Last weekend I went to Paris because I wanted to visit it once while I'm here. I mean really, you have to go if you're in France. So, I went and toured places in Paris that I hadn't seen before. I left early Saturday morning and got to Paris around 1ish. I went to see the Catacombs, a place underground that has tons and tons of bones and other little things to see. While there, I met some girls from North Carolina who are studying abroad in Oxford right now. They were really cool, and we wound up hanging out the rest of the night. We headed for a brasserie after the Catacombs, where I translated for everyone. The waiter was really excited to know that one of us spoke French lol. The NC girls were blatantly American, but it was really cute. They got English menus while I got a French one. The food wasn't superb, but it wasn't absolutely terrible either. I left a little note for our waiter thanking him for putting up with us and our oddities, and that got a smile and a wink out of him lol. We went up to Montmartre afterward and climbed all the way up to Sacre Coeur. The Parisian skyline at night was really pretty, so of course we took lots of pictures. The girls got bored with Montmartre after a while and wanted to go shopping, so we headed for Les Galeries Lafayette, one of the largest department stores in the world. It was freaking huge!! And, there were hundreds of thousands of lights all over the building to boot. After shopping for a little over an hour we went our separate ways, and I headed back to my hostel. I originally was going to meet Julie from Baylor there, but I left my phone in Caen (stupid, I know), so I didn't really have any way of catching up with her. A guy from Seattle and one from Australia invited me to go to a frat party with them that night, but I originally declined. My feet were killing me, I wanted to wait for Julie, and the thought of an American frat party in Paris didn't really thrill me; however, I relented and went with them. (I'm very trusting, I know...stupid yet again). The party wound up being a bust because the line to get in was about 200 ppl long, but I was able to have a 20 min. conversation w/ some Italian girl in French, so I know I'm getting a lot better. Poor Luke (the one from Australia) doesn't know but 4 or 5 words in French, so he felt out of the loop a bit. Apparently his South African friend who invited him to the party knew some French ppl and they invited us out to a club. Now, I thought they said pub. I was okay with going to a pub...it's free to get in, and I don't have to drink w/ them. A club however cost 10€, and I didn't have that. Luc (this one's from Seattle) paid for my ticket. I had a pretty good time, but I got beer thrown on me by Luc (go figure) and was out till about 4am. I know. Courtney. Clubbing. 4am. Paris. Weird.
The next day was AMAZING! After sleeping till about 9, I got up and got some breakfast at the hostel. I ran into Julie for a few minutes, and she said her friends were headed up to the Pantheon and then elsewhere around Paris. I was gonna meet them at the Pantheon, but when I showed up, they had decided to take a walking tour instead. Oh well. The Pantheon was really cool because I got to see the graves of Victor Hugo, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire, Sartre, Emile Zola, and the Curies. I even was able to read the little bios they had on all these people. In the Pantheon there is also this big gold ball that is apparently there to prove that the Earth moves like Galileo said. (And yet it moves...) The experiment was actually a pretty cool thing to watch. I got back to the hostel around noonish and then headed off to Le Musee d'Orsay. That museum was AWESOME. I almost liked it more than the Louvre. I saw tons of Van Gogh, Manet, Monet, Gaughin, Renoir, Picasso, and other famous artists. I also met a man and his wife from Colorado with whom I talked for about 20 min. The husband is originally from Dallas and a huge Cowboys fan, so I got to talk sports for a little bit. THAT was awesome. I miss talking about sports SO much!! And, it was really great to meet another Cowboy fan. I took a break from art a little bit later and met some British girls whom I joined for coffee. They were convinced I was from Australia for a little while because Luke's accent had transferred over to me. It was really hard getting rid of it and talking in an American accent...everything felt forced. We had a ton of fun though lol.
That night, Luke took me to the Eiffel Tower for a glass of Chardonnay and to watch the lights on the tower. The sights were BEAUTIFUL. We were originally gonna go up in it, but it was literally subzero, so we decided just to view Le Tour Eiffel from the ground. There's now a blue spotlight on the tower and the European Union symbol b/c France is the president of the EU for right now, though its presidency is almost over. After freezing to death we headed to a cafe for some hot chocolate, which I taught Luke how to order in French. It was hilarious watching him try to say "Je voudrais deux chocolates chauds s'il vous plait." The waiter understood what he said, thankfully. While there we met a couple from Cincinnati who asked if we were on our honeymoon; that was sufficiently awkward. After cocoa we headed down to the Champs-Elysees because Thomas had told me to see the Christmas lights on the streets and in the windows. I'm really glad I went down there because it was absolutely BEAUTIFUL!! The only thing I can't wait to see that will be just as beautiful when I get back is colored lights...the French only believe in white and blue. The night ended very well (and very cold), and I went to sleep so I could get up early and get back to Caen for class.
2. The North Carolina girls and I in the Catacombs
3. Le Tour Eiffel with all the lights