…Passionnément…

So here’s what happened.

Sometime last week, or two weeks ago perhaps, when the date was still in the teens, I turned on my laptop. I’ve had my laptop for over two years now and it had been giving me problems. Mainly, there was no battery life to speak of. I mean that quite literally. It would shut off immediately if it was suddenly unplugged. Also, the connection with the charger and the laptop was bad; I had to place the laptop a certain way, wave and wiggle the charger around for a bit to the left, the right, and over my head until I saw the orange light at the front of my laptop. If someone even tip toed around the charger, the connection would be lost and my computer would shut off.

It wasn’t easy, but I got used to it. I dealt. But then, that day in particular, sometime last week, or two weeks ago perhaps, I turned on my laptop and saw this

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That is my laptop. That is the screen, broken. You can’t tell from the picture, but it was flashing and those horizontal lines running across the top were moving up and down. I couldn’t do much and it was hard to see, especially with the tears forming in my eyes. I’m not sure how it broke, but whatever it was, it ruined my life.

Anyways, this is why I haven’t posted anything in a while. I had to a buy a new computer. After my trip and after getting my hours cut(more like obliterated) at work, this laptop situation came at a really inopportune time. I’m broke now, but at least I have the Internet again. One must learn how to prioritize.

Anyways, that’s my excuse. Now that I have this new computer, it is giving me a pretty annoying time. I have Windows 8 on it and it’s pretty new to me, so I’m having a hard time figuring things out. I tried and tried and tried to upload my pictures from my phone onto this computer. I just couldn’t do it. Obviously, simply plugging my phone into the laptop wasn’t working, so I used this thing called dropbox. I’d never heard of it before but it’s super useful, although a bit slow. I started it up this morning and it’s now still uploading pictures from my trip to the Louvre(They’re going up chronologically, and also it’s now 5 in the afternoon where I am).

For now I guess I’ll just keep writing about Paris. I’ll add the pictures once they’re all up.

Day 4:

We woke up on time for once, and after quickly getting ready and eating breakfast, we left the hotel for St. Denis. Before leaving, my dad had warned me about this area, saying it was a bad area, that it was a worker’s neighborhood. He asked not to go, to stay in safer areas, but I didn’t feel like not going. I was glad I did.

I winced my way to a shop once we got off the metro and bought a pair of flat boots for a reasonable amount of cash. Yes!

Once out, we walked for a bit and we came across what I think was the Saint Denis Market. There was stalls everywhere, selling everything from food, to scarves, to shoes, to perfumes. I was so distracted by the bargains, that I forgot to take any photos.

My dad did warn me about this area, but I have to say that I enjoyed it immensely. Maybe it’s only like this on Sundays, but it was alive and it felt real. The area our hotel was in, for example, was lovely and beautiful, but what I saw of St. Denis felt more lively or something.  Anyhow, I did purchase a few things, and by a few, I mean I did most of my gift shopping there. I bought so much stuff for not too much money. When I got back home, my sister was happy with her Parisian perfume and soaps, but they cost me a total of maybe 5 euros. Although I won’t tell her that. She can keep thinking they’re fancy.

We eventually made our way to the Basilica and what do you know! We were there too early, the tours weren’t going to open until 12 and it was 11 am. So we walked around and admired the placed, took a few pictures, and sat down and prayed. It was Sunday after all.

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Once it was twelve, we went outside through the side door and showed our passes to see the necropolis and the crypt where France’s Kings and Queens were put to rest. It was really nice, and there weren’t too many people there, which was a very welcome change compared to the attractions and museums we had seen before. My cousin actually enjoyed it, she said later on it was probably her favorite of all the places we visited.

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I don’t know if anyone can see the names, but these are the tombs of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI :

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During the visit, we were holding out bags the whole time, the ones with out purchases. We decided not lug them around the whole day, so we took the metro back to the hotel.

I took my boots off and changed into the new ones. Sweet, sweet relief. I cannot describe just how good it felt not to wish for death with each step I took. We went back out and headed to les Invalides. Walking out of the metro, we came across a crepe stand and decided to get a quick lunch. This was my first time having crepes in France, and boy, was I impressed! I had a savoury  crepe with chicken and cheese and it was so good. Like actually delicious. I cry at night thinking of crepes now, cause I know I will never find any as good as the ones I had in France. Actually, a few days ago, I was in a mall in my city and I noticed this stand in the food court that made crepes. But they made them weird. They were hard and crunchy, while the ones I had in Paris were wonderfully soft.  Anyhow, we got to les Invalides and went to the Army Museum, which I thoroughly enjoyed. ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

WWI and WWII stuff:

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We then went back outside to go to Napoleon’s tomb. It was sort of dark inside, and I still didn’t know that my phone had a low light option. So some of the pictures are sort of bad, but yeah.

