First, I had a flight from Miami to Philadelphia. A little over two hours, so it was no big deal.
Once I got to Philly, I grabbed a bite to eat, and then boarded my flight to Paris!
The airport, Charles de Gaulle, is in the suburbs of Paris, so when the plane was making its descent, I could see the pretty French countryside.
I arrived in France on Sunday morning (the flight landed at 8am). I'm super glad that I was able to sleep on the plane, cause my check in at the hotel wasn't until 2pm. But luckily, when I got to the hotel, my room was ready, so I was able to nap for a few.
I grabbed some lunch at a bakery just around the corner (quiche and a lemon tart--there will be another post all about the food coming up), and I walked over to the Champ de Mars, a park right in front of the Eiffel Tower, to eat. Not a bad view for my first day in Paris.
I met up with the tour at 3pm where we were off for a tour of our neighborhood. We walked around the 7th arrondissement and got to see what was around, the Rue Cler was only a few blocks away.
Then we were off on a bus tour of the city. We stopped at Trocadero square to get some pics of the tower.
After that we were off to a group dinner. We finished off our first Parisian dinner with coffee on the rooftop of the restaurant.
The next day we were off to the Ile de la Cite, where Paris began. We started out at Sainte Chappelle. The church was constructed by one of the King Louis to hold the relics of Christ that he had. The outside was gorgeous.
But the inside was truly breathtaking. All of the windows of the church are all done in stained glass. If you really look at them the panels all tell the story of the bible. Amazing.
Next we headed to Notre Dame (And yes the whole time I was singing "The Bells of Notre Dame"). Unfortunately, the bells are under refurbishment. But this church too was gorgeous.
Every inch of the church has some decoration on it, and this door way depicts the final judgement. It's so intricate, it's crazy to think how long ago this was made.
This is Point Zero. All the streets in Paris are said to center from here. Legend has it that if you stand on this spot, you will return to Paris. I had to go for this! A bunch of other people joined in on my picture , but my foot is the one with the black ballet flat.
I think the back of the church (where you can see the flying buttresses) is even prettier than the oftern photographed front.
We passed by the famous Shakespeare and Company book store. Since they mostly carry books in English, it tends to be more of a hangout for the English speakers in Paris.
Next, we headed to the Cluny Museum of the Middle Ages. We saw these tapestries that were found in a chateau. They think they are from the 15th century. They were so intricate. They were in a very dimly lit room (thanks to my awesome new camera, I got good pics) to help preserve them.
We had free time after that so I wandered around with another girl from the tour, and then we decided to head to the Champs Elysees. So we took some pics of the Arc de Triomphe, and headed down the boulevard. But disappointingly, most of the stores were American.
That evening I had made a reservation to go upon the Eiffel Tower (I highly recommend the online reservations, I didn't have to wait in line).
I only went up to the second level--not all the way to the top, but it was totally worth it. The views were great. And going at night was great, cause I was able to see the city all lit up.
And the tower was lit while I was up there too. I was even there when it started to sparkle. It was a great way to finish the night.
On day 3 in Paris, we headed to the top of the city, literally, Monmatre. Our first stop was all the way at the top, the Basilica of the Sacre Coeur. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take pics inside of this church, but the interior of this one was my absolute favorite. There was a huge mosaic over the altar and little chapels all the way around the church dedicated to saints. It was beautiful.
We headed down the hill and walked over to the artist part of Monmatre. There were artists setting up little booths in the square to sell their art. It was cool to see what they had and all the different styles.
Monmatre was beautiful and steeped in history, since so many artists lived there... Van Gogh, Dali, Picasso, Monet, Modigliani and so many more.
Way way back, Monmatre was full of windmills, and you can still see two of them when you're walking around.
This is St. Denis. He was beheaded here in Monmatre and then walked with is head, still preaching for about 6 miles before dying. He's one of the patron saints of Paris, so you see him all over.
And these little artist studios, Le Bateau-Lavoir, has a long list of former residents, including Picasso and Gertrude Stein.
Which, of course, leads to the Moulin Rouge (my absolute favorite movie)! I heard the show wasn't worth it, but I had to come get a picture in front of their red windmill.
I had some time free time in the afternoon, so I wanted to really get my shopping on and headed to Le Bon Marche. How beautiful are the Parisian department stores?!
I did scoop myself up a souvenir, a Longchamp Le Pliage bag, while at Le Bon Marche. It was cheaper than in the states, and Longchamp is French, so I had to.
Then a group dinner, which was delicious, and after dinner we had a Seine River cruise. Seeing the city from the river was totally seeing it in a whole new way.
There were people along the river just drinking wine and hanging out, most were sitting and chatting, but then we came across this group that was dancing.
We got to see all of the bridges along the river up close, and they were all so pretty.
And yet another one of my million pics of the Eiffel Tower (but this one is from the river).
That's it for the first half of my trip. There are TONS more pictures, so if you want to see more, check them out on my Flickr page (and I'll be posting the rest of my trip and all of the food later this week).