Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Paradoxical Paris.

Paris is the city of love. Amour. At the expense of losing every potential reader right here though, I have to say - I didn't really feel the love. Maybe it was the rain. It could've been the windy, chilly weather. 

That doesn't make sense, though, because it was nothing that London didn't throw at us. I think it was a bad taste left in my mouth from my first trip in 2005. I had take three years of French, was proficient enough to hold casual conversations, and was nearly peeing myself with excitement in the months leading up to my first trip out of the country. The Parisians burst my bubble quickly, responding to my French in English with a look of please just stop. I remember this one shop lady's degrading look as I asked about the price of a very touristy tie for my dad to. this. day. I was traumatized, hurt, and so upset. I was really trying, I loved the culture, and the little confidence bubble was shattered. Luckily, I love the south of France much more and found the people much nicer, saving my opinion of the entire country. And then, in hindsight, maybe I'm making more of it than need be - I mean, I went back, right?

I did go back. For two quick days, Zach and I rambled the city and tried to stay warm and dry. Our first stop was actually outside the city to Versailles. If you want to see a palace, you have to go to Versailles. It epitomizes the wealthy opulence that ruled the time.


Versailles was the palace of Louis XIV, the Sun King. Hence all the gold. This guy was really into making sure you knew that. It was like Jay-Z, expect he wanted all gold everything.

 

If it couldn't be gold, because commoners walking on gold would just tarnish it, I suspect, then it might as well be marble. Or something else rare and expensive.


I feel like I don't even need to write about these pictures. Ya'll just need time to wipe your jaw up off the floor. I'm surprised the house hasn't sunk from the weight of all this marble and gold. Honestly. 


This is the famous Hall of Mirrors. It's a hallway - can you even imagine scuttling between your bedroom and bathroom under more than a dozen chandeliers? I don't know how he did it.


This is the door that Marie Antoinette escaped out of when the French stormed the castle. It's kind of hard to imagine her big skirt fitting through there, but girl made it work.


They didn't skimp out on the gardens, either. The fountains were likely more expensive than my currently non-existent house. This one in particular is Apollo, and when the sun's just right, it looks like he's pulling the sun out of the water and into Louis' home. I guess.

 
Otherwise the gardens were very French. They were symmetrical and immaculate. We learned from our walking tour (which happened the next day, but I can make up time in these posts) that the French detested grass because they couldn't control it in the 1700s. So they just took it all out and replaced it with sand, which they could control. Type A much?

When we were back in Paris, we climbed up the many stairs in Montmartre to Sacre Coeur. There are some great views of the city up here, though I'm not going to show you them because it was a foggy night and I don't want to spoil it. Night pictures wouldn't do it justice, anyway.


Zach said he felt like this was the Paris he had imagined: windy roads, hole-in-the-wall places, and turning the corner to something you didn't expect. Bam. Basilica. Bam. Carousel. All these things jumped out at us.


I don't think he was expecting it to be quite as steep, however. Then we wandered over to the Eiffel Tower, as our tickets were for the last elevator to the top. When I saw wander, I mean took the metro, because otherwise it'd be a haul. Quick note about the metros: they're quick, they go many places, but they house many homeless, so they're smelly. I wasn't expecting to find that around underground corners, and some were drunk and yelling things/following people, so it's just something to be wary of when traveling. Still, it's the cheapest and most convenient way to get around. Besides, they have stops like Madeline.

 
That's not exciting as the Eiffel Tower, though.


When we planned our trip, there was only one time slot to travel to the top. Everything always works out for Zach, so I attribute this lucky timing to this. The trip to the top make my stomach jump a bit, but the views are very worth it. Again, the nighttime shots won't do it justice and I don't want to ruin it. 

 
I'll just try and distract you with a sparkling Eiffel Tower instead. Fun fact: Eiffel had an apartment at the top of tower where he welcomed special guests, such as Thomas Edison. Living the high life.

I had full intentions of wrapping all of Paris into one post, but it's not happenin'. I have too many pictures and the second part of this will include the free walking tours, of which I've become a groupie, and that means fun facts. So I'll be back with that on Thursday. I'm also a master procrastinator.

But I know some of you have been to Paris and Versailles. So what do you think? I feel I was a bit harsh and want to take it all back above, but am I fair? I've talked to some people who have felt the same, and then one of my best friends lived and studied there for a year and loves the city. It's probably like anything else where everyone has an opinion; I'd love to hear yours!

I'm linking up with Helene for travel Tuesday. There's so many inspirational places to check out!

 

Helene in Between

4 comments:

  1. oh i adore versailles!! it was just so gorgeous I could hardly believe it. paris is definitely one of my favorite places ever!

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    1. I know! I felt like my jaw was dragging on the floor the entire time! I can't imagine living there.

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  2. I felt the same about Paris, too. I went with my mom and sister back in May 2005 and again in August 2007. We tired our best to be polite and use our limited French and were greeted with snark so it definitely tarnished our view of the city, unfortunately. I've heard the same from several friends...

    It is beautiful, though, and Versailles is just amazing!

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    1. I'm so glad to hear that, Christelle. Well, not glad, but comforted that I'm not alone. We'll just have to travel there in upbeat groups :)

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