Carnival of Light - Part II

We left Bertha around 10 on Saturday, with Elizabeth's friend Lauren along (the more the merrier, we decided, unless you have more than four) for the adventure. After finding our coffee (yummy take-away by the St. Paul metro), we headed for the Musee Carnavalet. This museum focuses on a cultural approach to Parisien history, presenting art and artifacts throughout the ages. Although all of the information was in French, I found that a lot of the items were self-explanatory. The best exhibit? A massive French Revolution display on the top floor. They even had a toy guillotine, complete with a miniature person to stick inside. What?!

Leaving the Museum, I was feeling pretty confident with my new map. However, as all of my friends back in Clemson can vouch, I am directionally challenged. We got a little lost, but it ended up wonderfully! We found some great murals on the...err...scenic route to Notre-Dame.

Cool, yes? See, I totally meant to take a wrong turn. Totally.

Regardless, we did reach the Notre-Dame in plenty of time for our (Free! Again!) tour. Interesting Trivia: The kings featured on the front of the cathedral are the Kings of Judah, but during the Revolution, radicals destroyed them all thinking they were kings of France. More Interesting Trivia: The stained glass windows are pretty new. A while back, some people thought the Gothic windows were too dark and knocked them out to replace them with plain windows. Thank goodness someone re-replaced them!

While Elizabeth, Kathleen, & Lauren had lunch at a really cute restaurant called the Quasimodo (how appropriate...), I decided to fulfill my intense craving for a savory crepe at an equally cute roadside stand. I took my delicious fromage et jambon crepe to a staircase on the Seine, thereby having the most picturesque meal of my life. Everyone was happy as we proceeded to the Champs-Elysees and Arc de Triomphe.

All that can be said for the Arc de Triomphe is that it's huge. Really, really huge. Much bigger than it looks on TV. I can, however, say more of the Champs-Elysees. If you want to do some window-shopping, that's the place; it's home of the Louis Vuitton and Cartier Diamond HQs, and let me tell you, it looks like Cartier helped design LV's digs. The buildings are equally shiny, one from its facade and one from its merchandise. The street is also filled with funky street performers. I really enjoyed the breakdancers, even though I could only see them over the crowd when they flipped into the air. That was cool, though. I got the picture.

*Random note? Pigeons. Every day, throughout the day, we were bombarded with pigeons. It's the same thing in London. These birds are really scary and feel comfortable flying dangerously low. Beware. End random note.

After checking out those sights, we metro'd over to the Eiffel Tower for a picnic. At a nearby supermarche we grabbed some fruit, cheese, and wine (which, btw, costs as much as water); then, we grabbed a famous French baguette at the bakery. Tiramisu gelato was also in the works. Basically, it was a perfect meal at the perfect cost.

Because we showed up fairly early in the evening, we were able to snag a great spot on the Champs du Mars. People-watching in this park is glorious, because you have a wide variety of cultures getting drunk and taking creative photographs in front of the Tower. Our favorite was the team of Americans making a pyramid. USA! USA! There were also some (Russian?) girls taking model-esque photos right next to us, and they were hysterical. I didn't know there were so many variations on Blue Steel available to the human countenance.

Although our original plan was to leave at 9, we hung around until 10:00, watching the sun set. As I'm sure you saw in my last post's video, the structure lights up on-the-hour with hundreds of twinkly lights...and I kinda freaked out. It took my breath away, and you would have reacted similarly had you been there. I can promise you that.

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