Thursday, August 5, 2010

Honeymoon Part II

After our Eurostar ride, filled with the loving sounds of a crying child, we arrived in Paris.  We rode the Metro over to the Marais district and walked around for a bit trying to find our hotel.  The Hotel Place des Vosges was a great little place that is currently undergoing renovations, and we were lucky enough to get a renovated room on the top floor.  It involved some stairs and the tiniest elevator you can imagine to get up to, but it had great exposed beams, neat little woodwork niches and an awesome bathroom entirely clad in a cool grey stone.  We had a skylight and, if you needed them, there were two pull out beds.

After a quick shower we headed out to find dinner in the cool-ish Paris evening.  We had crepes and cider at a cidrerie.  I didn't know chilled, fizzy cider was a French thing, but it was perfect after the hot day travelling.  I didn't feel like pulling out a huge camera at dinner (hazards of a DSLR), but I can safely say that my crepe with a pan seared disc of goat cheese on a bed of mixed greens topped with balsamic and candied walnuts was lovely and yummy.  We saw this random church on our way home and it was off to bed for us.

The next morning I woke up at an unbearably early hour due to jet lag, so I headed to the nearest pastry shop.  I got us a sampling for the morning and have to say the the chocolate pistachio was my absolute favorite, there could not have been more butter in there and it was delicious.

After hanging out in our room until a reasonable hour we went for a run around the city.  It was lovely, quiet and a great way to check out our surroundings.

Place dus Vosges (the plaza near our hotel)

Afterwards we found some of the other people we'd be travelling with as guests of our friend's wedding (not surprising, since we were staying in the same hotel as almost all of the other guests).  We hung out in the local cafe catching up with old friends and meeting the new people we'd be hanging out with for the rest of our trip.  After that we decided to spend the rest of our only rainy day on the whole trip (lucky us) in the Louvre, it was certainly big enough to spend an entire day in.

Random artist sketching in the Louvre

It was huge, and overwhelming, but ultimately something we were glad we experienced.  As an architecture student I've heard about the building for a while, and I did love the space underneath the pyramid.

Oh, I. M. Pei, how you make the most of a grey day

After that we grabbed a quick bite, met up with the bride and groom and some friends and made our way to Crazy Horse.  The girls ended up sitting in a row behind the boys and watched them gape at the lovely ladies on stage.  I definitely recommend it, if you want to see something a little risque in Paris.

Then we got a few drinks at a nearby cafe and Mr. Moonbeam, another girl travelling with us and I decided it was a brilliant idea to run to the Eiffel Tower (about a mile away) in our dressy clothes.  It turned out perfectly, because we caught the midnight light show.

The next day we saw Notre Dame, Centre Pompidou and took an ill-advised venture to try and find the Dali Museum in Montmartre.  I'd heard it was neat, and I'm sure it was, but we never found it because we only had the Metro map.  Word to the wise, if you head to Montmartre bring a very detailed map if you want to find anything but Sacre Coeur.

Sorry about all that, but seeing Notre Dame in person was cool, and all of the incense from the Priest made the inside even better.

That evening everyone gathered for dinner in Montmartre, Mr. Moonbeam tried the tartare and loved it.  We went to Sacre Couer and took in a lovely view of the city. 

Then, on our way home we found the very closed Dali Museum, we had been soooooo close (hand slaps forehead).

Early the next morning we all got on a bus for a tour of the Normandy Beaches.  We had a pit stop in Bayeux to pick up our tour guide.

Then we went to Point du Hoc and learned about the battles of World War II.  It was eye-opening to see just how difficult these battle situations were for soldiers on D-Day.  And with all the Texans in the crowd, we were a touch pleased that the largest crater was made by the U.S.S. Texas.

Then we stopped for lunch at Omaha Beach (another amazing crepe) before learning more about the specifics of that battle.  Our last stop was the American Cemetery (as seen in Saving Private Ryan).  It's really beautiful and definitely instills respect.

Then we all slept on the way to chateau!

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