We stood in line for 2 hours just to get in. It was a beautiful weekend in Paris, the sun was shining, and we were turkey soaking up the sun. However like a dummy I totally forgot sunscreen, so needless to say my fair skin was FRIED by the end of wait in line. The Palace was really neat; but once again I'm not a huge history buff or anything so I couldn't even tell you much about that place except that it was pretty! After that we headed back into the city as we had a couple more things we wanted to go see. They dropped us off at Hard Rock cafe Paris where we did get a bite to eat, and I got my Hard Rock charm for my bracelet (I have been collecting the guitar pick charms from most of the cities I visit since they are super easy to find when I can't find any other charms from that city!). After this we went off on our own to Notre Dam which was a beautiful walk, and the cathedral itself is very beautiful. Right up from Notre Dam is the famous love bridge--it is here where for years lovers have placed locks with their names inscribed on them in hopes for true everlasting love! Of course we had to leave our lock, and toss the me into river! After that we decided the day had been long enough so we headed back to the hotel to get a good nights sleep before our morning departure.

 Gate of the the Palace

 The Hall of Mirrors 

We left Paris the next morning which was also my Birthday morning, so I did in fact spend my Birthday on a bus! No worries though I had purchased some amazing macaroons form Lauderee which were so yummy, I counted those a my "birthday cake." We arrived home in the early evening which we were grateful for since we basically had that evening and the next day to pack for our 11 day cruise! I am so glad we did get to see Paris, it was such lovely city. The people weren't as rude as I had expected, and overall it was a great experience. I still feel like I'm living a deal sometimes with all of these amazing places we have been and the cultures that we have gotten to experience. It's definitely something I would have never thought I'd get to do in my early twenties...if ever. I feel so lucky!

Anyway thats all for this post. Stay tuned though, I will be posting about each port from our cruise and sharing pictures from that as well! It's going to be blog post overload I'm sure!

Until next time!


PS--This is kind of turing into a "travel log" for me at the moment because I want to remember all of these amazing trips! I think when the year is over I'm going to have my blog posts printed into an actual book that I can keep as well!

If you want to check out my other blog come visit me HERE!!

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