Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Second stop: j'adore Paris

Je suis tombé amoureux follement de Paris ( I have fallen madly in love with Paris). 
Words can not describe the love I have for this city, not only is it one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited, but also the most romantic. Every street corner, building, road looks beautiful. And if you know me even a little bit, you'll know I love pretty things lol.  
There is so much to do in Paris, and below I will highlight the best parts of our 3 nights in this city:
1) Picnic by the Eiffel tower - if you had to do only one thing in Paris I would suggest this. On Sunday evening we had the boys surprise us by preparing for a picnic supper at the park across from the Eiffel Tower. They bought delicious artisan breads with 3 different cheeses, dip, croissant desserts, and 4 bottles of wine ( most of it purchased at a Paul bakery) to take on the picnic. We arrived for 8:00pm, played cards, relaxed on our blanket, and waited for the sun to set, and the Eiffel tower to light up ( we were pleasantly surprised when at 10pm the tower started to sparkle).  La tour d'eiffle est magique, the Eiffel tower is magical and definitely not overrated. The evening was absolutely romantic ( couples getting proposed to, people celebrating birthdays, it was full of happiness).  After our late night picnic we headed across the river and enjoyed ice cream and a merry go round ride!
2) Louvre - I believe this is suppose to be the most famous gallery d'art in the world. It was also the most breathtaking in my eyes. We spent 4 hours on Monday at the Louvre seeing world famous pieces like the Venus de Milo, Rebellion Slaves by Michel Angelo, Napoleon's apartments, and of course the Mona Lisa the most famous painting in the world ( the insurance for this is over 700MM USD). Just a tip if you don't speak or read French you can rent audio headsets that provide commentary for each piece or room ( definitely a big help). We enjoyed lunch at an outdoor bistro just across from the Louvre ( lots of them to choose from).
3) Champs elysees - shopping, bistros, and entertainment is what this main Paris street is known for. We did some exploring and window shopping at some high end Paris boutiques.
4) Arc de Triomphe - The Arc de Triomphe (in English: "Triumphal Arch") honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. I would suggest climbing this as its more cost efficient then the Eiffel Tower and you get a great view of it from the top ( to snap some real panoramic pics of the city).
5) Chateau de Versailles - Take a tour of this magnificient castle. Located approx. 20 minutes away from Paris.  The court of Versailles was the centre of political power in France from 1682, when Louis XIV moved from Paris, until October 1789 when the royal family was forced to return to the capital after the beginning of the French Revolution. Versailles is therefore famous not only as a beautiful monument, but as a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy of the Ancien Régime.  I would strongly suggest taking the private group tour, which allows you to explore the areas of the castle that are not open to the public, with a true historian that shares all they know about the history of the Versailles. There seemed to be some animosity between the Chateau de Versailles staff and the Louvre museum, and it could be due to the fact that after the French Revolution many of the Versailles art pieces were sold to the Louvre, which today they won't return back to the Chateau de Versailles.
6) Caius - this was a French cuisine restaurant we tried that had the most splendid service and mouthwatering truffle ravioli. During our trip we did experience some snobby French individuals, but that was balanced by some very wonderful individuals that were understanding of our language barrier. This restaurant in particular went out of their way to explain food dishes ( even drew an image of a shrimp to explain what it was). The food, ambiance, and service were superb, and at the end of our meal they brought by a tin full of candy to end off our night. I would strongly recommend checking it out, approx. 39 € per person.
Overall a great trip, we explored the city of Paris by using the metro/ trains which were very easy to understand in comparison to the TTC. The culture felt relaxed at a much slower pace then anywhere in North America. What I found intriguing was how the seating outside bistros was facing the street for some true people watching enjoyment. 
Would I go back to Paris? QUI QUI- I was thinking about my next trip back the whole time I was in Paris. 
Paris and I have fallen in love!
Au reviour Paris, Ciao Venezia...
Looking for pasta,
P.S took a flight from Paris to Venice using easyjet charter airline, which is actually not as shady as they make internal europe airlines sound. Strongly recommend!