Our Spring Break destination this year was Paris. Since neither one of us had visited France yet, it seemed appropriate to spend our week-long break in the “City of Lights.” We flew out of the Nürnberg airport Friday evening and planned to spend eight nights at Hotel Eber Mars in the Rue Cler Neighborhood of the 7th arrondissement. We eventually figured out how to get into the city from Charles de Gaulle airport via the RER train. (Ticket machines that only take change or a MasterCard with a chip and a husband that has neither option is not great combination! Finally, the machine took our VISA card.)
The location of the hotel was super convenient to a Metro stop and was within walking distance of the Eiffel Tower. Our room was one that has not been remodeled despite needing it pretty desperately! The wall paper and paint was peeling in places and the shower only had one of its two doors. However, we have learned that location and internet access is more important than the room itself since we basically have our eyes closed most of the time we are there.
Saturday, 10 April 2010
Our first full day in Paris began with a L’Open hop-on, hop-off bus tour. We like taking these tours to get an overview of the city. Despite the wind making it a bit chilly, we saw many of the major sights from the top deck of the bus.
That evening, we had made reservations to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower at 7:30pm. This turned out to be a very smart move, because there was quite a line for tickets even at that time. We went right up to the second level, but still had to wait in line for the elevator to the very top. We were able to see the sun set and watch the city light up from the top of the tower. It was beautiful and a great way to end our first day in Paris. My favorite part was watching the tower “sparkle” at the top of each hour.
Sunday, 11 April 2010
Since it wasn’t possible to be in Iowa to help my mom celebrate her birthday, we decided to spend the day at Versailles. This day started rather early so we could catch the train to Versailles and be there right at 9am when the palace opened. We were able to beat most of the crowds, but there were still plenty of people that had had the same idea. The Chateau, Gardens, and Marie-Antoinette’s Estate were amazingly beautiful. We were even able to see some of the fountains in action since it was a “spray day.”
We got back to Paris in the late afternoon and decided that we could still handle a visit the Arc de Triomphe before dinner. There isn’t much to the Arc besides going up to the top and seeing the view.
Monday, 12 April 2010
This morning we took Rick Steves’ Historic Core of Paris Walk that covered Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Latin Quarter, Sainte-Chapelle, Conciergerie, and Pont Neuf. Normally when we take these walks, I look like a nerd while I read everything to Brandon out of the book. However, this time we were able to download free audio version on our iPods. We walked around looking like all of the locals with iPods and I could actually look at things instead of just reading about it and glancing up before moving on! We had a little trouble following the audio directions to get from place to place, but we had the map in the book to use as a reference.
One of the best stops we made was at a men’s clothing store called Celio. After a chilly couple of days, Brandon broke down and bought a sweater since he had failed to bring a coat from home. We also found a dress shirt and tie that he needed for the dinner cruise along the Seine at the end of our trip.
After the Historic Walk and some lunch, we went to the Musee de l’Orangerie to see Monet’s Water Lilies. What we saw was not quite what we expected. We figured it would be individual paintings of the lilies, but instead, it was two oval-shaped rooms with the large paintings surrounding us.
Of course, we have taken many more pictures than I can post here on the blog. For our parents, and anyone else that wants to see all of our pictures, you can view them on my Picasa Gallery.