Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Paris, and Queuing Up

We have a running list of places to visit in Europe before heading home to the U.S. (and it seems like we add more all the time), so I'm constantly trolling the calendar and flights to see what we can squeeze into the schedule for a reasonable price.  

When checking the flights back to Oslo from Tuscany, I researched to see if there was anything that would work for the weekend on the journey back...

...and I found an $18 flight to Paris.  

Done and done.

Kate stayed in Italy to finish up her trip, and Ken flew to Paris from Oslo to meet me for the weekend.

I had the morning and afternoon to explore a bit before Ken arrived.  He's been to Paris a couple of times, and this was my first visit.  So, knowing that the chances of getting him back into the Louvre were extremely slim since he'd already been, I spent the morning there.  

It was massive.  And gorgeous.  

I didn't take any pics inside the Louvre.  There were people taking pics next to every single piece of art, and I wondered if they were planning on setting up camp in there for the night, since it takes long enough to get through most of it while zooming through.  I opted for the zoom approach.

The beautiful Louvre.  It feels gigantic inside, and looks even more gigantic outside.

Still going...

After the Louvre, I headed to the d'Orsay.  And arrived to find the museum was closed due to a strike.  Well, shoot.  I just had to wander the streets of Paris in the sunshine, then.  Okay...

Charm.  Everywhere.


Clock on the d'Orsay.

Love love love the flower boxes and blue skies.

Gorgeous/delish bakery just down the street from our hotel in the Latin Quarter.  

Opera cake from the bakery...heaven.

Ken arrived Friday evening.  So I pulled myself away from the bakery, and we found a random restaurant where we enjoyed a "cheaper" (yep, Paris seemed a little more reasonable compared to Norway...who would've thought?!) and delish dinner.

After dinner, we had beers with Steven, a friend of mine from elementary school who's living in Paris for a bit while working toward his Ph.D. in French Literature.  It was fun to catch up and reminisce about growing up in T-town. 

Man beers, and girl beers (with glow sticks!).

The next morning, I decided to check out the d'Orsay again to see if the strike was over.  Alas, it was still closed.  So I took a long walk, and Ken went for a run.

Lone pic from the walk.  (Let's face it, I also did some shopping during the "walk" sans husband...)

After Ken's run, we headed up to Montmartre...such a fantastic area.

Gorgeous Sacre Coeur.

Fall wall in Montmartre.

The Eiffel Tower was next on the list...

A little hazy on the approach.

But very nice when we got there.  

A few notes regarding our headwear in the photo above:  

1.  Yes, it says "PARIS" on Ken's hat.  He needed a white hat for his Halloween costume, so he purchased this hat solely because the "A" in Paris was a bedazzled Eiffel Tower.  And he wore it only for this pic.  Too bad they didn't have a coordinating fanny pack for this hat...

2.  Yes, I'm wearing a beret in Paris.  It was frigid outside that morning, so I popped into Benetton (new love) on Champs-Elysees to see if they had a simple hat.  Lo and behold, they had a wall of cute berets in different colors, and I didn't really dig the other hats in the shop.  I only wore it until it warmed up a bit outside, then put it on again in mockery of Ken's bedazzled hat for this photo.  I'll now wear it in cities other than Paris, hopefully without feeling like a goon.

3.  Yes, we took these hats off immediately after taking the pic.

Pretty door on the walk back to the hotel.

LOVED this building.

We had a little time to explore before our flight the last day, so we visited Notre Dame and did a final lap around part of the Seine.

Beautiful Notre Dame.

The bus back to the airport was the most extreme case of line-cutting we've experience on this continent (queuing up in a civilized manner doesn't seem to be a priority in many places here).  We've put aside our line-waiting politeness during this season of our lives, and now make it a game to test our line-cutting skillz as well.  It also makes situations that would normally tick us off during long bits of travel quite entertaining, since we can make snarky remarks to each other about ruining our chance for the cut, getting our game face on for the cut, not edging ourselves in well enough to keep the others at bay, etc.

You have to experience the game yourself to truly appreciate it.  So, next time you're in Europe, don't get irritated when people cut.  Just cut in line yourself, and voila...fun.