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The night was still sort of young, so I suggested we go to the Oberkampf region for dinner. We left the Invalides and while walking to find a metro station, we came across the Eiffel tower.

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So purdy!

We took the metro and got off at Parmentier. Maybe because it was a Sunday evening, or maybe I took a wrong turn somewhere, but there weren’t many bars. We walked and walked, and I even saw some bars that had been suggested from this website, but they all seemed to be closed down, not just for the night, but for the winter.

My travelling companion was getting irate and hungry and demanded we stopped somwhere so she could use the restroom. We stopped at this take out place that sold Asian cuisine(like a mix of Southeast and Indian, I saw both samosas and egg rolls). I sat and waited for her and got a small chicken skewer to munch on while she waited. I was really hungry. I liked it. She came out and ordered one too, along with a spring roll. While she ate, I went outside again in search for the lively, bar area guides had promised me. Nothing.

I came back and she was finishing her food. “C’est mangeable.”

We left and eventually found a restaurant we had walked by earlier. It was called “La Place Verte“. It was pretty okay, I wasn’t a big fan of the food. My cousin said of her Sangria “C’est buvable.” I wish I were making this up.

Day 5:

We woke up early again, which proved to be awesome, because we were able to go to l’Orangerie rather early and we didn’t have to wait in line when we were there. To get there, we walked through a bit of the Tuileries Gardens. Just like with the gardens at Versailles, I felt as thought they would have been nice in the spring or summer. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it.  I also really enjoyed l’Orangerie, but we were not allowed to take photos inside. So here are some phtots from outside instead

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We then took the metro to l’Île de la Cité and we walked to Notre Dame. It is BEAUTIFUL! I loved it. We waited in line for a bit to enter the church. Some guy came up to me. He was selling Eiffel tower key chains. I was warned about the people selling those, but I felt like I got a good deal out of it: 20 key chains for 4 euros! I wish I’d gotten more though, like 30, cause I ran out(I’m suuuuper popular).

The inside was beautiful. but it quickly got crowded. We struggled a bit to find where the entrace to the towers were. We went around the church about two times before we finally asked. We had to go back outside and to the side. There was a line. We stood in it for a REALLY long time. Like really long. Over an hour I’m pretty sure. By the time we finally made it to the end of the line, we climbed up the stairs. And more stairs. Until we got to the first floor, where they were selling souvenirs and whatnot. After a few minutes, they let us back into the staircase. We climbed and climbed and climbed and climbed. Holy crap. A lot of stairs! The staircase was small and spirally, and the steps didn’t even feel stable. All of the steps had indentations, from, I assume, the millions of people who have walked up and down those steps.

The view was gorgeous and I loved the gargoyles! I have to admit that I was thinking of Quasimodo from the Disney movie. We went around the tower and up another flight of stairs to the absolute top. More stairs! But it was worth it! So beautiful, but really windy. Fun story!

When I first got off the stairs, like I guess midway up the towers, I took out my phone to start taking photos, and that’s when I heard voices coming from the staircase.

“Oh my God! How many steps are there?”

“Is this it? This better be it or I’m going back down!”

From the door appeared an American couple(I could tell from the accent) of the more rotund variety. They were extremely out of breathing and wheezing. I only noticed them cause they were so loud. I quickly forgot about them, but a few minutes later, when we were waiting to go up the second staircase to go to the top, I heard them again.

“What is taking so long? Why are these people all just standing there?” the woman said.

The reason was, there was only that staircase for people to go up and down. We were, I assume, waiting for the staircase to clear before going up.

“Why are they just standing here? What’s going on? There are people waiting back here.”

I’m pretty sure everyone could hear them, they were loud and very obnoxious.  No one could move anywhere.

They kept complaining and then, I felt a poke on my shoulder.

“Parr-dawn!”(Pardon?)

I turned around and I told her: ” There’s nowhere for us to go.”

Still, the woman kept up.

“Parr-dawn? Could someone move please? We’re trying to get through! Parr-dawn!”

Some other guy said

“There not letting us through yet, we all have to wait.”

She stopped a bit after that, but once we were allowed to go into the staircase, instead of going up, they went down. Haha!

Anyways, here are some pictures!

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Anyways, once we left, it was getting late. Really late. I had wanted to go to la Sainte Chapelle, but everything as closing. We were actually at Notre Dame(in line) for so long, and everything was closing early; It was the 31st of December.

