Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Vacation: Paris, Day 1

Are you ready for this, friends? This is the epic, all-the-vacation-photos-I-plan-to-share post series you've all been waiting for, or at least mildly interested in viewing whenever it got posted. (I have so many photos and things to say, I'll still be doing one post per day of the trip, but they'll all go up today, in order.)

Paris, Day 1

I'm counting our travel day as "day 1" so there isn't much to say about it. We drove to Dulles, flew to Reykjavik (about 6 hours; I watched The Hobbit and... something else, I don't remember), switched planes and flew to Paris (about 3 hours; Birk and I watched Les Miserables and learned that Russell Crowe doesn't belong in musicals). We were picked up by a shuttle van and taken through quite the lively banlieue to get to our apartment in Montmartre.

You can see Les Deux Moulins (the cafe from Amelie) to the left of our balcony

And this is to the right of our balcony. The purple/white striped awning
belongs to Un Zebre a Montmartre (which you'll hear about soon)
Birk and I basically dropped our bags and took a nap. (Traveling is hard work, you know.) The bed was incredibly hard, but the blanket was very nice, and despite the lack of AC, there was a nice cross-breeze with all the windows open.

We awoke to find that his parents had gone food shopping, and I ate the best strawberry of my entire life.

"Strawberry" in French is "fraise" (pronounced "frez")

See also: cheeses (fromages), roasted chicken (poulet roti), and a gravy
that was little more than beautifully flavored grease and I loved it.
Also: baguettes, a melon, and cherries.
Rested and fed, Birk and I took off to wander Montmartre, which is basically a hill to the north of central Paris. The name means mount of the martyr, in reference to Saint Denis's decapitation on this hill in about 250 AD.

We stayed right around the corner from the famed Moulin Rouge.
Shows/dinner are very expensive, so we didn't go in, but it was quite pretty from the outside.

The Moulin Rouge (which refers to that giant red windmill, in case you've never caught on to that) was right around the corner, on Boulevard de Clichy, right next to our nearest metro stop, Blanche.

The graffitti is fascinating and well done in most of the city, but I think Montmartre
has some particularly great pieces... it's a very artsy neighborhood (as well it should be,
given its historical residents and visitors, from Van Gogh to Mondriaan to Picasso and Dali).

Rue Burq, right around the corner and connected to Rue des Abbesses

Looking back down the (fairly steeply inclined) Rue Tholoze, if I remember correctly (and I might not).
After all that excitement, we went back to the apartment and went to bed. Fun fact: This time of year, the sun doesn't really go down until 10pm or so. Another fun fact: Montmartre is not a sleepy, quiet area of Paris. (Are there any? I don't think so.) Additional fun fact: It's far too hot to sleep with the windows closed, too. It makes for a noisy, uncomfortably warm, late bedtime. But we adapted pretty quickly to that; it wasn't unbearable.

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