Monday, August 5, 2013

Christine invades Paris: Part 1

My good friend, Christine invaded Paris last week and was it ever epic.  Christine's husband, Chris gave her a hall pass for 5 days to come "sight see" in Paris while he braved Quinn, the 16 month old on his own.  Super Rad!  Christine was bid bon voyage with 3 simple rules that she had to follow...

1. Be Safe
2. You have to Skype or Facetime at least once a day
3. Don't break the camera.

What he forgot to include was...
1. Don't get in a car with strangers at 3am
2. Don't get wasted on Dom Perignon and dance on a table
3. Don't get drunk and sleep on the floor in your brand new party dress...

Day 1: Quick sightseeing + Jet lag

Obviously, on day 1 in Paris, everyone drops likes a sack of potatoes.  They are super exciting having come off the plane and arriving in a new city and have ambitions of sightseeing as big as the Eiffel Tower, then crash at 8pm.  Christine was no different.

So, after a 2 hour trek from the airport to my place on 3 metro lines, she was obviously ready to freshen up and hit the road to see the sights.  We started off with mandatory crepes at the Eiffel Tower, of course, since it was only 300 meters away.  The absolute best view of the Eiffel Tower is between the buildings at the Trocadero, so I took Christine the long way (400 meters) to view the Eiffel Tower in all her glory.

And, to my surprise the Trocadero was displaying a magnificent water show. I have never seen the fountains do this before and it was incredible.  The depth of the streams and the number of fountains was amazing.  As in one of my previous posts, there were children playing in the Trocadero fountain pools, but it seemed less gross today since the water wasn't stagnant and visibly mossy.

Trocadero Fountains, Paris, France

Kids were going right under the jets and getting pummeled by the large sprays...hilarious.
 Then, Christine and I got her the mandatory crepes and I taught her how to order a crepe in French, although, with all the decadent desserts we had in Paris, she never got the chance to order another one...
"ju vous dre un crepe avec nutella a frais sivousplais" I don't know French, so that is probably spelled totally wrong....but it works when you're talking to the crepe vendor!

Next up was a walk along the Seine. I wasn't sure how tired Christine would be so I thought I'd show her the sights on a mini walking tour.  We walked up the Seine to the Grand Palace, then over to the Jardin de Tuileries near the Louvre...
Just chillin on the left bank

Relaxin in the Jardin de Tuileries

Hey look at the Louvre ferris wheel...
 We had high hopes of making it all the way to Notre Dame, but it had been a long day so I took her to the Love Lock bridge and we turned back.

View from the Love Lock bridge
 No, we did not put a lock on the bridge...however, I thought about putting one on there for the DIRECTV Circular.  It did build our friendship, but I'm not sure I wanted to be locked to the Circular forever with anything other than just fond memories.

Love Lock bridge

While Christine was sleeping, I jetted out on the town to an Electro party with Aurelie and her Canadian friend, Caroline.  What a night...

Caroline, Aurelie, Emily
 Aurelie suggested that we should issue challenges for each of us to complete before the night was over.  Best. Idea. Ever!

Emily's Challenge: Find a guy wearing a tie, get him to take it off and let you put it on and get a photo.
Caroline's Challenge: Find a guy to buy you a free drink.  Emily's revision: THREE FREE DRINKS...
Aurelie's Challenge: Slow dance (to techno) with an Asian (this was incredibly difficult because there were only 3 Asians in the entire club and one was making out with another girl) Revised challenge: You need to dance with 3 different types of men before the nights through... a black guy, an Asian and a foreigner (which meant she had to chat up several to find out if they were French)

Game on, Bitches!

 Although I was the first to complete the challenge, it was actually hard.  By that time in the night, there were no men left in ties.  So, I had to go around to men wearing suits and ask if they had ties.  Keep in mind, I don't speak FRENCH.  So, when I walked up to them and said "Vous crevette??" and made a tie gesture they all looked at me funny.  I was asking everyone if they had shrimp.  The correct word is Cravate, oops....same same.

But, whatever, I still got it done!

Caroline's challenge was actually quite difficult since the drinks were 12 Euros each.  That was an expensive round....not for us!  Cheers!

Success! Cheers!

How many free drinks did you get us???
 Aurelie's challenge was quite difficult.  Finding one of the 3 Asian men in this bar with no lights was a feat in itself.

Who me???

I was supposed to be home at 12:30 to take Christine to the Eiffel Tower at night to watch it twinkle but I missed the last show at 1:00 because my train was delayed.  We played rummy for a bit and headed to bed.

Day 2: Seeing the sights!

We had an aggressive agenda on day 2.
1. Arc de Triomphe
2. Go to the Beach
3. Notre Dame
4. Jardin du Luxembourg

First up, the Arc du Triomphe.  Prior to coming to Paris this was one of my favorite things.  Now, its still beautiful, but its really just a directional landmark for me and also provides a very fond memory for the crazy drivers in Paris since I have so many other fond memories of Paris.

Next up, the beach.  Every year for a month or so, Paris imports in sand to the right bank of the Seine and Paris Plages begins.  There are volleyball tournaments and several other activities all around town.  So, naturally when I heard about this, I had to go. I miss the beach so much.

Seriously?  This is the beach?  It looks like a sandbox.  And, it was only for about 50 meters.  So, so sad.  But we indulged anyway.

Got to wear our swimsuits in Paris

Toes in the Paris


The sand is this way...
 Well, that was kind of disappointing....granted, its a nice novelty for the locals, but I think my expectations were waaaaaay to high.

Next up, Notre Dame.  I am totally not religious in any way, but I can absolutely appreciate the beauty of this Gothic styled masterpiece.  We actually got to Notre Dame just in time for an English walking tour which provided some really rad stories of the preservation of the limestone, the carvings and sculptures on the exterior and the viewpoint of good vs. evil in general.

Inside: Notre Dame is so light because at the time it was built, they weren't convinced that the Gothic style was structurally sound, so they added beams on either side of the center row to provide support - which block the light from the stained glass windows.

Inside Notre Dame

This stained glass window is actually 80-90% original glass.  The window opposite of it was severely damaged during the French Revolution and during the reconstruction of the feature, they tilted it sideways and its supported by an iron cross worked into the design.

People often think that the gargoyles on the side of Notre Dame are to ward off evil spirits, however, they actually have a functional purpose.  Within many of the Gargoyles, there are drain spouts that push the runoff water away from Notre Dame because the water, over time, erodes the limestone.

 Also, when it rains heavily, the water pouring out of the gargoyle's mouths and spouts looks like the church is expelling evil...

Approximately 500 spiral stairs up to the top!


Panoramic view of the top of Notre Dame
Next up, I had to take Christine to my favorite place in Paris, the Jardin du Luxembourg.  We asked some guy to take a photo for us and this is what we got....asshole.

Then he started doing some artistic photo shoot.  Turning the camera sideways and snapping like 5 pictures.  Its an Iphone bro, not a cannon, cut it out.

Picnic in the park.  Hummus, Tabouli, good friends...done.
Dear future husband, if I ever come back to France, you should plan a weekly picnic in this park or we will never ever work out, that's your magic sauce....just sayin...

This will never EVER get old
Hmmm...what's for dinner?  We're not super hungry since we had a picnic at 7:30.  How about we go to the Trocadero and see the Eiffel Tower all lit up, have some wine and a light dinner.

Super Stinky cheese for dinner!  Yes Please!

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