Sunday, June 19, 2011


June 7th, 2011

When it came time to leave London, we headed for the train station. We were taking the Chunnel to Paris! I was really looking forward to the part where the train goes under water, but I ended up missing it because I feel asleep! ha ha Oh well! We soon arrived in Paris and navigated the metro to our hotel. Our hotel ended up being in this gorgeous courtyard with several restaurants and shops with lights dangling from the trees. When then got all checked in and found out that we were on the 7th floor; however, they informed us that there was no lift in the hotel. So we began the trek up to our room. The first few flights were not that bad, but after a while the small, winding staircase makes you dizzy and faint! ha ha Once we finally accomplished the task and reached our room we were breathless. This was not due to the stairs but because of the amazing view from our window! It made the climb up the stairs with all of our luggage completely worth it!! Here are some pictures of our hotel and the view.

Simply gorgeous! We often left our window open at night to listen to the people chatting in the cafes and the music that was being played.

After we got settled in, we went to explore! We walked around looking at all the little shops and restaurants in the area around our hotel. We ended up eating at an italian restaurant and had some amazing pizza!!!!!

While we were eating, Anna taught me some french and so did the waitress! We had a lovely dinner and then headed back to the hotel to rest up for the next day!

June 8th, 2011

We started off our day in Paris by taking a tour bus like the one in London! We really enjoyed being able to get off the bus look around for as long as we liked and then simply catching another tour bus! It makes seeing the city really easy! Our first stop was Notre Dame!! It was beautiful, simply beautiful. It was so neat looking at all of the detail in the architecture of the building! I loved it!

After viewing Notre Dame, we found a little cafe to have an early lunch at! We had hot chocolate (Paris was very chilly - and we didn't pack many clothes for that type of weather, so it was interesting dealing with the cold each day) and ham & cheese sandwiches. Ham and cheese is very popular all over Europe! You can always get a ham and cheese anywhere you go!!! The waiter brought our hot chocolate out with sugar called Daddy. I thought it was hilarious because of the phrase "Sugar Daddy" so I had to take a picture!

During lunch, our handsome waiter helped us with our french and we enjoyed views of the cathedral! When it was time to leave the restaurant, I decided to go to the bathroom before venturing out again. Our waiter told me that he would have to give me a token to use the facilities. I was shocked at this! In America we are accustomed to walking in just about anywhere and being able to use the restroom. However, in Europe, you need to be a customer in the shop/ restaurant to use the bathroom. I thought that was very interesting. After our quick lunch break, we went back to the bus and continued with the tour. Our next stop was the Place de la Concorde. This area was very nice! There were several detailed statues, fountains and an Egyptian monument with many hieroglyphics on it! (A gift from Egypt). This is also the area with some fabulous shops!!!! Gucci, Chanel and many other designers!! We loved seeing all of the architecture and stores, but we enjoyed watching the traffic even more! There are no lanes in Europe! The driving, especially in Paris, is just crazy! Anytime we got on a bus or in a taxi, I was certain to put on a seat belt because you never knew what was going to happen! So, at the Concorde, we enjoyed watching all the craziness of the traffic!

After the Concorde, we went to the Champs Elysees!!! I was so excited because you always hear about this street and how wonderful it is, but I truly discovered that once I saw it! The street is so alive, with tons of shops, restaurants, people and just all types of stuff! We enjoyed a walk along the Champs Elysees and then went to the Arc de Triomphe! I absolutely loved the Arc! It is stunning! The Arc is so large and detailed as well that it is just amazing! I loved looking at all the details in the building and the great views down the Champs Elysees. After looking around for a while, we decided to go up the 284 steps to the top of the Arc! It was sooooooo worth it! The view was gorgeous! You could see for miles and even see the Eiffel Tower! Definitely worth the hike up all those stairs!!

View from the top!!!!

Crazy traffic!!!!

Tons & tons of stairs!!
After leaving the Arc and enjoying the many stores, we got back on the tour bus. We then rode the bus around quite a bit to relax for a little while. While on the bus we got some great views of the Eiffel tower!! The bus was telling us information about everything we saw and had one really funny story about the Eiffel Tower. When Hitler came to visit the Eiffel Tower, the elevator was somehow out of order. Therefore; Hitler had to take the stairs all the way! However, as soon as he got up to the top, a maintenance suddenly had the "broken" elevator fixed. ha ha Serves him right. While touring around the Eiffel Tower, I decided that seeing it was worth the expensive flight over. It is a sight, but more about that later! After riding the bus for a while, we got off at The Louvre museum. The design of the museum is really neat. I enjoyed my time at the Louvre, looking at the architecture of the building was fantastic and seeing the Mona Lisa in person was impressive! We enjoyed also looking at the many stores inside the Louvre and even ate dinner there and had some Starbucks!!!

