PARIS! So much to say and there is only limited time and space before our flight takes off to Rabat! It feels sort of crazy to even think about Morocco because I am still buzzing from Paris!
We landed at about 7:30am Paris time, and I was right: this flight was much better! There were TVs full of “artistic” French movies and I got the window seat this time! It wasn’t too complicated to find our way to the train that would take us into Centre-Ville, and before long we were walking up the steps from the Metro and staring right at the Notre Dame!
Paris felt like walking around in a painting. It’s one of those places that I always felt like I knew, even though I’d never been. It’s stunning.
We went into the Notre Dame just in time for Mass so there was this incredible choir singing as we wandered around which somehow made it even more spectacular. I remember I turned to Mom once we left and said, “It’s so… Gothic.”. She doesn’t usually get sarcastic, but the look she gave me said it all!
From there we wandered around the Island for a bit, visiting a few different places like Saint Chapelle and this sketchy bird market. We both agreed that this bird market must be some sort of front for something. Who buys birds at a bird market? Who keeps birds around just to sell them once a week at a market? So many questions. From there we just sort of wandered. We had a general idea of where we wanted to end up, but it was pretty hard to keep to a strict plan because so many streets were blocked off for Bastille Day.
Speaking of that: woah. I’m not really sure how to describe the chaos of Bastille Day. Crazy crowds were everywhere and random streets were blocked off for no apparent reason. Every once and a while you would hear a siren and that’s your cue to get off and far away from the road because a parade of four or five tanks would just casually drive by, and then everything would just go back to normal. Helicopters were everywhere, and people would go crazy and start cheering every time a man in uniform would walk by.
We were standing outside the Louvre eating our first Pain au Chocolate from Pauls at the Louvre when yet another Bastille Day surprise occurred! All of the sudden three giant airplanes could be heard overhead and when we looked up we saw giant streams of red, white, and blue smoke filling up the sky to make the French flag. Apparently the French go all out!
Part of our plan was to climb to the top of the Arch de Triumph; little did we realize that seeing the Arch to Triumph on Bastille Day is like trying to shake Stephen Harper’s hand on Canada Day, times about a thousand. We made it to the Champs Élysées and the began to fight our way through crazy crowds sporting red, white, and blue. It eventually got to the point that traffic was very much at a stand-still, so we managed to sneak down a side street and instead head for the Eiffel Tower!
Some people say the Eiffel tower is overrated, and I mean I guess it sort of is a little bit, but it was so cool seeing it. It’s one of those things that I’ve been seeing pictures and figures of for my entire life so to finally see it in person was pretty cool. We didn’t have time to climb to the top, and at this point we were both fading a bit from the heat, so we decided to stop for lunch. We ate at this adorable little Brasserie called Le Dome and our table had an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower, as well as front row seats to the occasional tank parades. I ordered a glass of Chardonnay, which was fun, and the best part was that my glass of wine cost less than my mom’s glass of water. France is doing it right.
From there we wandered our way back to the Notre Dame to catch the train back to the airport. I think we might have both gotten a bit of heat stroke, and mixed with the jetlag, we weren’t feeling great for a while, but now we’re back at the airport and crazy excited to fly to Rabat!!
Such a great day!