Wednesday, December 19

Se La Vie!


Whew! So in my last blog post...2 weeks ago... I think I said something about posting the next day, yada yada yada. Everyone who believed that when they read it raise your hand. HAH. Your hand didn't go up. It's ok, I have been a little bit of a blog-slacker lately- and it's time to catch up and share some of what I have been up to! First, the event that overshadows all other events: Paris. It's true, I couldn't find anyone to go with me, so I went to the city of lights by myself! And you know what? I wouldn't have had it any other way (ok I would have loved for a family member or English hottie to accompany me, but you know what I am saying). Lets start from the very beginning, each day has a title to help me keep them straight!

Friday- Oh Boy!
I arrived in Paris about...2:30 in the afternoon, and headed up to the 18th district of Paris where I booked my stay in my very first Hostel. Supposedly it was easy to find, but as soon as I stepped out of the Metro I was twisted and couldn't figure out where in the crud I was. Fortunately, a nice (cute) chap saw the look on my face (probably a mixture of 'I-am-gonna-cry' and 'I just ate 3 tins of baked beans') as I looked down at the map, and then up squinting at the street corners looking for posted signs. He stopped and asked if I needed help (in english, cause obviously I was foreign) and offered me assistance. Then, he just kept talking. Chat Chat Chat... we stood there and talked for a good 15-20 minutes with breif exclamations every 5 of "I just Love Americans!" Then he asked me out for a drink and offered to show me around the city. He gave me his business card and told me to call him once I got my things dropped off at my Hostel...uh huh. Right. Even though it probably would have been fine, and he was really nice (and cute) I could here this little jabbering in the back of my head that sounded and awful lot like my father going into detail of all the bad things that could happen. Anyways, I got a souvenir business card out of it. After that fun little encounter, I dropped my stuff on and headed over to the Eiffel Tower. Yes, I did go to this famous monument last time I was there with my parents, but we only went to the second level...and I had to go to the top! So, to the top I went, and it was great! The views were lovely, and even though I had icicles growing out of my nose after 3 minutes of standing at the top, it was worth it!



After going up the Eiffel Tower, I really wanted to see it light up and sparkle like it does on the top of the hour, every hour. According to Rick Steves, its good to walk to the end of the Champs De Mars to see the Tower. so as I was walking the reasonably well crowded walkway to the end of the road I was stopped by another guy, who-to make a long story short- ended up asking me out for a drink and offered to show me the city. I made up a pretty darn good story about meeting up with the people I was here with blah blah blah so I couldn't do anything. But this one wasn't taking no for an answer, he made me promise to call him at 10:00am the next morning and wrote his phone number on my hand. I left him with a very convincing "see ya tomorrow" as he waved goodbye and flashed an insanely cheesy smile- like you would give a monster-child you just spent the night babysitting and you can't wait to get out of their sight, but you smile cause the little twerp's mother is standing there believing her child is flawless.



Once I walked the whole length of the Champs De Mars I decided I was terribly hungry, so I grabbed a crepe at the crepe stand there, and headed on my way when I was stopped by a guy selling souvenir Eiffel Towers- we talked for about 10 minutes and he ended up giving me a free Eiffel tower that lights up and everything. Then, for the third time in one night, he asked me out for a drink. I quickly explained how I was meeting my boyfriend for dinner because he just got off work and I didn't want to be late.... and off I went. After that -yes, there is more- I was walking along and this guy asked me if he could draw my picture. I said no. He said it was free, I said no. We argued for a minute or two and finally I gave in and said he could draw me here- and he had better make it snappy. So 15 minutes later he was finished, and the portrait he showed me was absolutely, positively, the most hideous thing I have ever seen in my entire life. It made me look like a cross between a Sloth and a Platypus. When I told him I thought it wasn't very good he said he didn't have much time to perfect it. And in my mind I was thinking that no amount of work on earth or heaven could fix the face of the girl in this drawing!!! But of course I didn't say that out loud.... so I said I had to go and He just happened to be headed in the same direction as I was. Anyways, I will cut this down cause I spent a little bit of time with this one- but I had a really nice time, and he even held my hand as we walked down the Champs Elysees-kind of awkward, kind of not. So before it got too late I said I had to go, and I headed back to my Hostel. It was a really fun day!

