Thursday, December 31, 2009

Paris, Day 3: Musée d'Orsay, Montmatre, and Sacré Coeur.

It's another gloriously gray day here in Paris. Our alarm actually worked properly this morning, and we were up drinking coffee and eating a croissant at 9am before meeting up with Aunt Jody and Kohl. After our quick breakfast, we headed to Musée d'Orsay.

Josh, Aunt Jody, and Kohl at the entrance.

We had some drama at the ticket counter and felt this sculpture represented our feelings well. :)

But we quickly recovered and started to explore.

The best stuff at the Musée d'Orsay, in my humble opinion, are the French Impressionist paintings. A few of my favorite things we saw. (I took a bunch more pictures, but I won't bore you with all of them.)

Paintings by Claude Monet.

Edgar Degas.

Vincent Van Gogh.

The red beard and blue eyes reminded me of someone. Although, the crazy look in the eyes isn't quite the same. :)

And some more...

Love her. Don't you wish we still wore hats like this?

Maybe this is random, but I was so impressed by the feet and toes of this sculpture!

My favorite sculpture at the museum.

I think the building itself, an old train station converted into a museum in 1986, is as pretty as the art it houses.

We spent a good portion of the morning and early afternoon at the Musée d'Orsay. After, we headed to a small bistro for lunch (a yummy croque madame pour moi), and then to Montmatre via the Metro.

Once in Montmatre, we stopped at the famous steps outside the Sacré Coeur.

Josh, striking a pose. :)

And a cute one.

A picture with me!

View from the top of the stairs.

Sacré Coeur.

Sadly, no cameras allowed inside, but we did take a small tour and lit a candle for our loved ones at home.

After such an action-packed day, we are back at the hotel taking a quick rest before the New Year's Eve festivities tonight.

Happy New Year's! Au revoir 2009 ... bienvenue 2010! :)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Paris, Day 2: The Louvre and the Eiffel Tower.

We set an alarm last night and had serious intentions of making an early start this morning. Too bad the alarm was still on California time. D'oh.

We woke up to Josh's Aunt Jody and cousin, Kohl, calling us from the lobby -- they had arrived! After a quick 15 minutes, we were downstairs and ready to go. But...Jody and Kohl were exhausted from their trip, so they decided to take a nap. While they slept, we headed back to the Louvre...this time to go inside!

The line was ridiculous, stretching all around the courtyard, but we decided to brave it anyway.

Sadly, I did not take any pictures inside the actual museum. I thought no cameras were allowed, but it turns out no flash photography allowed -- boo. Inside, we saw all the major stuff: Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and Winged Victory. We spent some time in the scuplture wing and in the History of the Louvre exhibit.

I did take some photos of the lobby. I know it's controversial, but I adore the glass pyramid in the center of the Louvre. It is stunning.

This picture would have been so cool if orange blazer weren't in the way. I will have to crop her out when I get home.

After spending the better part of the day at the Louvre, we headed back to meet up with Aunt Jody and Kohl at the hotel. From there, we grabbed crêpes and headed for the Metro, which we took the the Eiffel Tower.

We waited in another long line, but we finally made it to the elevators. The first time I came to Paris, my sister and I thought it would be "fun" to climb the stairs. Luckily, everyone seemed to be on board with taking the elevator this time!

Jody, Josh, and Kohl at the top of the Eiffel Tower.

Some aerial shots of our view. It was rainy, but still a gorgeous sight!

Kohl took a few pictures of Josh and me at the top. Unfortunately, they were blurry, but here is the clearest one.

After the Eiffel Tower, we had a very late bite to eat (around 11pm) and some wine, and then headed back to our hotel. Tomorrow, we are headed to the Musée d'Orsay in the morning. In the evening, we are planning to head back to the Eiffel Tower for the countdown to 2010. Then, we will see where the night takes us.

As a side note, given this is my last post of 2009, I have to say that I am determined to make 2010 a great year. There were many things to be thankful for in 2009, but there were some bumpy spots. I have a good feeling about 2010.

With that, bonne nuit!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Paris, Day 1: Jardin Tuileries, the Champs-Élysées, and Notre Dame.

Greetings from the City of Lights! Josh and I arrived in Paris last night after a loonng flight. Not surprisingly, Josh slept pretty much the whole time. I, well, did not. I read an entire book and watched three movies, and I was stir crazy and antsy by the halfway mark. (Patience has never been one of my virtues, I admit it.) At the eleventh hour (literally) we landed, hopped a connecting flight to Charles de Gaulle, and then took a quick taxi to our hotel in the Latin Quarter.

I have been to Paris twice before -- once with my Grandma Billie in junior high, and the second time I lived in a little apartment during the summer of 2004 and took a few classes at the Sorbonne after my first year of law school (a prerequisite for the LL.M. program, but as you can imagine, I did not complain). This is Josh's first trip, and Paris has been at the very top of his "must see" travel list.

We are staying at a tiny hotel in the same building as my old, tiny apartment. It is far from fancy, but it is inexpensive, clean, and central. I will post some pictures towards the end of our trip.

So, we arrived late Monday night. We took a short walk around the Latin Quarter, bought crêpes from a crêpe stand for dinner (ham and cheese for me, butter for Josh), and then walked along the River Seine. After that, we were tired and jet lagged, so we headed back to the hotel and fell right to sleep.

Today, we woke up mid-morning, slowly got ready, and then headed up the street to a small cafe for a quick coffee. We did not have big plans today, and Josh wanted to walk through the city and get oriented. So, we left the cafe, and headed toward the Seine, across Pont Neuf.

We walked past the Louvre, but it (like many other museums in Paris) is closed on Tuesdays.

As you can see, it was a lovely, gray day.

Since the Louvre was closed, we continued on through the Jardin Carrousel and the Jardin Tuileries.

We walked through the gardens, and then down the Champs-Élysées.

We stopped for a quick lunch: cheese crêpe for me (sensing a trend?) and pasta for Josh. We munched away while people watching.

Then, we were back on our way downt the Champs-Élysées.

We stopped at Laduree to buy some macarons.


After that, we walked back along the Seine, soaking in the city. We got back to our hotel around 5, took a quick nap (still fighting a bit of jet lag), and headed to dinner.

We ended up at a little bistro in the Latin Quarter called Le Bistrot 30. Sadly, no pictures of dinner -- I did not have the guts to bust out my camera -- but we enjoyed french onion soup, beef bourguignon for me (a potato for Josh), fondue, and sorbet and crème brûlée for dessert.

After dessert, we took another stroll, and sat outside Notre Dame, admiring it and enjoying the beautiful night.

The view from our bench.

Josh took a (fuzzy) picture of me, since I am never in our travel pics. :)

Crossing the bridge on our way back, I couldn't resist snapping one more picture of Notre Dame.

We stopped at a small brasserie by our hotel for a few glasses of beaujolais and then headed back to our hotel to call it a night.

We didn't accomplish much today in terms of sightseeing (which is okay by me, since I have seen the major sites here), but we plan to have a big day tomorrow. Josh's Aunt Jody and her son Kohl are meeting up with us for two days, starting tomorrow. They have been in Italy and decided to take a detour to spend New Year's Eve with us, so we will be up bright and early to greet them.

With that, I am off to bed in our tiny room. Bonne nuit!