The French Fairytale: Partie Deux

Part one involved castles. Part two involves a castle of a different type… Sleeping Beauty’s castle at Disneyland Paris! We actually ended the week at Disney, so I’ll try not to get ahead of myself!

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I am lucky to be in a relationship in which my partner and I travel well together. We have the same wandering style. We will pick a neighborhood, explore, and find what we find. Whatever happens happens. We don’t have great expectations about anything, but usually end up having the BEST time. We are low-key. We pack bananas and chocolate and our water bottles and live off of bread purchased in bakeries. We don’t spend a lot of time or money on mealtimes because we would rather explore or picnic outdoors in a beautiful area. We will feast in a restaurant if we’ve had a particularly long and exhausting day of adventures. With that said, welcome to our second week in Paris!

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Tuesday – The Louvre and Montparnasse
We spent our day exploring iconic city scenes. We began in the 1st arrondissement at the Louvre. We chose to enjoy the gardens rather than spend any time indoors because it was a beautiful day (and I have already visited the Louvre itself)! We hung out in the shade, watching people literally run to catch Pokemon. I never thought I’d see the day where I hung out at the Louvre and watched people catch Pokemon. Mamma mia.

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Lovely day in Louvre-town.

We slowly made our way across the grand, Art Nouveau style bridge, Pont Alexandre III, to visit the Grand Palais. To humor me, we took the long stroll down the Champs Elysees. My first time there in 2012 left a better impression on me when I was new to Europe. I found the Champ to be a little too loud, busy, and overwhelming this time. Damn tourists! (Lolz, I jest).

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Holy crepe!

Having enough of the tourist-run areas, we headed to the 14th arrondissement and had a late dinner of crepes in the Montparnasse. Before I entered a relationship with a French dude, I thought, “Crepes?! That’s nothing. That’s an appetizer!” Au contraire. 😉 The French know how to stuff their dough. L had a crepe with scallops, onions, and leek sauce. I opted for a veggie crepe with Mediterranean style veggies-  zucchini, mushroom, pepper, onion, and feta cheese.

Wednesday – Versailles
We got tickets to explore Marie-Antoinette’s side of the gardens along with her “modest home.” L is my resident French historian, so he gave me the backstory before we went. He informed me that Marie-Antoinette did not want to raise her children in such a gigantic palace. She understandably wanted something smaller, more down-to-earth. I was expecting a small, charming cottage at the edge of a lake or something. Er, no. Her private chateau, The Petit Trianon, was definitely STILL LARGE AND IN CHARGE. He failed to mention that she had an entire estate to herself and her servants. Just ’cause she wanted a little privacy didn’t mean she didn’t want her own theater, chapel, and hiking landscapes, designed to mimic the terrain in her homeland of Austria! Eh, to each her own. It was gorgeous, and I don’t blame her! 😉

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Palace gates. That blue and gold though.

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And now for some photos from Marie-Antoinette’s private estate!

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Thursday – Disneyland Paris
All the details to come in another post. Because there are just way too many to share here!

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Friday – Eiffel Tower Disaster of 2016
We decided to visit the neighborhoods surrounding the Eiffel Tower. The park with the tower, Champ de Mars, is obviously very beautiful, but there is something extra romantic about hanging out, distant from the tower, but always having it in the background. It peeps out over rooftops and treetops. It makes its presence known in many, obscure parts of the city. Did you notice it decorating the skyline in my bridge shot from Tuesday?

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You do not need tickets to enter the space beneath the tower, but you must go through security. Once you’re under the tower, you can buy tickets to climb or take an elevator to the top from two of the four sides. We noticed that the line to ascend was quite small and decided to climb the stairs to the observation deck because, why not, right? I should addend that. I agreed to climb the tower despite my crippling fear of heights. To be honest, I’ve been in higher spaces. The Willis (RIP Sears) Tower in Chicago, and, well, other places I’m sure hahaha. But it was the open-air of the tower that really freaked me out, in addition to the fact that the wind was very strong that day. About three flights in I started to feel a little panic. Then I made the mistake of looking down. It’s an intimidating climb for anyone, but especially someone with my fear of heights. I gripped the rails like my life depended on it (it sorta did), and made it to the middle observation deck. In case you didn’t know, it’s quite fancy. There is a bar, a fountain, and apparently an event space. I believe a wedding reception was being held at that time. Can you imagine how swanky your wedding must be to have your reception in the dang Eiffel Tower? Despite the fact that I was experiencing a mild panic attack, we did enter the tower at a nice time. The sun was going down, and we got to experience being within the tower as the lights came on in the city.

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One of the views convincing me that death was imminent.

Once we got to the middle, I was hoping for some relief, but the open-air panoramic view of the city didn’t help matters at all. I sat down on a bench and tried to enjoy the view, but every gust of wind had me fearing for my life. L wanted to continue to the highest observation deck, so I stayed glued to my bench while he braved the conditions. It’s funny to me now, but at the time I was hyperventilating, gripping anything steady in sight with my sweaty palms. See face below.

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I would prefer to love the Tour Eiffel from a distance. Sorry, babe, it’s not you. It’s me.

Saturday –  Sacré-Cœur
We started and ended the day at the stunning Sacré-Cœur. Here is my breakfast that came from a neighboring cafe:

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All the berries.

We enjoyed the view of the city at the beginning and end of the day.

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Ending the day with this view.

I wish I had something more compelling, but we literally roamed around all day. Up and down the hills of the surrounding neighborhood. Coffee was had. Quiche was eaten. When we left the church we were starving. We stumbled upon the BEST Thai restaurant. I don’t even know the name- I’m a terrible blogger! I had curried crab. It was 8 euros. Eight friggin’ euros for crab in Paris! And it was delectable. L was pleased with his choice as well. I’m quite sad we found the place before we left, or else I have a feeling we would have returned!

 

Our final day, Sunday, was spent at the Place des Vosges and the Pompidou Center, following a late lunch with L’s grandma. I really tried to soak in the last hours of Paris, so I didn’t take any photos!

I had an amazing holiday in France. I’m very thankful for my time there and hope to return to experience a different season! ❤

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