So instead, we went to get some food. I had a croque madame for the first time and it was so good! I enjoyed it immensely, although, my cousin wasn’t impressed by hers. I had a mousse au chocolat for dessert. Yum!

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The waiters we had were very friendly with us. They joked with us, called us “les Canadiennes”, and even invited us to come over later for midnight cause they were going to be celebrating. Actually, they insisted. We didn’t want to be rude, so we just smiled and said maybe, but they really wanted us to come.

So we went back to our hotel to get ready. Well, that’s what I thought. My cousin fell asleep. I tried waking her up, begging her to get up and get ready. She said she was tired, that she didn’t want to go out. That she never did anything on New Year’s eve at home, so she didn’t see why she should start now.

Ummm what? No. I was so frustrated, I didn’t come all the way here to sleep on New Year’s. No way. I panicked for a bit, went online to look for something to do, to ask for some help.

It was probably very selfish of me, but I eventually forced her to wake up and get ready. It was 11 o clock or so, and we walked to the Champs-Élysées. There were a lot of people walking along in no particular direction so that’s what we did. It was drizzling a bit, and we didn’t have an umbrella, but we didn’t min d too much. Right outside of Queen nightclub, a woman began talking to us. She asked us if we spoke English, and we said yes. We got to talking. She was alone in Paris for New Year’s eve and she wasn’t interested in dancing to techno music(the music Queen was playing, I suppose). She was German, but had lived in the United States for a long time. She was very kind, and as we talked, we all started walking together in search of a better nightclub. She told us about her life, she gave us lots of advice, she was very motherly(She was middle aged and had teen aged children). The new year arrived while we were still on the Champs-Élysées. There were maybe a few fireworks, but nothing special.

We did end up finding one of the nightclubs I had found online after taking the metro to the Montparnasse area. The internet had told me it was a great club, so I suggested it and we decided to go.The line was so long! We did find another nightclub. It was expensive(50 euros) but we each got two drinks with the price. It was pretty alright, but it would have been more fun if m cousin was doing more than texting on her phone. I’m very critical perhaps, but I feel that she should at least tried to have a good time. Anyways, she wanted to leave, so we left at 4 am. For the amount I paid, I was hoping to stay until the end, but she was really tired. We said goodbye to the nice lady we had met and got back to our hotel.

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…Beaucoup…

Before my trip to Paris, I was obsessing about every single detail, and one of those details was what to wear. Everyone knows Paris is one of the fashion capitals of the world, everyone there dresses beautifully. I did not want to look like an idiot, so I decided to purchase these boots.I’m not a fashion expert or anything, but I figured they looked fashionable enough to not make me stick out in the sea of fashion-forwardness that Paris was undoubtedly going to be. Now they don’t look so bad, at least, that’s what I told myself. I wore them a few times before my trip, and they did hurt a bit, but I figured, I would break them in.

Don’t judge me. Or do, whatever, but they freaking hurt. Like a lot. I know the heels are only three inches tall, but I swear, walking for hours on those cobblestones lead to one of the worst pains I have ever experienced in my life. It was dumb to buy those shoes, they absolutely killed, so please keep that in mind when you wonder about some of the decisions that were made when I was wearing them. Yeah, so:

Day 2:

After we got back to out hotel, we went straight to bed. We were extremely exhausted after our flight, and I was asleep as soon as my head touched the pillow. Not really. I said that for effect, but I did fall asleep rather quickly.

Anyways, I woke up and it was Friday. We were going to start using our museum pass that day and out first stop was Versailles. We wanted to get there early to have time to visit it and have enough time to see the Louvre afterwards. I woke up on time, as I usually wake up really early when I’m home, so waking up wasn’t an issue. My cousin however, loves to sleep. Loves it.

It took a while for her to wake up, and I’ll admit, I dawdled a bit online and we both took a long time getting ready. We had breakfast at our hotel, which took a while, but finally, we left. Two hours behind schedule. We took the metro to Bir-Hakeim and then took the RER C to Versailles. It took twenty minutes, and it permitted me to see a lot of the city. 

I remember these tourists were sitting near us, an American family, I think. A man, his wife, and their two teen aged daughters. I caught snippets of their conversation, I remember one of the daughters complaining, saying she didn’t want to see Versailles. Ha.

Anyways, we arrived at Versailles, and holy carp, it is huge. Like HUGE. I always knew it was big, but I didn’t think it would be that big.