This is my room at the Hostel. I think I did pretty well for myself! If anybody needs any hostel recommendations in Paris, let me know!

Saturday- Versailles



Mozart played on the organ in that Chapel.


A change of plans landed me on a day tour to Versailles, which was really great. I was in a small group of about 9 people with a private tour guide who was really passionate about the history and really knew her stuff! I got a fantastic history lesson, and I learned a lot about French history. I even had a really posh lunch in "little Venice" on the Versailles garden grounds, don't ask me what it was thought. I learned that in foreign countries you don't question what the food is- you just eat it.




The place where we ate in little Venice


Marie Antoinette's Gardens recently opened up at Versailles


The Dome of Love in the Gardens

Once I returned from Versailles I walked from the Louvre Museum to the Arc De Triomphe which is a little bit over 2 miles, and it was completely jam packed with people. This walk included the Louvre, Place De La Concorde, Jardin De Tuilleries, Champs Elysees, and Arc De Triomphe.





I admired the views and weaved my way in and out of the crowd, and I also picked up some chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Someone should have warned me that you aren't supposed to just pop the entire flippin' nut in your mouth- it might have saved me some embarrassment. I figured it out after the first nut though. Once I reached the end of the Champs Elysees I went to the top of the Arc De Triomphe to get a really impressive view of the city.



Once finished here, I really wanted to see Notre Dame all lit up at night, so I took the Metro over there and walked around a bit, and really enjoyed myself.



Sunday- At Least I went to A Church....

I woke up early sunday morning to go up to the Sacre Coer and watch the sunrise over Paris... It was really beautiful!




Then, I went to the Rodin Museum, which far surpassed my expectations! I absolutely loved it, and I would dare say that it is my favorite museum that I have been to in Paris. Even better then the Orsay or the Louvre. I say that for this reason- it was small, it was focused and educational, and it was spectacular. I was able to see everything in an hour and a half and be perfectly content- not feeling overwhelmed or "museumed out", i thought it was just right!




After the Rodin Museum, I went to the St. Sulpice Chapel where- agian, according to my friend Rick Steves, they have world-renouned organists playing at 11:35 in the morning on sundays. Supposedly they even play 5 organs at once! I also heard there was a Christmas fair over there, something that I was dying to see since it is one of those things that only happens at Christmas...and seriously, when am I ever coming back to Paris for Christmas?! So I did get distracted outside the Church as the Christmas fair for a little while- it didn't help that I spotted a crepe maker, because it only reminded me that i had not eaten all morning! So, 2 nutella crepes later I went into the church and listened to the Organist play. I was also pleasantly suprised to find a robotic nativity (sounds weird, was kind of cool thought) which I took some video of for you all to see. I actually took a lot of videos for you guys, but I haven't quite grouped them together yet so I will get that done in the next couple days and then post them up!







Once I had my fill of the fair and music, I realized that I had never been inside Notre Dame Cathedral, I have seen the outside several times, but never inside! So I made my way to the Quazzie's old stomping grounds and took my brief tour of the inside. (excluding the top- I was too tired to even think about trekking up those towers!) Following that I walked around Place De Concorde once more along with Jardin De Tuilleries, which was beautiful and crowded on a Sunday.


Unfortunately, my trip ended all to quickly and I was at Gare Du Nord boarding my Eurostar train back to London. I was sad to leave, but excited to write about it in my blog!







7 comments:

Colie's Dad said...

