After a full eight hours of sleep on Thursday night, we woke up ready to explore Paris. Friday was our big free-day and we intended to make good use of it. We quickly got ready and ate a hearty breakfast of a pain au chocolat (me) and cheese crepes (Joe and my sister). With our bellies full, we hopped on the Metro and headed towards the Tuileries stop. Once there, walked through the Jardin des Tuileries on our way to the Musée d’Orsay!
Guys- the Musée d’Orsay is my favorite museum in the entire world. In my ideal world, where I had clearly won the lottery or come into a large sum of money, I’d have an apartment that’s a short walk away from the museum and a yearly membership so I could just hang out in the museum all day every day. I would also fabulous piece of art by Degas (I’ve already mentioned how crazy I am over this guy).
Okay, I’ve gotten off topic.
Our first stop was the Impressionist Gallery on the 5th floor and included Degas, Monet, Manet, Renoir, and Cézanne, among others. I’ve always been a fan of impressionist art because I find it interesting to see the world through someone else’s eyes. It all feels very romantic, if that makes sense. While we were up on the 5th floor, we also got a great view of Paris through the clock. Before leaving, we made sure to browse through the sculptures on the second floor (Rodin!) and then a Van Gogh and Gauguin exhibit. I always like to buy a print after visiting a museum so Joe and I decided to take a copy of Van Gogh’s L’église d’Auvers-sur-Oise, vue du chevet back with us (bonus points because it was featured in a Doctor Who episode).
Next stop on our walking tour of Paris was the Eiffel Tower. My sister and I had both been before but Joe hadn’t. It was pretty grey out and the line was a little on the long side so we decided not to go up, but it was still nice to stand at the base. I had forgotten how tall it was!
Up next was the Arc de Triomphe – a site none of us had really been to before. It was a bit of a hike, but well worth the trip. There are arches in New York (Washington Square Park, Grand Army Plaza) but they pale in comparison to this one. It’s very impressive with all of the intricate details in the arch.
There are also some great views from the top. It had started drizzling at this point in the day but it actually worked to our advantage since few people wanted to go up in the rain. Their loss!
That evening, we went out again with my uncle and Steve but this time, we were accompanied by two of his friends. They brought us to a club in the 20th where we got to listen to an Argentinian band. By 11pm, we were all pretty hungry so we went to a cute little restaurant and had a very late (but amazingly delicious) dinner.
By Saturday, the three of us were all all pretty exhausted. Instead of trying to overload our schedules, we decided to sleep in a little late and then go do some shopping. Joe found a scarf, I grabbed a hat, and my sister got a purse. We also stumbled upon the National Archives, which have beautiful gardens. Definitely a fun surprise for us.
After a relaxing day, we opted to walk back to the apartment. On the way, we got to visit Bastille and jump on the Metro there. Joe was excited about the history of the area while I was excited to finally get a good look at the tile in the Metro station.
Since my uncle’s birthday wasn’t starting until 8pm, we decided to eat some sandwiches while getting ready. We also made sure to pack up everything we wouldn’t need before heading out.
At 7:30pm, we headed out to Café Barge where the party was being held (we had the downstairs room for about 30-40 people). It was so nice being able to meet all of my uncle’s friends (some of them I had already met when I was a baby). Almost everyone was bilingual so it was easy to mingle. There was also a ton of food – tuna tartar, sushi, some avocado/cheese mouse thing, salmon with truffled pasta, chicken and potatoes, cakes, fruit salads – so we were all pretty happy.
The appetizers and desserts came in little containers that fit in the glasses which was the coolest thing ever.
The party ended at 2:00am, but we didn’t get back to the apartment until 2:30am. My uncle stopped by on his way back to say goodbye to us so we didn’t start getting ready for bed until 3:00am. Since my plan was to wake up at 5:30am, I got very little sleep our last night. By 6:30am, we were all out on the street, waiting for our cab to the airport. The trip was only about 30 minutes and since it was so early, we were some of the only people going through security. The airport and the flight were painless and before we knew it, we were back home (just kidding, I watched about 3-4 movies on the flight). Thank goodness Joe and I both took Monday off because we were exhausted. Heck, I still am and it’s Thursday!
Now we just need to figure out a way to go back ASAP!