We waited in line for a long time, but it was worth it. It is so beautiful. We visited the palace first. I took so many photos at Versailles, like over three hundred, but here are some for your viewing pleasure:

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There were all kinds of tourists there. This man obviously came all the way from the Wrong Side of the Tracks. He doesn’t live by the rules.

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Every inch of this place was beautiful. Once we were outside, I was completely blown away again. Although, the gardens weren’t as nice, I could tell how gorgeous they’d be in the summer with all the leaves and the flowers. Also, a lot of the statues were covered as well, but it was still very nice.

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My feet were killing me at this point. And my phone was nearly dead. I also met a cat, but he didn’t stay still. He was most definitely not ready for his closeup.

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I like cats, and this one came up to me and was really cute.  But then he left.  Anyways, our feet were killing us, our phones were dying, and our stomachs growling. We walked and found this restaurant. Unfortunately, their kitchen had closed, so we just had a drink and although we had wanted to go to Trianon, we decided, it was too damn far and we were running out of time to go to the Louvre. So we left Versailles and took the RER back to Paris. We stopped to get some food at a restaurent. I ordered boeuf bourguignon while my cousin ordered a pasta dish. She grimaced and I asked her how it was. “C’est mangeable.” For dessert, she ordered a chocolate mousse and I had a tarte tatin, which was amazing. Like actually delicious. It was the bomb.

Yeah, so we paid and went to the Louvre. It was getting pretty late, so we were unsure of how much we would see. We found a spot to charge our phones for a bit, and finally went inside. Some photos of some stuff:

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In the room with the Mona Lisa, I sat down to wait for my cousin. My feet were killing me and the crowd in front of the painting was annoying. There was a woman sitting next to me and we began talking. Small world! She graduated from one of the universities in my city. She offered a lot of advice as she had visited Paris before.

My phone shut off right after taking a photo of Venus de Milo, and we quickly left to go back to our hotel. We decided we hadn’t had enough of the Louvre, so we wanted to go back the next day. My feet were numb when I took off my shoes.

Day 3:

We overslept. After quickly getting ready and eating breakfast, we headed back to the Louvre, where I was able to take many more photos. ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

We had lunch in the cafeteria in the Louvre, and it was actually very good. I had lamb. Lamb is pretty good. We then went to the Chapelle Expiatoire. It was quite beautiful…

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And when we wanted to go inside, this happened:

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I was pretty disappointed, but we left and went to the Orsay museum. The line was really long, but we finally went inside. It was lovely, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. We were not allowed to take pictures inside, but I was able to take a few, mostly of the building, not the artwork.

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I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Orsay and I was disappointed we didn’t spend more time there. But my feet were vibrating with pain and we had to leave to go sit down.

After we left, we sat down on a bench, watching cars go by and trying to think of where to go next(Actually, we could no longer walk..). The internet recommended a place called Djoon to me, so after a nice break on that bench, we took the Metro there. We got off at Quai de la Gare, and once we arrived at Djoon, we realized it wasn’t open yet. We were hungry, so we decided to go find another place to eat. We stopped at this movie theater called MK2. They were also selling things inside, like books, and DVDs, and food. Just loads of stuff.  Oh! And something amazing happened! The most flattering thing! Someone came up to me and asked me where the François Mitterand library was! Of course, I didn’t know, but I was psyched an actual French person thought I was from Paris.

I know that in Paris, I should be eating French food, but once we left the theater, the first place we saw that was open and full of people was this pub called the Frog and Library. The Frog pubs are apparently a chain of English pubs in Paris. Anyways, we went in and sat down. Our waiter had an accent when he spoke, so I switched to English with him and he seemed somewhat happy to be speaking in English with us. We ordered food that was very much not French (quesadillas and chicken bites) and my cousin said that her drink(some cocktail) was “buvable”.

This guy sitting at the table next to us began speaking with us. Asked us where we were from, how we were liking Paris. He was very kind and offered some advice. However he did tell us we looked kind of mad and miserable.Well shucks. We left the pub and went back to Djoon. We had wanted to go there because we had read it was a dance club, but for some reason, no dancing was going on. We were there for hours. We ordered drinks and dessert( Mi-cuit for her, crème brûlée for me) and sat, talking for a long time. No dancing still. Disappointed, we left and went to bed.

I have been obsessed with macarons for a long time and I had my first real from-France macarons that day at the Louvre. They were delicious

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I was pretty satisfied with my first two days with the museum pass and it was proving to be uber convenient(we were able to skip a few lines), although the Chapelle Expiatoire being closed was a huge bummer. Also, my shoes definitely held me back. Il faut souffrir pour être belle.