Even though school in Lyon has come to a close, I am still in Europe for another two weeks with my family in Paris! Although it is kind of a bummer not be be able to be home and seeing everyone in California for another two weeks while everyone else posts Facebook updates at the beach, it is going to be a fantastic experience to spend Christmas and New Years in the city of lights. Also, a bunch of my friends are also in Paris, which I did not know about until just a few days ago, so my family and I (hopefully) will not be entirely sick of each other by the time this week and a half comes to a close.
I thought that because I am going to be in Paris for such a long time, have access to a computer (thanks Dad!) and solid internet connection, that I would do an update about Paris in a few parts so that I don’t just come out with a full length post that would rival my Prague one in length. And so here we are, with Paris – Part One! In this ~very exclusive episode~ you will be able to see some pics from the Arc de Triumph, Montmartre, a simdge of the Louvre and…DISNEYLAND PARIS! Unfortunately, I learned that my brother is the worst photographer in the entire world, so there are barely any pictures of me, and the ones that are of me are comically bad. And because of this, we come to another reason why I am doing a step by step update of Paris…because there will be no photos of me here to remember it by so all I will have are these few blog entries. Anyway! Moving on.
The first night I got to Paris, it was already 9 pm and my family was pretty jet lagged so everyone went right to sleep as I stayed up until my usual midnight watching That 70s Show (riveting). The next day we made a point to get up and go on a three hour walking tour so that we would get a nice introduction into the city the first real day that we were all there. This was great because, even though I sort of already had a grasp on the French history and had seen all of the major monuments before, my brother has never been to Paris before and this was his first time seeing any of this stuff in real life. He also learned a lot about the history and that the French don’t always surrender during the battles they are involved in, which was a cool experience for him (and made me feel really smart when I knew the answers to the questions that he was asking).
The picture above is from atop the Arc de Triumph, which is something that I had never really seen because last time I was in Paris, they were doing renovations on it and no one was allowed to go up to the top. So this time, we all got up there and took a look around the city. I had an instant flashback to when I was up on the Eiffel Tower the last time and was completely amazed by how the streets just seemed to go on and on and on in a specific pattern so typical of European cities, but not so much American ones. The same feeling came back to me here, but I think it hit my brother much harder since he kind of just stared off into the distance for a while.
Look at dat smile.
After the Arc, we rushed over to Montmarte, where the famous Moulin Rouge is along with a bunch of random sex shops and art history. We decided to go here at night not because we were super into seeing what the sex shops had to offer, but because we had another tour which had promised me stories about Van Gogh, so I automatically was totally in. The only bad thing about the tour was that I really wanted to take pictures of a lot of the things that we talked about, but my camera seems to just turn off at night and doesn’t enjoy taking pictures that look good. So, unfortunately for me, most of my pictures are just a blur from that night ):
Necessary pic of the Moulin Rouge.
Thankfully there was enough light to capture the Moulin Rough, but just in case you were wondering (just in case I want to remember in two weeks), some of the things I saw that I wasn’t able to get a picture of include:
1) The first place that Picasso went and hung out in Paris; this is also the location of where many of France’s favorite artists hung out after Le Chat Noir closed
2) Where Picasso lived for 10 years while he was hanging out in Paris
3) Where Van Goghs brother’s used to live
4) The statue of Marcel Ayme walking through a wall because of his science fiction book aptly titled, The Man Who Could Walk Through Walls (or something like that. You get the idea)
5) Dalida’s statue in the middle of the gay district and the Jewish district. Dalida was an Italian woman who was born and raised in Egypt, who then became Miss Egypt, and then became a French disco singer who was engaged three times, all of which ended in the man killing himself. After the third time, she decided that she was probably the problem and killed herself. However, because of her whole disco thing, she is still a big star in the French gay scene. Not really sure about the Jewish scene, but whatever.
After all of the time walking around the hill learning about how Van Gogh used to eat paint, how Toulouse Lautrec was an alcoholic midget, and about how Picasso’s best friend completely destroyed all of his paintings, we reached Sacre Coeur! This was another thing I had never seen before, and something my brother knew he wanted to see before we had arrived and it didn’t disappoint. There was a terrifying looking Jesus representation inside the Church which I think would frighten anyone away from religion, but besides that, the entire inside was extremely impressive and the outside was completely gorgeous (despite the hodge podge of styles that are used in the outside design). There was also a Christmas market surrounding the church and I was able to get my first vin chaud of Paris, so maybe that is why I enjoyed this part of the tour so much.
After taking a little bit of time to look around Sacre Coeur, our tour was finished and we were able to wonder around the hill a little bit more and then had our first experience with the Parisian metros, which are much dirtier and less cared for than the metros of Lyon (yuuuhhhh LYON). Some of them also have some weird metro signage that look like they were created by a hXc Dali luver, which you can see below:
Here is a pic of Paris’ normal metro sign, so you can have something to compare it to.
Because the Louvre has waaaay to much to explain, here are my five favorite things from it including just a quick pic:
And now, for what you all have been waiting for…DISNEYLAND PARIS!!!! we went to Disneyland Paris on Christmas Day, so it was a little more packed than usual, but nothing was extremely long of a wait, and we got to see all of their amazing Christmas decorations.
Luckily for us, Disneyland Paris was celebrating their 20th year anniversary, so we got somewhat cheaper park hopper tickets which allowed us to go to the Disneyland Park and then to the Walt Disney Studios park (which is basically just California Adventure at the real Disneyland).
Most of the rides are similar to the ones at real Disneyland, but the Indiana Jones ride is completely outside and Big Thunder Mountain was much longer and much cooler than the original. Also, the Tower of Terror “scary intro” was all in French, and they call The Twilight Zone, “The 4th Dimension” (in French of course). Most of the signs and most of the stores had English names, and of course, everyone could speak English so it wasn’t all that different. Just there would be an occasional “technical difficulty” with a major ride so it would be closed for about an hour, which was lame, and also the reason we were never able to go on Space Mountain (much to Matthew’s chagrin).
For their 20th anniversary celebration and for Christmas, they had an insane lights show that was basically Fête des Lumières but with lights being projected onto the Disneyland Castle (which is for Belle, in France) and everything was Disney related. It was insanely cool, and went on for about ten minutes and included fireworks! I wish I could see it every day )’:
The day after Christmas, we took a ~personal tour~ of Paris with an American named Michael, who moved to Paris fifteen years ago. He showed us a bunch of really awesome things that we otherwise wouldn’t have noticed (for example, Ernest Hemmingway’s apartment) and gave us a bunch of details about the more touristy sites, like Notre Dame, etc. Since this post is getting kind of lengthy, I’ll just put a few things that I found especially interesting:
1) Missing Head Dude in front of Notre Dame:
2) Ernest Hemmingway’s Apartment:
3) Statue of a Sad Philosopher, and Someone’s Shoes (aka Modern Art):
4) Scary Angel at Père Lachaise (where Jim Morrison and Chopin are buried):
5) ROYAL JEWELS:
And then we left for Normandy! Expect an update on that in the very near future, along with some great pics of Mont Saint Michel, aka Disney princess land.