Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tuesday 25/10/11

Alright, hadn't had the chance to mention it yet, but our hotel has been very nice. It is extremely small by most standards, but in Europe in general, space is valuable and very limited - this also applies to personal space. You pack into trains, you squeeze into tables, you walk in packs - it may sound intimidating, but you get used to it quickly.

The hotel provides breakfast every morning, which consists of cafe (coffee), cereal, fruits, yogurt, pastries, and bread. I have been basically eating the same thing each morning. This for some reason helps me deal with eating insane food and drinking wine and coffee all day long.

Tuesday morning we headed up to the neighborhood of Montmartre. The area is rich with history of artists and just plain partying. Picasso, Van Gogh, Renoir, and Lautrec all lived and worked in Montmartre.

This tour of the area was our first provided by someone aside from our Steve's guide: Toni. Genevieve, who is living in Paris working on her dissertation, provided us with many stories and the great views from the area.

The tour ended atop of a hill at the Sacre-Coeur Church. Another church yes. This one was different in that it was built with a special limestone the had a cleaning ability, so it amazingly looked very clean, even though it has never been washed.

Side note: Paris is very clean to our surprise. When you get in a big city you expect a level of nastiness, just based on the amount of people and pollution. We might just be here at the right time, but a ton of the buildings have been cleaned/restored over the last 10 years and she's looking really good.

We grabbed lunch in Montmartre and then started back towards the city to see: The Arc De Triomphe!

The Arc is in the middle of 12 converging streets, this monument was commissioned by Napoleon, who never got to see it finished before his death.

This was my first experience with some heights since we got here and it wasn't bad at all. The views make you feel like you're flying around the city. It's really fantastic.

Just as we had gotten down the Arc it began to rain. It was a pretty good downpour for about 30 minutes and has been our only significant amount of rain since we arrived.

Ave de Champs-Élysées is the most well known street in Paris. It leads from the Arc de Triompe and runs into the Louvre.

Along Champs-Élysées you'll find everything that you can possibly imagine when it comes to consuming. Think Michigan Avenue on steroids. One of the crazier parts of it was the car dealerships. They have all these walk on dealerships right along the mall front. Pretty cool.

After wandering around that street and trying to find a specific store, we quickly hurried back to our Hotel for a wine tasting.

We showed up towards the end but where able to try most all of the reds, which is what I came to do! The wine was great and we found out favorite was only 5 euros a bottle - we have not figured out how to get a boat load of it home at the same price?

The wine tasting was followed by a group dinner at Cafe Bousquet. Great place. The snails where awesome! Jessica most enjoyed that we where able to sit with two girls that had been very reserved and snobbish until this point. We had dinner with them and forced our friendship upon them. They excepted and have since been quite lovely.

The night ended at the wine shop, a couple barks at the moon, and a little bit of dancing. It was a great evening.

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