You are kidding me! Do you know how rediculously lucky you are!!! I LOOOOVVVVEEEE the pictures. Your picture of Marie Antoinette's gardens belongs in a museum by itself!
Sounds like you had a BLAST!!! I far "cry" from the girl that called home on Saturday. You didn't give the details of that little adventure. Ha Ha. But as always, things seem to work out for the best for you don't they?
I'm glad that Dad's voice still comes to the very back of your mind though... it is good to know that at one point, SOMETHING we said actually sunk in! However, the main reason I keep reminding you of these sorts of drastic things is so I don't have to come visit you and your French husband in some Paris suburb (although if he's wealthy and will pay to have us come over a couple of times a year, I might be convinced to give different advice). I can't wait to see the videos.

Love,
Dad

Dona and co. said...

You are one smart chica. You, my friend, are a thinker. I am so impressed by the places that you are going and the things that you are doing. You are, however, setting a dangerous precedence because I can see that some of your cousins are thinking that this is what you do when you reach a certain age...you tour the world and you do it very well like Nicole.
We are starting to think that Corban was born on the wrong continent. He is 2 and 1/4 and speaks very fluently, only it's not english. None of us speak French so we can't really be sure but he does sound like a little frenchman. Especially when he is angry or trying to talk us into doing something. When you come home you'll have to tell us if that's what the frenchmen sound like. You'll know since you've run into so many who keep trying to talk you into doing something.
I think I need to see a picture of these crepes you mentioned.
Have you read any good books lately?
Loved the post,
A nut Dona (that was intentional)

Anonymous said...

Nicole,

I am so impressed at your travels to Paris. Your pictures are amazing. I can't believe how much you have experienced in such a short time. I can't believe that in less then 24 hours I will be on winter break and Christmas is just right around the corner. I love your pictures of the Santa Clauses in Paris. The measuems sound wonderful. Well, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas if I miss your blog before then. I too am glad to that the voice of your father came to your head. But I am glad you had a good evening and a fun trip. Have a wonderful end of 2007. Love Martha

Amanda lee said...

Can I just start by saying that I am sooooo envious or should I say Jealous. I would so love to travel the world. Girl, you are living the dream! I wish at your age I had the guts to go places by myself and venture out a little. I just mentioned to my husband Mark three days ago that years from now when the kids are old enough to leave at the Grandparents home, I would love to take sometime and travel Europe again. So romantic and educational!

And all those men after you in one night. You had/have it going on:) You handled the situations very well might I add. How do you resist those European accents? Has anyone told you that you resemble that darling talk show host, “Rachel Ray”? I just love her.

I have a lot of catching up to do on your blog, but seeing that it's 1:30 am here in UT, I will continue tomorrow. It’s been crazy since the holidays started.

P.S. My family (especially my three sisters) have mentioned how much they enjoy reading your blog. It brings back so many memories for us. Can you just live there forever and entertain us with your life we all are so envious of? You have many readers you know!

skousenmom said...

Well, I think your dad said it best honey! And I echo your Aunt Dona and friends. I just love reading your blog, almost as much as talking to you. I am impressed with how well you think on your feet. Obviously you get that from your dad! I love your pictures. You should think about publishing a book when you get back entitled An American Nanny in London! I think it will be a bestseller, especially with your special signature brand of wit and charm! That's the main reason we all love to read your blog--Seriously! Love you lots, can't wait to see your videos! Love, Mom

Marie said...

Wonderful post Nicole! Now I want to go to Paris!!! On the Eurostar, and almost get picked up by no less than three French men....wait, hmmm... Todd will probably put them off, not to mention my rather rotundness....oh well, how wonderful that you had such a great time. LOVED the pictures!!! Great job!

Toad and Sue said...

Bravo! You may have loved your solo weekend in Paris as it unfolded but in 10 ten years I'm guessing your memories of exploring that city on your own will be even more sweet to you. I'm also extremely impressed you didn't give into the male french accent and idealistic fantasies of romance in Pearee--well done, smart girl.

I loved all your pics and video! The marie gardens were not opened when I was there, I would have loved to see them--your pics are beautiful. As for museo Rodin--what can I say--it's kinda of a burden always being right about these things :-)I'm so glad we share the same vibe about that place.

I hope you won't give up on me and call me again or tell me when I can call you. love you!
Merry Christmas!