I’m squeezing in a Europe post before the end of the year…
I can’t remember what time we woke up on our last day in Paris and I didn’t write it down, but I know we woke up refreshed because we went to bed so early the night before. We packed up (our bags were really heavy because we were trying to be more efficient by having less bags so we packed our backpacks full and had no additional bags to carry), showered, checked out of our hotel. We walked to the Metro/RER and took it to the Gare de l’est station. We found the luggage lockers and dropped off our bags (just a little non-important note: our locker was 25 E (Med) and cost us €7 for the day) and then went and got some breakfast at Paul in the station. The usual suspects: pain au chocolat, cafe for Dan, and a Coke for me.
We then took the Metro to the Palais Garnier, or the Opera de Paris, otherwise known as the setting for the Phantom of the Opera. And it was beautiful. Truly a treat. It was probably the grandest and most over the top thing we saw on our trip and we absolutely loved it. I felt like I was in a Disney Movie and I needed to sing and dance from room to room. Beauty and the Beast to be exact. We bought some souvenirs here; a ballet slipper for my niece and a pill case for Dan. Almost every square inch was adorned with gold, the grand staircase, the painted ceiling by Chagall, along with the chandelier by Garnier, and the foyer were the highlights.
After spending about an hour there we walked past the Galleries Lafayette up towards Montmartre. We found a Metro that took us the rest of the way (2 stops). We took the 180 steps up the circular steps of Abbesses Metro Stop which was crazy long and felt like it would never ever end.
But we made it to the top. And were greeted with the cute artistic center of Paris that I had read about. This is where I had actually wanted to stay but our travel mates wanted to stay more central and so we did. Don’t get me wrong, I love where we stayed, it was convenient, but I do think if we do Paris again I’ll listen to my gut because this place was adorable and we loved it. Dan took a million pictures here of all the art on the walls, which will be another post in itself.
We found a post office and finally mailed the postcards we bought in England and sent them to our families and ourselves. We then visited a church and lo and behold we ran into our friends yet AGAIN here. Not planned, just coincidence. So crazy! So we stuck together for the rest of the day. After the church we had some yummy gelato and then made our way down to the Montmartre Cemetary where 500 pictures just wasn’t enough. It was so cool as this definitely was something we do not see at home. Dan and I were determined to find Edgar De Gas’ grave, which we did after quite some searching. And we saw a black cat. Creepy. And this place was covered in lady bugs. Strange.
After spending quite a bit of relaxing time here in such a seemingly dreary place even though the sun was shining down and we didn’t feel like we were dancing near the graves of people from centuries before us, we headed back to the center of Montmartre to see the famed, Moulin Rouge. Well, what we could of it anyways. It was covered in tour buses. We ate at Paris’ version of Burger King, Quick and had some lunch, payed €.20 to use their restroom.
Then we walked uphill to Van Gogh’s former home and Picasso’s old studio. What’s cool about this area was that they had a fountain outside that you could fill your water bottle up with fresh water and it was tasty and very refreshing. This was a particularly warm day and sun baked down on us for most of it.
We thought we had walked a lot that day, and taken a lot of steps (like the 180 I mentioned we took up the Metro stop that morning) but then we saw what we had to do to get to the Sacré Cœur Basilica. We could have taken the funicular but the 4 of us crazily decided not to pay and to walk it, however slowly we needed to. All 234 steps. Yeah, we got our exercise that day for sure.
But when we got to the top… it was worth it. The Basilica was beautiful. Completely packed with people. peddlers, artists looking to make a buck by drawing people’s portraits, pigeons, you name it. Needless to say, we didn’t pay to climb the dome. We had had enough climbing that day and my knees definitely were done. But the view was enough to satisfy any need we had to do anything else that day. And as a bonus, we got to see the Eiffel Tower one. last. time.
And when we saw a train to take us down to the bottom of the hill for €5 each, you bet your ass we took it. And there we saw a man get stabbed which was very interesting and at that moment we couldn’t wait to leave Paris and get to our next destination: Munich! We got to the train station, got our luggage, and slept in the train car, the 4 of us bunked up together awaiting our next adventure. :)
This is a part of my ever persistent quest to finally blog about our month long trip to Europe in May of 2011. You can read about the rest of our days by clicking on “Travel” at the top!