Once again, we have somehow managed to let so much time go by without updating our blog. Our lives in Germany have gotten increasingly busier and more exhausting over the past few weeks, but more updates on that will have to take place another time (soon, I promise).This blog is dedicated to the fantastic July 28th weekend in Paris we spent watching the Tour de France finale. It was such an incredible moment to see the pack of cyclists whoosh by us for the first time at the Place de Concorde and catch a glimpse of the yellow jersey. Although we waited for about three hours to see them lap around this spot four times (for a mere total of 30 seconds each) it was worth it. How many times in life do you get to see the Tour de France?
But, that was not the only fantastic thing about Paris. This weekend was also a grand reunion with my dear friend, Thomas. Born a Parisian, Thomas was lucky enough to spend six whole months in glorious Waco, Texas, while doing an internship during the summer and fall of 2005. Although I'm sure it was extreme culture shock at first, Thomas became a true Wacoan during that time and embraced all that was Texan. We became fast friends after being introduced by my friend Beth, at Baylor, and soon Thomas was part of the international exchange students gang of Fall '05.
It was so wonderful to finally reunite with Thomas again and he was so gracious to let us crash at his apartment and show us the "true" nightlife of Paris as a local. We ate an interesting French dinner on Friday (pig intestine - yummy) and then headed to some great bars. Thank you, Thomas, for everything. You are the best tour guide EVER!
Unfortunately, our reunion would only last one night, because the next day Thomas had to head out of town for a birthday party. After coffee and croissant at a sidewalk cafe, we parted ways. Jon and I had a few things on our agenda we wanted to see, but we didn't want to be overwhelmed with sightseeing and going, going, going like we had in the past on other trips. Luckily, we had already visited Paris before individually and have experienced most of the major sights. This visit was all about doing and seeing what we WANTED to see, not what we felt we had to see.
First on the list were the Catacombs of Paris (Jon's choice - I wonder why?). The Catacombs ossuary was created at the end of the 18th century due to the closure in 1780 of the largest cemetery in Paris, the Saints Innocents, which the local inhabitants believed was a danger to local health. In 1785, a decree was issued for the transfer of the bones from every cemetery in Paris to an underground site until 1860. The Catacombs were opened to the public at the beginning of the 19th century. I must say it was quite cool to see the endless passages of intricately placed skulls, bones, and yes even crossbones. After an hour of being in the underground tomb, however, I was ready to be in the beautiful sunshine.
We metro-ed to the Louvre where we took a quick photo, but were happy to not have to wait in the long line to enter as we had already been there before. Yes, it may be true that I don't actually remember all the works I saw there, but I still do have a vivid memory of seeing the much-smaller-than-you-would-think Mona Lisa, and let's face it, that's the one reason most people even go to the museum.
Next we roamed around the beautiful Tuileries Garden in front of the Lourve where we shared a bottle of wine and cheese plate in an outdoor cafe. We felt soooo Parisian.
We also had some fun visiting some fantastic statues on our walk to the Orangerie museum. This museum contains Monet's famous mural paintings and other impressionist artists' works. I was so thrilled to finally be able to visit this museum as every other visit to Paris in '99, '03, and '05, it was closed due to renovation. Although it is a very small museum, it was absolutely incredible.
After some art appreciation, we headed for a hike along the Seine toward the Eiffel Tower.
Walking next to the Hotel de Invalides, it did feel quite surreal to finally be in Paris, supposedly the most romantic city in the world, with my husband. After visiting the city four times now, I have learned to like Paris more and more after each trip. I didn't totally dislike Paris after the first visit, but it just didn't seem like the friendliest most intimate city. Now having toured the sites with my sisters twice, my family once and run a marathon here, I think I can say that the great experiences definitely outweigh the disappointing. And being in Paris with my first and only love is definitely an experience to add to Paris' good side.