Friday, December 5, 2014

3 Days in Paris!

Doesn't this look like a poster?  There happened to be a festival 
happening on the grounds of the Eiffel Tower, the day we strolled
around, and I was simply blown away by the beauty and random 
juxtaposition of the steel and balloons against the perfect sky backdrop. 

While booking a flight to Morocco, we noticed we would be switching planes in Paris, France.  It seems like it would go against every bit of who I am to just switch plans...instead, I switched flight dates, so we could spend a few days exploring the city of lights, before heading on to Morocco.

Some of my favorite studies from college were the history of both arts and architecture, so these precious few days often felt like flipping through the pages of well worn text books. I was in heaven!

Apologies in advance for the abridged and slightly scattered photographic journey of this trip.  We took hundreds of pictures, but I am just sharing a large handful here.  Please do enjoy!  

 I am the worst packer in the entire world.  no, for reals.  If there was an 
actual way to pack a kitchen sink, I would pack it.  So, the hubs
didn't believe it when I shoved everything I needed for our 12 days of travel, 
 into my old trusty weekend pack (est. as my favzy in 1997). I even had room to
throw in 2 vacant duffel bags, knowing I would go treasure hunting in Morocco. 

Where's Waldo (do you see me)?  We took the train from the airport
to our hotel, which was a block off  Luxembourg Park.
Not knowing anything about where to stay in the city, I
quickly realized we were very central and could walk absolutely
everywhere.  The stairs of the hotel were my most favorite thing.

Creaky old stairs wrapped in dizzying carpet,
sandwiched between red railings and walls...
sign me up!

 Arriving on the red eye meant we arrived in the city by
10am.  Much too early to check into our cutie little hotel
(which I do think was a blessing, because who wants to
catch a nap when you have so little time to explore?) so
we dropped our bags and set off on foot.  we headed
towards the cathedral Notre Dame.  Oh my, what a beauty!
Some fun bits of architecture to spot in this picture:
pointed arches
rose/wheel window
gargoyles (grotesques)
and on and on...

I am a total sucker for Gothic Architecture.  I felt overwhelmed
by this cathedral, when studying it in text books, so imagine how
crazed I felt standing before it.  Outrageous.

wheel windows for days!

flying buttress!

corinthian order
rib vaulting


I could have sat and stared at the stained glass
for hours!  Breathtaking!

Those lucky Parisians.
First they have the ridiculous architecture, then they have
double on the ridic pastry shops.  OMG, look at those meringues!

 Palmier, anyone?

When I bake these up, they are a few bites in size.  This was more
reminiscent of an American style treat, the Elephant Ear!!

Bellies full of pastries, we kept exploring.  We
wandered into every cathedral we saw.  I am
afraid I don't know remember the names of all,
but I certainly remember the magic I felt in each of
them. Again, the architecture.  Today we watch buildings go
up in minutes (wondering if they will stand
the test of time) and then you pause and look at the builds
of history and you see every second, minute, year of detail
that went into the construction.  Fascinating!

 Parisian streets.  Seriously, as lovely as I
could have ever imagined!

Hulk Hogan.  I suspect.

See, I was actually there.

See, I bite me lower lip, even on vacation.
Must work on that!

What a fun little surprise.  We got to our hotel to unwind for the night,
and I walk out onto the room's balcony and we could see the Eiffel Tower.
It looked fake, peaking out of from behind all the old residential buildings. 
I couldn't wait to get up morning 2, and head that way!
 After a morning stop at a pastry shop, of course!

 mmmm the breakfast of champions!

Seriously, bury me in a french bakery, when I leave this earth.

On second thought, bury me in a french bakery
 next to a french floral shop. 

 More cathedral love.  I was obsessed with 
this glass pattern.  

This felt like the Secret Garden.  Which
happens to be my most favorite musical EVER.

As if those aren't the coolest window surrounds,
in the history of window surrounds.

Oh my!

Did I just copy and paste this image from a
poster catalog?  Looks fake, right?

We didn't go to the top of the Eiffel Tower,
because the lines were outrageous and we only had
3 days to explore the city.  It was funny talking to my
father-in-law who had visited 50 years prior and he
talked of heading straight up to the top, no wait.
Oh how the times have changed.

We DID take the requisite kissing pic, in front of the tower,
however we looked like hot garbage, laughed and chalked
it up to the experience. 
The experience being: no one ever needs to see it.  

Arc de Triomphe

Close up of the arch.  Amazing carved details!
Just in awe of the craftsmanship of history. 

We should just call it like it is.  This man should
have been our tour guide.  Just up the block from our
hotel, he made the most ridic crepes and his shop was
a frequent stop.  Sweet or savory, we don't discriminate.

 Our third morning started off like the other mornings,
pastries and a walk through the park up the block,
Luxembourg Gardens.  What a lovely spot.  It
made us feel at home, while being so far away.

Much like a big city park here in the states, the park was
 bustling at an early hour with dog walkers, runners, children
playing, and people catching up on the paper news.  Just lovely. 

Looks fake, right?  I still don't understand the palm trees, but when
the overall place is sweet and relaxing, you let that oddity slip.

A must see.  A taste of local life, I would say.

Guess what you get when blog a trip a thousand years after you return?
You forget where you were when you snapped.  I do remember
we walked a long way (which direction, I have no clue), up a
hill and then around a bend...and there was a dude playing a weird
instrument out front.  Does this narrow it down?

Have no fear, Zac will remember. 
I will ask him when he returns from his ski
adventures with Logi...

From mosaic heaven, of unknown (will soon know) cathedral we
marched on to Moulin Rouge.  I would have loved to have seen
it all lit up in the night sky, but the street felt a wee bit seedy, so
I was more happy to be there during the day.

We continued our tour by foot and popped into the Paris Opera House.
I snapped this pic of the floor because A) I love a good mosaic and
B) the fret is beyond gorgeous! I am a sucker for fret patterns!

 After a long ass morning of walking and exploring, it was time to
get some profiteroles in our bellies.  I of course forgot to take
a picture of the beautiful plate that arrived, but snapped one after...
to never forget that moment.  OMG.


 Jelly fish rank quite high in things I am quite afraid of, but I looooved
this bit of street art.

I am also a sucker for key patterns.  Seriously. Love. Spotted on
a modest residential, multi-family building.  Lucky devils.

Quite by accident, but much to our happiness we stumbled upon
Cafe Procope.  The many haunts who have sat at these small tables.
Hard to comprehend, but a few names to throw out:

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Benjamin Franklin,'s 
me guessing that Franklin had seconds on the profiteroles!

You guys, I am spent.  I am certain I am missing some key components of this adventure  

We sure did enjoy our quick adventure.  Stay tuned for some travels through Morocco. 

Shout out to my amazing in-laws, who drove down from Minnesota
to be with the littles, so we could set off on this adventure.  We couldn't have done it
without them.  I am forever grateful for them.

and to my French mates from high school (you know who you are... the ones who played Bravo (bingo!) on the weekly and learned next to nothing, I say to to you, my friends
(in English because I of course can't translate this to French)

ps. if you do translate that, knowing it was the one phrase you held on to from 
our rigorous studies, you quickly realize we actually learned nothing.  No comment.

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