Ok cheesy title. Sorry. But everything in Paris is borderline cheesy. Partly due to the many stereotypes floating around about Parisian, but really also because Paris plays such a large role in culture and well life is actually kind of like those stereotypes.
So long day today. And forgive me for skipping straight to the point. But let’s be honest, everybody wants to hear about my Paris adventures, right? Switzerland and the rest of Italy, while gorgeous will wait for another day.
Let’s start early this morning. Our small USC group of 10 girls (perfectly sized) made it to the Cité stop and met with our guide M for a quick tour of the oldest part of Paris, the Île de la Cité and later Île de St. Louis.
We walked around and check out sights like Notre Dame:
These are the side and back views. I’ll post up some front and inside views later in the semester when I have more time to explore. However, needless to say the sides are breath-taking and reveal the extremely intricate Gothic architecture that local Parisians built themselves, usually for free.
These are people with no experience in construction but wanted a beautiful cathedral to devote to the Virgin Mary and to give their children a grand church to adorn the city. Consequently it took 2 centuries to build and the craftsmanship is very evident.
We went to take a boat cruise on the Vedettes du Pont Neuf (ironically called the New Bridge, this bridge is the oldest in Paris). Here are some of the highlights:
My favourite bridge is Paris is called the Pont Alexandre III. It is one of 37 bridges, but considered the most ornate and beautiful.
Clearly you can see the detailed sculptures and decorations like the lamps and columns.
Even the face of the bridge, extremely beautiful with a mermaid like creature welcoming us while we were floating under the bridge.
After lunch at some dingy restaurant in the Église St. Séverin (food was not good even though this place has some decent restaurants that offer un menu fixe), we hopped on the first bus that arrived at the closest bus stop to us. This is a great past time and a way to explore Paris through the public transportation which we already paid for with our passe navigo. We got off at Opéra, where (one of) the big Paris Opera building is. Absolutely goregous and many expensive clothing stores and department stores were nearby. So we visited…
This is if you can believe it, the roof of the department store building. Gorgeous right?
We also stopped by Picard, a supermarket. But this one was special; it only sold surgelés (frozen) meals. It was so funny to see Americans in there, curious about a supermarket that only had frozen goods, when they probably eat more frozen meals than the French. There was everything including veggies, meat, desserts and even guacamole frozen.
Funny story 1: My friend T was absentmindedly walking toward the exit. She pushes open a door with a green sign and sets of the fire alarm. EVERYBODY stares at her in the store including the check out guy. Everybody cracks up laughing and the check out dude tells her to close the door. Even the strangers on the street laughed. Luckily T has a great sense of humour and laughed a long too. So lesson learned, not every green sign means go (in S’s words).
et encore plus de fromage (you get the idea)…
Luckily I finally landed in a candy store…The candyland dream…
Yum yum. Reminds me of all the delicious candy I had as a kid. On the opposite note, below is boudin. And we’re not talking delicious San Francisco sour dough I blogged about a few months ago. This is something I never ate as a kid. It’s bloody sausage (also called black pudding, it’s a sausage made with blood that’s cooked until it congeals).
My friend S who looks beautifully French, and confused.
Hilariously juxtaposed with D who looks bored in a sex shop. At this point we stopped by the red light district after a delicious and cheap dinner at New Locomotive (a lovely Vietnamese resto I discovered thanks to my uncle).
Funny story 2: We got off the métro at Marx Dormoy to go to the restaurant. And unfortunately for D, we were a bit slow off the bat (you gotta race like those Parisians). So D got trapped as the doors were closing. She couldn’t pry them open and they closed. S ran up to help and D just took at her with the funniest look on her face – partially frantic to open the doors, partially concerned about where she would be sent off to in the train, and partially resigned to her fate. She just put her hands up and shrugged her shoulders. I think we were more concerned than she! Haha we finally got her out in the end. But it was HILARIOUS.
Just for Tommy, I’ll add a caption to this photo. I took this picture while we were exploring a HUGE sex shop in the red light district. No photos are allowed so I don’t know how I managed to get away with this one. But I couldn’t let this hilarious moment pass. The juxtaposition between D, sitting next to two female mannequins getting it on, with the most mundane and bored expression on her face, is roll-on-the-floor-laughing material. That and all the vibrators in the background.
This is a beautiful poem I really enjoyed in a book store. Yes I sneakily took photographed it. But I give due credit. It’s called Couvre feu poême (1942) by Paul Éluard.
We ended the night appropriate at Le Moulin Rouge
The red windmill was beautiful and seductively glittering with light. Much more enticing than the way it looks during the day (look for picture at the beginning of the post).
We took a “Marilyn Monroe” photo above a drain thing where the wind was blowing up our skirts (and pants). Ahhh Paris, so much fun. Je t’aime. Je t’aime.