The husband and I just got back from a trip to France for our second anniversary. It was amazing. We spent one week in Paris and one week in the Loire Valley so let's start with Paris.
Top 5 Things We Loved About Paris:
1.) Parks and Picnics. There are too many parks in Paris to rave about them all here. We did a hearty parks-n-picnics tour. First stop, les Tuileries:
Although it wasn't quite sunny enough to really enjoy the teak loungers in the back of the garden, I sure gave it my all..
2.) The Eiffel Tower. We did this as almost the last thing on our Paris tour, but it was perfect. I know that le Tour Eiffel is viewed by many to be touristy and heinous. I still think it is total magic.
It made me want to kiss. A lot.
We walked up to the second level of the Tour and then took the elevator up. At the top, we got the last two glasses of champagne out of the champagne stand. Best pre-anniversary ever!
(So happy I think every one of my teeth are showing in that photo.)
Did you know that after dark the Eiffel Tower sparkles every hour on the hour? We caught some of the sparkle action from the second story.
And back down:
Gah! Still so beautiful. It was really fun to visit this monument with another engineer and nerd out about iron and the construction and the names of all the French scientists and engineers around the base. Nerd-love, love-nerd. (Also very fun to visit this monument with someone you want to make out with. Can't recommend that enough.)
3.) Art Museums. Paris is (of course) the great-grandaddy of all museum cities. I think the husband could have spent a year in the Louvre. (Let's be honest, even to an art lover like myself it FELT like we spent a year in the Louvre.) Photographing art is a little like dancing about architecture. Pictures like this one:
Don't even come close to capturing the urgency of the motion and the clarity of the water dampened gauzy garments that stick to the body about to spring into flight. So, no more art photographs. OK, well there is this one little ceiling in the Louvre that I'm obsessed with...
Well, the Louvre was, after all, a palace. What would you expect? After a full day at the Louvre, the husband took this pic of me looking a bit peaked.
We have a hilarious family story about my mother falling asleep in the Louvre while my dad perused the art on their honeymoon. When the security guard woke her up and told her she couldn't sleep there she pointed despairingly at my dad and said "but this is my honeymoon and he is my husband!" After viewing the art-struck look on my dad's face, the security guard told her to go ahead and sleep. Our family history is totally repeating itself...
We loved the Louvre but I think we both loved the Musee d'Orsay more. The Musee d'Orsay is specifically reserved for 19th century art. A.K.A. the new stuff. A.K.A. the impressionists. It's also housed in a gorgeous old train station that they almost tore down in the 1970's.
Because tearing all this down seems like a fabulous idea? Hmm. It's filled with impressionist art that so blew my mind that I didn't take a single picture. Imagine rooms filled with Monet and Degas and Renoir. It's exactly as you imagine.
4.) Churches. In the immoral words of Snoop Dogg, from the church to da palace. The churches in Paris are legendary. We did Notre Dame first. (Sorry to anyone who has been to Paris as the next photos will bore you to tears.) This is what it looks like from the outside:
Like a before-and-after the outside-and-inside comparison is pretty striking. Outside:
Bam! Oh the gorgeousness that 500 years of construction can bring.
We went up to the top to hang out with the gargoyles.
(This is one of my favorite pics. Can you spot the Eiffel Tower?) They also have a bell tower with me-sized doors!
We went to a bunch of other churches, St. Severin, St. Sulpice and my favorite, Sacre Coeur. St. Severin was a new one for me, but we loved it. I loved the stained glass:
Fred loved the organ:
OK, enough of that. They're churches. And they're gorgeous. You should go see them. Don't miss the organ at St. Severin, if you're lucky they'll be having organ practice which is amazing.
This is the view of that couch that I'm sitting on. Note the original half timbered ceiling, apparently the apartment was built in the 14th century? Makes me embarrassed for harping on about the newspaper from 1900 in our walls in Seattle. 1900 is straight up modern by French standards. The bed is in a little nook to the right of this shot, but my pictures of it made it look like a cell, which it definitely was NOT. It was the most charming snugglenest that ever happened, and I'm just going to let your imaginations fill in the Parisian details of adorableness.
OK, those were our top 5 things about Paris. Paris was everything that is romantic, elegant, impressive and old. We loved it. I still have so many great pics to show you that the next post may be 5 Secretly Awesome Things about Paris! Stay tuned!