Saturday, February 25 & Sunday, February 26: Paris
Saturday morning my first stop on my agenda, after the hotel breakfast, was the Eiffel tower. I waited in line and bought a ticket to go to the top. As I went up there were parts that you can see out and watch the buildings and people below get smaller and smaller. Once I made it to the second floor of the tower i started to get a little scared of the height. This usually is not a problem for me but I think it was the openness of it, that I was outside and not inside. I had to wait in line for a bit to get on an elevator to the top. It was pretty windy and cold. Once I made it to the top there was an indoor and outdoor section. I went to the out door section and it is caged off for safety purposes so I wasn't easy to get a cool picture at the top of me looking over the city. I spent most of my time at the top in the indoor section because I was cold. It was incredible. When you are on the ground looking at the Eiffel tower it doesn't seem as tall as it is. However, once you are at the top it is quite a view with nothing even close in height in the distance. It was a lot different than going to the top of the Willis Tower in Chicago because there are many tall buildings surrounding it.
Up next, the Louvre. I booked an Uber pool and headed to the Louvre. Uber pool saved me some money but made the trips longer but in this case I was trying to save money not time. At the Louvre I searched out as many of the famous artworks I could remember learning about in Art History as I could. I spend close to three hours there and I could have easily spent more. I saw the Mona Lisa, and like every one else says, yes it is smaller than you think... and really hard to get a good picture of because it is cover by glass. It is the best known, most visited, most written about and most sung about piece of art in the world. It was stolen form the museum twice, had acid thrown at it, it was sprayed with red spray paint and had a ceramic teacup thrown at the bullet proof glass that covers it. It survived all of these attacks. Most of the hype behind the Mona Lisa is the subjects facial expression that Leonardi da Vinci captured. What was she thinking about? I really enjoy museums and getting a glimpse at life and what it was like. History has always fascinated me, I just was never good at memorizing dates and what happened on those dates in class. I enjoyed listening to the story.
I stayed at the Louvre until I was starving. The plan was to get dinner somewhere in the historic district of Le Marais. In order to get there I could pay 7 to 8 euros to get an Uber or 1.50 to take the Metro. The Metro was intimidating for me being alone but I toughed it out and in the end really grew to love the Metro and wish there was one in Florence. But, Florence is too small for one, it only take about 20 minutes to walk across Florence. I ate at La Favorite and sat across from the window. I ordered a burger and a beer. Leaving all of Grand Rapids greta burgers really made me realize how much I like them. Food at restaurants back home does not exist in Florence. So I have been on a search for a good burger. The one at La Favorite was decent, I am not a huge fan of eggs on my burgers. Unfortunately, I didn't know the burger I chose had one on it. All in all it was still a fulfilling meal. After dinner I found some macaroons to take to the hotel with me. Then I headed back to the hotel to get an long nights sleep to recuperate from my illness. At the end of the day my purse was overflowing with tissues.
Sunday I ate my breakfast and then took my luggage with me on the Metro to Sacre Coeur. The Sacre Coeur is a Roman Catholic Church dedicated to the sacred heart of Jesus. The cathedral sits on top of a hill and overlooks the city of Paris. Unfortunately, I couldn't go into the church with my luggage but I ran into two girls, one of whom had luggage and had never been inside. I offered to watch their luggage so they could go inside and look if they would do the same in return for me. In the end the other girl decided to stay an watch our stuff so we could both go in together since she had already been inside. The inside was beautiful and there was a service going on while we walked through. It was full of people. They even sang praises at one point. it echoed beautifully throughout the church. After the church I walked through the streets and found a square full of artists selling their work to tourists. I kick myself for not getting a painting there. I had my eyes on one and even went back a second time to get one. I decided against it. I will get a painting of the Ponte Vecchio instead since I live right on the corner of it and walk the bridge everyday to go to class. Also the Ponte Vecchio is full of small jewelry shops up and down the bridge. It is beautiful. Enjoy walking it everyday. Next on my agenda was to see Moulin Rouge where the movie Moulin Rouge took place. Then I stopped at an Irish pub conveniently because I was headed to Ireland the next weekend. The man who worked there gave me many tips and where to go and what to see. Then I took the metro to the train station and took the train to the airport. I still cannot believe I did all of this on my own. I look at it as quite the accomplishment. If I can do that, I can do anything on my own.
Paris was incredible and I had a very good experience. I fell in love with the city and will be back. There is still so much left to do and see in the city. I was warned that French people can be rude to Americans but I met nothing but nice French people and was treated very well. Thank you France for your kindness!