London, United Kingdom
Tower Bridge, from Tower of London
Can you guess what this is? If not, then you are way too sheltered and need to open up an encyclopedia for the letter E. I remember the first time my friends and I saw the Eiffel Tower (I just gave you the answer), we all exclaimed “OMG! Wowww!” as we were munching on baguettes that we bought from the first bakery we laid eyes on outside Gare du Nord. I’m sure every passing Parisian rolled their eyes at us, just like how I feel about people marveling at the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building. It’s strange when something becomes a part of everyday life and all the great monuments start to fade into your background. Nowadays, I’m actually starting to re-notice everything about New York City and fall in love with it all over again…except maybe Times Square.
I’ve been to the Louvre 3 times and I still don’t think I’ve covered everything. It’s the same way I feel about the Met. Once, I tried to cover a majority of the museum only to end up feeling low on sugar and desperate for a snack to recover from the fatigue. I didn’t really start appreciating the Louvre until maybe the third visit, though. I wasn’t big on museums back in the teens/early 20’s but, now, I definitely enjoy walking around and examining different pieces of artwork. This appreciation for the Louvre might’ve gotten a boost from reading The Da Vinci Code. Who knows.
I’m getting Seine-timental over this photo. See what I did there??? Huh?? Huh?!?!
The above 2 photos is actually from my Mont Blanc trip back in September when I stopped in Paris before heading to Chamonix. I’ve been meaning to visit the Centre Pompidou in previous trips but, always ran out of time. I must admit, a lot of the exhibits were too modern for me. It’s still worth a visit, though I’d say skip it if you’re only in town for a short time. The architecture of the building itself definitely screams “HELLO THERE! YEA, I’M TALKING TO YOU! I’M A MUSEUM!!” which I actually like. I’m sure there are locals who think it is an eyesore (I think I read it somewhere also) but, what do you expect from a modern art museum? The view from the Pompidou is amazing. You can see the Sacré-Cœur and Eiffel Tower in the distance at different angles. In conclusion, though, I say my favorite museum in Paris is still the Musée d’Orsay.
I never knew the High Line in NYC was inspired by the Le Promenade Plantée in Paris. Since I’ve already seen the major sights, I googled other things to see in this city and came upon this park built on an old railway track. It had already been in existence for 10+ years and is still in pretty good condition. It’s a great place for a run or to take an aimless stroll. The High Line, in my humble opinion, is much nicer and more interesting. I’m not just saying this because I’m a New Yorker. The High Line has views of the Hudson River on one side and views of NYC’s skyline on the other. There is also a portion with an eating area and food carts, and you basically start at the Meatpacking District and go through Chelsea, 34th Street and 42nd Street. The Promenade had beautiful views of classic Parisian architecture but, that was pretty much it.
Usually, when you see a chapel, church or cathedral on a list of things to see, you tend to let out a sigh and say “okay, fine. I’ll go see it.” After you visit your first one, the others tend to look the same. The detail in the Sainte-Chapelle, however, is so overwhelming that it is actually breathtaking. I could probably sit there for a good hour just staring, though I may start to think I was hallucinating from all the colors.
I love the area around Sacré-Cœur where many local artists come to sell their artwork. I was tempted to buy a painting but, the prices were (and still are) crazy high for most of them. Instead, I bought an overpriced hot chocolate at a corner cafe. I still win.
And, of course, this is Sacré-Cœur. It’s beautiful on the outside. The inside, however, is just like what you see in any other Roman Catholic church.
I read a review in The New York Times about this bakery, Du Pain et Des Idées. I woke up around 5:30am to get here before catching my early flight home, and walked out with a paper bag full of bread and pastries cradled in my arms. I was more protective of that bag than my own purse. Even though I was still half asleep, it was worth coming here before the morning rush. All the pastries were still warm and soft, not too long out of the oven. My favorite was the escargot chocolat pistache. Actually, my favorite was the plain baguette. SCRUMPTIOUS.
To end this entry on a jolly note, the title of this entry is inspired by a condom wrapper that I saw in a gift shop (yes, a normal souvenir shop). It had a photo of a Frenchman in a beret and a shirt striped black and white, holding a baguette in a diagonal. Yea, you know what I mean.
Hotel tip: If cost isn’t an issue, then I recommend Hotel La Trémoille. I only stayed here on a business trip, meaning it was paid for by my company. Otherwise, if you’re usually budget-conscious like me, then I recommend Hôtel Albe Bastille, a hotel where I stayed because it was decently close to Gare de Lyon and I needed to catch an early morning train. Every time I have an early morning train or flight or, if I’m arriving late into Paris, I make sure to book a hotel nearby the station (Gare du Nord, Gare de Lyon, Gare de Bercy, etc.) so that I wouldn’t be stuck with a closed metro and taking an expensive cab ride.