In front of the Lourve


We finished our day with a walk back to our hotel along the river and more Macaroons!!!! They are soooooooooooooooo good!!! ha ha We always figured it was ok to eat them since we could work them off on the 7 flights of stairs up to our room.

June 9, 2011

Today we started off our day at the Holocaust Memorial/ Museum. It was quite an educational experience. It was very interesting learning all about the details of how it was during that time in France, but also very depressing the entire time we were there. They had videos playing of some survivors and even though they were speaking in French, I could feel their pain and the sadness of their lost of the ones they loved. I am glad that we got to go because it was so humbling learning how the Holocaust affected people in the actual country where we were at the time. We often focus on germany and Poland in Holocaust studies, so it was very educational to get to hear about it from the French perspective.

The entrance to the museum/ memorial

After the Holocaust Memorial, we ventured out to Montmartre. This is the area where the famous "Moulin Rouge" is located; however, there are many interesting shops, markets, restaurants and this is where the Sacre Coeur Cathedral (the sacred heart) is located. The area is beautiful, but located on a very steep hill which the Sacre Coeur sits on top of. Let's just say I am definitely getting my exercise in Europe!!! After climbing the hill, we stopped at a cute cafe for lunch and enjoyed the view of the city.

The view

After lunch, we continued our journey to the top to see the Sacre Coeur. On the way we looked at the many shops and ran into this adorable paint studio. We looked at the gorgeous paintings in the window, but the door was locked. We saw a man in the back, so we knocked on the door. He quickly came and opened the door to let us in. He had to be the cutest little old man I have ever seen. He had been working on a painting in the back studio so that was why the door was locked. However, he let us in to look around. As we were looking around we began to ask him questions and discovered so much about him! He has been painting in Montmartre for over 50 years!!! He taught us a few french statements and asked us about the United States. Once we had picked out paintings, he had us each sign a book that he has all of his clients sign saying, where we were from, our name and any information we would like to share about his work. He also asked for us to take a picture with him as he does with all his customers to remind him of us. He questioned us about our trip and wished us the best of times and safe travels! he then kissed us each on the cheek and said goodbye! I will never forget that sweet man. Here are the pictures of his shop, him and my painting.

The book we signed.

His studio.

We then continued the trek to the cathedral. On the way we passed a street fair with performers, artists, food and many other interesting things. But then we finally made it to the church! The Sacre Coeur is breathtaking! The view from the church and inside were absolutely gorgeous. While enjoying the view from the cathedral, I saw a precious couple in their 80/90s also enjoying the view. This made me think of my grandfather who passed away a little over a year ago. My grandfather was a preacher and would have loved the cathedral and the view. I know he is proud of me and this journey I am on now though! The couple also made me think of the late Mr. Huffman. The Huffmans are an adorable couple that go to our church in Shelbyville. They would always match for church and anytime I was in the local paper or Micky was Mrs. Huffman would cut it out and bring the copy to us! They mean so much to my family and I am so thankful to have had great people in my life like my grandfather and Mr. Huffman.

I really enjoyed our time in Montmarte! Here are some more pictures from the afternoon.

We then made our way back down the hill and to the bus. We got off the bus at the Eiffel Tower, but realized then line was way to long! We quickly decided to return in the morning, but still got some pictures in!

We then took a taxi to the Champs Elysees for dinner and to do some shopping!!!! We ate at a restaurant called Chez Clement right in view of the Arc de Triomphe and enjoyed fried cheese appetizers and pork chops & mashed potatoes for the main course! It was a wonderful way to relax after a busy day!

The restaurant. You can see the Arc in the background.

After dinner, we looked around at the shops then took a taxi back to the hotel. Our taxi driver asked where we were from and we told him Memphis. He was so excited! We had obviously just ran into the biggest Elvis fan in Paris! so we talked about Elvis until we arrived at the hotel. Another amazing day in Paris!

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