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October 1, 2010

It turns out that some of those stereotypes about Paris are true. People smoke more than in the US, carry around baguettes in straw shopping baskets, and are far more fashionably dressed than in most American cities. We even spied an adorable French girl sitting on a doorstep in an alley smoking while wearing a beret, a striped shirt, and winged black eyeliner. Surely she was a plant by the local tourism board.

Speaking of tourism, we did a lot of it, and it was wonderful, though tiring. Our trips always seem to involve a ton of walking, and this one was true to form. We traipsed all over Paris and managed to go everywhere on our itinerary while eating delicious pastries and taking lots of photos. Despite our combined complete deficiency in French, we even somehow avoided rude waiters. Everyone was perfectly civil to us, which I think had something to do with the fact that we tried hard not to act like entitled, annoying American tourists. Or look like them–we were both asked questions on the metro several times by French-speakers who seemed surprised that we had no idea what they were saying.

We stayed right near the Arc de Triomphe. Did you know that underneath it there’s a memorial flame for the unknown soldier that’s been burning continuously since 1923? Well, except for when a drunken soccer fan put it out by peeing on it. There are also lovely views from the top.

Of course we went to Notre Dame, and we briefly saw blue skies for what may have been the only time on the whole trip.

It’s hard to take good photos because you’re not allowed to use a flash or tripod, but we visited the famous (and creepy!) Catacombs. While we were waiting to in line to enter we watched the Techno Parade, which involved large flat-bed trucks filled with people dancing to techno music. We could hear the beats of the music as we descended underground. Talk about contrasts.

This was taken at the Pompidou Center, a modern art museum where we went after we’d soaked up all of the classical art we could take at the Louvre.

This one needs no introduction. It was undergoing renovation, though, so there was netting around several areas.

We went up just after dark, when there was still enough light to take photos without a flash if you steadied your hand on a railing. Isn’t the city beautiful?

The guidebooks all said that the palace at Versailles was a “must-see,” so we went, but I wasn’t expecting to be terribly impressed by a fancy house. But we happened to go while they were holding a special exhibit of work by Takashi Murakami, and the surreal contrast was amazing. If you know him for nothing else it’s probably for his wildly successful collaborations with Louis Vuitton, but he also makes highly-sought-after art. Elaborate gilded rococo/neoclassical rooms, meet giant glossy pop-art sculptures.

Whoever thought that it would be a good idea to let Murakami loose in Versailles was right.

Paris has a reputation as the most romantic city in the world, and that proved true for me. While we were there Steven proposed, and I said yes.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 2, 2010 12:12 am

    Sound like fun!

  2. October 2, 2010 12:24 am

    Congratulations! That looks like a perfect trip. I really loved Versaille, even without modern art. I think the garden is sooo beautiful and the inside overwelming. Just because I was constantly switching between amazement and shoking my head. It’s rediculous to incooperate that mutch gold in one house. But it’s the essence of baroque.

  3. Lisa permalink
    October 4, 2010 7:58 pm

    This is my favorite post on a blog ever :D CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!

  4. October 7, 2010 1:45 pm

    Congrats!!!! That is such a romantic story you will be able to tell over and over!

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