Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Paris...The City of Love

And I certainly fell in love...with the city! Paris is absolutely beautiful. We were lucky enough to have a couple days of lovely weather, too. Somehow I remembered a handful of French words from elementary school, and was able to humbly ask: "Where is...?" and when that didn't work: "Please, do you speak English?" I love adventures!

Like Rome, it still has not yet hit me that I have been to Paris, such an iconic place.

Our hostel was not exactly in the city center...in fact, we took the metro away from the city to the last stop. When we arrived to our hostel we wondered if we were really in Paris.

Then we went down town, saw the Eiffel Tower, and it all began to click. We really were in Paris.

We took a bike tour, with the same company we found in Barcelona, and of course enjoyed the afternoon, seeing the beautiful sights. The Tower, the Louvre, Tuileries Gardens, L'Arc de Triomphe, Cathedral of Notre Dame, Napoleon's extravagant tomb, Champs Elysées, Wall of Peace, Ecole Militaire...so much beautiful architecture, and history!

Charles de Galle. We knew right away he was important to the Parisians (every other street, plaza, park, etc is named for him), but we didn't know why. On our last night we learned that he was the president following World War II. The first day following the invasion of the allies (which thus ended the Nazi occupation of Paris) de Gaulle insisted on marching through the city to the building which had been the Nazi headquarters, illustrating the liberation of Paris. Though he was shot at by snipers, he finished his walk, signifying a stronger France.

France's history is a bloody one. Place de la Concorde is where all the beheading took place during the revolution. There was so much blood in the plaza that cattle refused to walk near it because they thought they were going to be slaughtered. Years after the revolution ended the mud surrounding the bricks was red with blood. It is a history of extremes: the hypocrisy of the royalty on one end, and the horrible vengance of the revolutionaries.

Our funds were running low by the time we reached Paris, so we did not take in the Louvre, Musée D'Orsay, Versailles, etc. I hope to return during my travels to take in all the art of Paris...

On our last night we took a night bike tour which was quite a lot of fun, and we certainly saw the city in a "different light!" (That pun was for you, Dad).

This spring break was arguably my best yet. Alright, there is no argument, I have never had a vacation quite like the past two weeks! I know I say it a lot, but this whole semester is just incredible. As Mary and I said many times: we are living the dream!

With the risk of sounding mushy, I know I couldn't be here with out the love, prayers and support of all of you at home. Thank you.

Je t'aime,

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