Monday, February 11, 2013

pearls in paris!

the first place I can ever remember wanting to go was paris. I was determined at this age : I picked up french, read fashion magazines, idolized the van gogh magnet my parents brought home as a souvenir one year and ate a lot of bread to prepare myself for this inevitable adventure... well on friday morning, passport in hand, I hopped on a flight with five of my friends to the city of love, and fall in love with it we did! 

day one }

in a sleepless state of excitement, we basically just popped out of the metro somewhere in the middle of the paris. the architecture immediately took my breath away as I swear the city leaned down to give me a kiss on the cheek... jaws dropped and cameras ready, we found a sign for le musee de louvre, so the mona lisa it was! I found her quite endearing, but was much more a fan of the roman and grecian statues and ornately painted rooms that housed royal treasures. a baguette, a designer vintage store, a delicious chocolate shop and the purchase of a black beret (I couldn't help myself...) later and we were at le notre dame! it's enormous, the glass is beautiful and there are incredibly creepy gargoyles up top that you get to hang out with if you can scale the very tall and very windy staircase! the effort was well worth it as we got our first full look at the city and its romantic color palette. the bitter wind had us back down all too soon as we made our way down the seine. the bridge of locked love, secondhand book vendors and chandelier shops all caught our eyes as we found ourselves at the foot of le tour eiffel just in time for it to light up and just in time to get caught in the rain. 

bonjour paris!
 even the trees looked french
in front of the fountain at the louvre : six very excited girls!
 getting angles
 from the inside : the architecture was still incredible

usually I don't love sculpture, but la victoire felt so light and free for being made of stone
 our favorite room in the louvre (though we only made it into about seven total) : can I have the royal crown please?
 view over the seine
 first glimpse at le notre dame

the dorky pictures my friends were kind enough to snap : the apron on the right reminded me of something we would find in papa's collection
 birds taking flight outside le notre dame
 up close at le notre dame
 the detail of these cathedrals is incredible!
 vault ceilings & stained glass
 this knook was extra colorful
 how can you still be so grumpy with that view?
 the back/top of the le notre dame
 paris is only pink, beige and grey : it's gorgeous
 extra creepy boys
lock your love to the bridge
 the things I find artsy along the seine...
 casually placed monuments are some of my favorites...
 at the base of le tour eiffel : an iconic end to our first day! 

day two }

we started saturday with a couple helpings of nutella & bread before heading back into the heart of paris. with constant caffeination & plenty of breaks for crepes, we actually managed to cross all our major sights off our list with a mass of pictures to document each corner! we started at le musee d'orsay and as I repeatedly told the group : you could have left me there the entire day and I would be entirely content... van gogh does that to me. between his classics, signac's dotted sailboats and the assortment of bonnard I only made it through three galleries before it was time and missed most of the renoir and monet, but felt so happy and calm it was as if I had just done three hours of yoga (assuming I could even do three hours of yoga). le musee d'orsay was my favorite moment of the weekend! the rest of the day was still uphill (quite literally as you'll read later) as we stopped across the seine to snap the eiffel tower pictures we didn't get before and the sun actually warmed us enough to take off my winter coat and do a little dance for all of france to see. still in the monument mood, we made our way to l'arc de triomphe and down le champs-elysee. I admit we weren't there to shop, but rather caryn & I were determined not to leave france without a macaron from lauduree! the interior transported us to a bakery fit for princess ariel, the mermaid, with it's nautical details and healthy proportions of gold... 

as the day started to lean towards evening, we hurried on the metro to the base of le sacre couer (the church at the very top of montmartre) where we energized with crepes and espresso before climbing the steps to another fantastic view of the city. the steps were filled with children watching a puppet show, tourists snapping pictures and a few friends jamming out to bob marley... from here we started down montmartre towards the district of artists. we strolled this amazing neighborhood square where artists sold their modern and classic depictions of paris to easily persuaded tourists, but they were all seriously talented! naturally it was time for cocktails so we squeezed inside a bar halfway down the hill for happy hour where the drinks were sweet and the manager danced around while filling your order. after a necessary photo-op outside the moulin rouge, we climbed back up montmartre to find a spot for a classic french dinner. I enjoyed a glass of white wine, a plate of escargo and a few of mary beth's french fries on the side and felt quite adventurous.  exhausted from another "best day ever" we headed back to our place for the night where I dreamt about impressionist paintings and chocolate macarons...

le musee d'orsay
the carousel at the bottom of the eiffel tower
taking a break from my camera for a sketch
 our expert travel group : cary, marybeth, myself, caroline, clara, natalie and her friend kate
l'arc de triomphe!
 under the arch
 I'm glad I now know heaven comes in many flavors, including dark chocolate...
 le champs-esylee : the paris fifth avenue
le sacre couer from the bottom of montmartre
 the view just never stopped improving
crepes break before the mini hike

"je voudrais un crepe de nutelle et banane et un cafe s'il vous plait!"
artists' square on top of montmartre 
 I loved this split painting of le tour eiffel : it really played up the romance

vivid prints and the cobblestone street
my plate of escargo : yum!

 ending the night with a show! just kidding... 

day three }

we decided to end our trip on sunday in style at le chateau de versailles! we were all rightfully excited as it proved to be as jaw dropping and awe-inspiring as you could imagine... even though it was quite frigid with the snow, a starbucks warmed me up as we waited to get into the palace! it was one giant fairytale, a hollywood movie set or a reenactment, there is just no way the palace was real... in the spring I'm sure the gardens are lovely but we stuck indoors to avoid the symptoms of windburn & frostbite, but all unanimously agreed the hall of mirrors was the best room in the enormous estate! the chandeliers, ornate details and over-the-top everything left me wishing I had a huge wig, crinoline hoop skirt, some giant pearls and an invitation to a royal ball. our dream day would be spent in the queen's room sitting with the windows open sipping a bottle (or so) of wine with plates of seafood, crepes and creme brullee... I could simply not get over the fact marie antoinette had walked those halls or that anyone ever had actually called it home : definitely a burst of motivation to meet a prince!

I don't think paris was ready to see us go : it even cancelled our flight and stopped all metros heading to the airport. we had sprinted through security with just enough time for me to spend my last five euros on vogue paris before the city attempted stalling us further by taking a couple hours to defrost the plane on the runway! though the familiar intercom voice asking to "mind the gap" was a comforting sound on the tube today, I already miss the dreamy feel of paris. the city feels like one giant art gallery and I have barel walked through the lobby... 

outside the gates : yes, that's gold...
 just inside the gates : this is barely the middle section of the palace
 this is my favorite shot from the day with the geometric tiles against the elaborate architecure
the first and second story views of this ballroom 
 casual view of the edge of the garden's edge
 the hall of mirrors : the most incredible room I think I'll ever see
the queen's bedroom, I'm practically marie antoinette these days 
a close up of the chandeliers in the hall of mirrors
 au revoir paris, a plus tard!

1 comment:

  1. take me back!!

    you have the best photos! did you see the crazy soccer guy at sacre couer? crepes and macarons - all the food I really need ...