Bounjour! I got back from Paris late last night. Paris was spectacular. I absolutely LOVED it! Everything in Paris seemed larger than life. A BIG city (much bigger than the quant little Florence I am used to), a BIG Tower (the Eiffel tower, which certainly does not disappoint), a BIG museum (the Louvre is unimaginably big), and BIG price tags (the shopping, though incredible, is quite expensive). I have so much to share about Paris:
· Flying RyanAir: RyanAir is the typical low-budget, student airline in Europe. This was our first adventure with RyanAir, and although our round trip tickets from Pisa to Paris were scored for only 56 Euro (about 85 dollars) it was quite the experience. Simply put, RyanAir is a Joke. No assigned seats means the ‘Q’ to board the plane starts about 30 minutes before boarding and is basically a big student jumble where shoving is encouraged. Once on the plane the trip begins to feel less like a wrestling match and more like a live circus. A large handful of flight attendants rush up and down the tiny aisle-helping shove all bags in the overhead compartments (no checked baggage on Ryan, only one carry on bag per person). I think their training must have been biased on ‘Aggressive Service’. Before you know it the plane is taking off, is everyone even buckled in their seats?? Who knows, but now we’re airborne. The next circus act features the ‘in-flight Crap Sales’. Do you need a magazine, a book, a three course Ryan ‘meal’ (not recommended), a drink (not complementary) perfume, a lotto ticket, or want to give the rest of the passengers cancer? Cause RyanAir flight attendants would be happy to sell you even a pack of cigarettes to help you enjoy your flight. This sales act continues until we have finally landed in Paris and a little Trumpet sounds and the planes speakers announce “Congratulations, you have just been a part of yet another safe on-time RyanAir landing” The whole plane erupts into clapping and cheering (as if this were a rare occurrence) and finally this nightmare Circus is over!
· From the Airport we jumped in a cab (by ourselves, careful to avoid ‘Taken’ style) and headed to our Hotel. The cab drive drove in a complete circle and charged us for it, telling us he had to because of ‘one-ways’ (its true what they say about French people being rude to Americans).
· The next morning we got up early anticipating a busy day, so much to see! We started with the Louvre. The Louvre was unbelievably MASSIVE. The building goes on for blocks, not to mention it is packed FULL of incredible Art. The Mona Lisa is about the one thing in Paris that is not larger than life (it is pretty small and disappointing in fact. Still, flocks of people crowd around her)
- My favorite part of the Louvre was the preserved residences of Napoleon III. The Louvre used to be home to the Royal French family (before they moved to Versailles because the Louvre was too small!) and these rooms contain preserved furniture from the royals. BEAUTIFUL. They also have some of Frances Crowned Jewels on display! The residences confirmed my desire to be Royal someday (as if I needed any confirmation).
· After a sunny day of sightseeing in Paris we had a wonderful dinner by the gorgeous Eiffel Tower. After dinner we spent a good hour or two walking all around the beautifully lit tower, took a million pictures, sang ‘French’ songs, pinched ourselves to realize we were actually IN PARIS, had delicious nuetella crapes, and then took the Metro back to our hotel.
· The next morning we took the metro (even I started getting the hang of the metro towards the end of this trip) to the Arc de Triomphe. We took a beautiful walk down the Champs Elysees. We saw fashion week tents being cleaned up and put away, had delicious omelets and French fries for lunch, got some beautiful Laduree Macarones, kissed Paris goodbye, and headed home to Florence.
Paris was such a treat, and I cannot wait to return someday (Hopefully next time I'll be wearing a crown….)!