Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Paris part deux

I totally forgot to finish my story about Paris. What a dork-ack.

So the next morning, Sarah and I got up for breakfast downstairs. We had crunchy/flaky/moist bread with butter and jam. It was so so good! Before we're about to leave, Ben calls us to say he was already at Notre Dame, which surprised me because it was only 9:30am. It turns out that I had set our alarm via Cork time, and Sarah and I were running an hour late (the time was really 10:30am). So rush rush rush we went!

We started off in the right direction, and kept on walking until I started to doubt our route. I called Ben again at one of the many street corners, and he said to look for an M, which just so happened to be right in front of us! Down the steps, ticket in the machine, and to the train we ran. Then we waited...and waited. Finally, 5-10 minutes later, it came, and so we hopped on. For a split second that is.

Sarah asked for the map, and then said: "What if if this isn't the right direction?!" I then yelled: "Ok then! Let's get off!" I jumped. Her hands were nearly out as the door tried to slam shut. She pulled back, looked at me with a "oh well" before the train rode off. Crap.

I stood there in panic, wondering what Sarah was going to do. The next train came along, so I got on and looked about at each of the next three stops to see if she decided to wait for me there. I was finally at Place D'Italie, and not knowing if the train went to or near Notre Dame, I got off and started towards the next metro. It was pouring down snow, and the wind was terrible. I tried calling Ben, but at this point I had no phone minutes left, and I couldn't add anymore with my credit card. So onto the next metro stop I went, using the second to last my train tickets. I walked all around looking at my map and then at the signs, but none of the destinations matched up, and there was only one ticket left in my purse. Since the chances of my getting on the wrong train and winding up lost were high, I decided to go back to the B&B, call Ben and wait to see what would happen.

It took me 15 minutes to find the right train back to Kremlin Bicetre. Once I had made my way down a pair of stairs where an old woman sat with a basket. She spoke to me in an extremely low, battered- almost smoker like voice that sent chills down my spine. I kept on walking in a daze, trying to figure out where I was going. At one point I realized that I was about to hop on the wrong train, and turned around to find that the old woman had followed me! I waited for her to bend over to where she had been sitting before sprinting up the stairs just as a crowd of people walked on by.

Here's the deal. The train that goes to Kremlin Bicetre doesn't always go that way, for it also has another direction to go to every other time (basically there's two tracks that split off). I found the train, but I didn't know how to check which direction it was going to go. So I just hopped on it anyway, and as we were riding out, a man pointed to the map above the interior of the glass doors, running his finger from where we were to Kremlin Bicetre. You should of seen my face light up like a Christmas tree! I swear, Jesus did it. He told that man to show me the way- or maybe not, but seriously, it was a miracle.

So I got back to the B&B frozen stiff, but grateful none the less, and called Ben with Pellay's telephone. He decided to wait at Notre Dame and he would call me back when she got there. 20 minutes, and Pellay said I had a phone message that "she was safe." I called back, and then waited an hour for their return to come and pick me up.

So that was my Saturday morning. The rest of the day couldn't have been better. Sarah and Ben showed up, and we headed to the Musee D'orsay. I got to see Van Gough and Monet, sculptures, and all kinds of surrealism type art. The best part was seeing Van Gough's portrait of himself. I just wanted to stare at it all day! His artwork is so cool, and fresh-it somewhat reminds me of the colorful and happy things that I enjoy drawing myself. The only disappointment was that half of Monet's collection had been taken to another exhibit- in London I think-, including his work of the woman and her parasol (my favorite). Oh, and we also had a snack at Cafe' du Lion! They have the best hot chocolate ever. It was sooo good. Nom nom nom.

Afterward, we went to the Champs Elysees- which is probably like New York, in that it's a huge long street just filled to the brimful of giant shops and tiny cafes and bakeries. At the end is the Arc de Triomphe, which I took pictures of in the middle of the street! Then we crossed, and headed over to a small bakery known for their tasty macaroons (tiny oreos made with flaky pastry dough, and filled with wonderful things). Oh it was splendid!

