Saturday, June 21, 2008

Oh la la

Our adventures have finally led us to Paris, or as some call her, the City of Light (La Ville-lumière), to experience what others only dream about. Well maybe others don't dream about going to the most romantic city in the world with their two year old and parents in tow, but for us, it was what we wanted. Only a three hour train ride from Aachen, we were able to see the country side in style. We reserved train tickets on a high speed train called Thalys: where if you catch them at the right time, you can get a one way ticket from Germany to Paris for as little as 25 euros! W. had a great time being able to watch videos on the portable DVD player we brought, and the grandparents enjoyed her game of musical lap.

Arriving at Paris Nord, we took the subway to the nearest stop to our hotel. It was relatively easy to get to, even with a stroller and luggage. My husband, being the researcher he is, found a hotel that was reasonable and with in minutes of the Eiffel tower.

To me, Paris is beautiful. There are stories which I'm sure every one has heard about how dirty the city is, or how rude Parisians are. Not so. If you ever have the opportunity to go to Paris, go. There is so much history here to see, the buildings are free of graffiti, and the people are European. They are friendly, but don't expect them to gush at your feet for visiting their city. I tried what little French I could remember on them, and they seem to be satisfied with that. Being a major European city, most people have a second language, and they are able to speak English.

Having a little one restricts the places where you can go. Paris has many beautiful museums- none of which W. would enjoy. So, my husband was able to go along with my father to spend the morning at the Louvre. From what I've heard, it's overwhelming. It's so large, and there are so many things to see, that you'd need days to take it all in. I did see it from the out side, and it was impressive that way as well.

What I really came to Paris to see though were the churches. I was not disappointed. On almost every corner there is a work of art dedicated to God. In high school I took some French. Well, I was in a French class at least, and I remember learning about a cathedral called St. Chappelle. It was called the cathedral of light because it's walls were not the usual stone gothic architecture you see all around, but comprised of stained glass, so beautiful, kings would sit in the main room for hours to think.

We also saw Notre Dame. My father is an architect, and when I was younger he used to tell me about the flying buttresses of churches and cathedrals- and now I had the opportunity to visit one, an especially notorious one with him. It is a beautiful cathedral. Probably not the most beautiful I've seen, but it does rank in the top 10. If you are in Paris, this is definitely a sight worth seeing.

And a trip to Paris wouldn't be complete with out a romantic climb to the top of the Eiffel tower at sunset. Lucky for us we had brought some babysitters. Lucky for me, my husband agreed to wait two hours in line to purchase tickets to the top. The views were amazing. Paris lit up at night is unbelievably big. The elevator takes you up to the second level platform, where you are able to look over the city landscape. Then you hop back on the lift and travel up to the top most platform where the views are stunning, if not a little breezy. In fact, it's chilly up top- take a jacket if you go!

Paris is a great city to visit, and I will definitely be going back. There is just too much to see and do in one short weekend. Luckily it's so close, and we'll be here for a little while longer, so we'll have plenty of opportunities to go back!

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