Ben left us to go do homework, and Sarah and I went to the Eiffel Tower. Can I not say just how great-grand-stupendous-amazing-insightful-adorable-it was?! I bought our tickets to go to the very top, but the stop was on the second floor. We rode in a cart that travels up the left side of the tower, got off, and just looked down. It was heaven! The whole city of Paris just lit up with beautiful colors. I could see Notre Dame from far away, and all the other great monuments that littered the city. The cold kept us uneasy, so up to the top we went (you have to get on another cart to go there), and it turned out that it was warm and cozy (it was enclosed with heaters). That's one thing I didn't like about Paris- a lot of places do not have heat, including parts of the airport! It was 20 degrees, and I had to freeze inside half the time I was there.

Anyways, I loved it so much, and I'm so glad I went! The tourist in me was fulfilled, especially after purchasing a beret and a new hand bag. We were running late to see Ben, so there wasn't much time to stop for crepes as we had originally planned. So back to the train station we went!

Ben met us there, and as we reached the top of the stairs and around the corner- there was our restaurant. The menu outside the door had one thing on there that stood out from all the rest- Boeuf Bourguignon. I squealed and danced like a child of 5, and would not for the life of me not let us eat anywhere else. It had to be here! And just as we sat down at our table, taking in our surroundings, the waitress came to announce that tonights special was indeed Boeuf Bourguignon.

This dish is made in the film Julia and Julia, and because it looks so so tasty, I have been wanting to try it for over a year now. This place did not disappoint. Not only did they opt out on using mushrooms (I hate them-yuck!), but the meat itself was perfection, melting in my mouth upon bite after bite, until it ceased to be no more. I couldn't have asked for a better meal if I wanted too. And for desert- chocolate cake with chocolate filling and a scoop of ice cream. Down that went too, and rightfully so.

We said our good nights, parted ways, and headed back to the B&B. I didn't sleep as grand as the night before, but it certainly was a nice rest. The next mourning we met Ben at Notre Dame (this time without any issues- although Sarah nearly didn't make it on the train), and we were able to walk around and take a good look inside. Mass was going on at the same time, and we even got to listen to the soloist perform (it was beautiful). I didn't take any pictures inside, because I just wanted to enjoy it without having to stop and click my camera at an old stained glass window. My favorite thing was the tomb of a long dead Bishop, his body carved out on top of the lid with jewels in his hat, and a curled staff in his closed hands.

We walked to an outdoor crepe restaurant for breakfast, but the wait was too long, so we went inside for some pastries. I bought a chocolate eclair, which was ended up being as good as they say- but my hot chocolate was rather disappointing. Still, I was so glad to finally be able to walk the streets of Paris instead of running around lost under ground. On the way to the train station, we stopped to check out a fountain with winged lions and a man with a double edged sword ready to kill the man that laid underneath his heavy foot. The water was turned off, but the masterpiece was still grand to see none the less. This was the last thing I saw before going back to the underground and aways away to the airport.

Aside from all the hustle and bustle that was to be while catching my airplane, there was one last thing on the list- An issue of Paris Vogue. I tried getting one in Paris, but the newspaper stand didn't have one. Well here it was, for the shocking price of 26 euro! I couldn't believe it until I got a closer look at the cover: Spring 2011 Fashion spread!! I couldn't be more happier with my prize. A magazine with over three hundred pages of the newest fashions that just hit the runway! I couldn't have arrived in Paris at a better time. Perfect.

The ride back home wasn't fun- I got really motion sick, but it was nothing I couldn't handle. The best part about the plane ride back was right as I stepped on to hear the Irish flight attendant say: "Hello." ENGLISH. I love my language, I love it so. To hear those words and not "bonjour" was a blessing. It's not that I don't like French, I actually want to learn more of it, but after a long and stressful transition, "hello" was all I really wanted to hear at that point. And when I sat down in my chair, I almost wanted to cry. Not because I was leaving Paris, but because I was going to miss Ireland.

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