Paris Day 3: Notre Dame de Paris

30 12 2009

Well, jet lag really hit today. We overslept in a big way, but that’s fine. 🙂 Once we finally got moving, we walked over to a local monoprix to get a few groceries to have in the apartment. Makes for less expensive breakfasts and some dinners. We had a small snack and then made our way to Notre Dame on ĂŽle de la CitĂ©.

cite metro stop

We arrived during the day, but I decided to use all of the pictures from the evening and night. It’s impressive by day, but stunning by night.

notre dame means 'our lady of...'

Below is a close up of one of the arches. There is so much detail on every part of the church.

there are a lot of people in that arch

red doors

love this window - trying to figure out how to crop and use this image

i think gothic architecture is my favorite

We actually arrived just in time for mass. It’s kind of weird to have tourists waking around the back side of the church while mass is going on. The organ was beautiful.

for 5 euro, you can light a candle and say a prayer (prayers are free, obviously)

The nativity scene was still up on the north side of the church. It is one of my favorites I’ve ever seen.

first half of the nativity scene

full nativity scene from the back

Mass is now underway – we stayed for a little bit and then headed outside.

watching mass from the back of the church

Next up was wandering through Ile de la Cite and making our way back toward Rue Cler (a supposedly pedestrian only street near the Eiffel tower – someone forgot to tell the cars that it was pedestrian only).

one last shot of notre dame

After a lot more walking, talking, and having dinner, we came back across the Eiffel Tower. Scott was able to find the right setting on his camera to get great pictures of it sparkling. How cool, huh?

so sparkly!

I also got my flip video… and I’m having trouble turning the frame before uploading. I gave up – will deal with it when I’m back in the states! Turn your head so you can see it 🙂

Paris Day 2: Montmartre & Marais

29 12 2009

Well rested and seeing sunshine, we made our way out to do some more sight seeing. We decided to stick to museums and indoor activities on the really rainy days. Today was not one of them, so we went to Montmartre to see Sacré-Cœur, a quite controversial church. It took 39 years to build and was only completed in 1914.

sacre coeur - finished in 1914

Unfortunately, you cannot take photos inside the church, only outside, so I snapped too many :). It was hard to follow the rules when no one else was, but I am always the one that gets in trouble for skipping the rules!

sacre-coeur on a bright sunny day

Next door was the Church of Saint Peter of Montmartre. It dates back to 1096, but was consecrated by the Pope in 1147. Inside, you could see some of the original structures, but it has had to be rebuilt over time.

Ă©glise saint pierre de montmartre - dated to 1096

We were allowed photos while inside this church. There was, of course, a lot of beautiful stained glass. The light was hitting this piece just right to reflect back onto several walls.

stained glass in st. pierre

Everyone still has their Christmas decorations up – this is a nativity scene at the front of the altar.

the altar at st. pierre

Outside St. Pierre, the streets are bustling with tourists. The Montmartre neighborhood is a mecca for artists and was the center of the bohemian movement of the world in the late 1800s. Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, and Claude Monet lived and painted in Montmartre. It is also where the film Moulin Rouge (and many others, of course) is set.

crowded streets of montmartre

We ducked into a little restaurant for some lunch. I had Onion Soup (oh,dear, so good) and bĹ“uf bourguignon. Scott had a tomato salad with his bĹ“uf bourguignon. One of the first French words we had to learn was “l’ognion” to ensure every meal would not be ruined for my onion hater.

it's just called onion soup here

Just around the corner from our lunch spot was a small Salvador Dali gallery. None of his most famous works were there – they are all in London – but it was interesting to learn more about him and what inspired his art.

alice in wonderland

There were quite a few sculptures formed from wax moldings he had completed throughout his life. Of course, many of the famous melting pocket watch from The Persistence of Time.

melting pocket watch

Outside the gallery, we wanted to get away from the crowds for a while, so we wandered down the streets through a more residential side of Montmartre. The streets feel just like a movie set sometimes, picturesque little cafes among old buildings. Very charming 🙂

la maison rose

And then I realized we needed to get back on track if we were going to see everything we had planned. So I was the ultimate tourist. Reading the book on the street. Scott was in shock (I usually will wander until I find what I’m looking for – I hate pulling out the tourist book).


We made it back to where we started – Basilique du SacrĂ©-CĹ“ur from the backside.

sacre-coeur again

We decided next up was the Marais neighborhood. This neighborhood has a lot of sites we’ll need to come back to see during the day, but we wandered through the neighborhood, picking up it’s vibe just in time for dinner. We got off the subway at the Bastille station, and exited to find the Place de la Bastille and the Colonne de Juillet or the July Column, a monument to the Revolution of 1830.

the july column at place de la bastille

Lastly, we made a stop at a cafe in Marais for dinner. I had moules frites (mussels with french fries) and Scott had Steak Tartare. It was served almost like a raw hamburger patty with onions (gasp) and pickles. The steak is a higher quality meat than our traditional hamburger, but it is ground and formed into a patty. He thought it was delicious, despite the onions. I think it’s hilarious that he can eat an entire 1/2 pound of raw meat and leave behind a plate of onions.

scott tartare

The rain is coming down hard, so I suspect day 3 will be Musee d’Orsay or the Louvre. Boinsoir!

Paris Day 1: La Tour Eiffel

28 12 2009

We landed in Paris around 9:40 local time. We were beat, but insisted on staying awake until bed time. We rented an apartment near the Arc de Triomphe and arrived with no troubles to a charming (but cold) little studio flat. We got situated, washed our faces and headed out to see our neighborhood. We ventured on to le Arc de Triomphe.

le arc di (ginormous) triomphe

You can tell in the above picture just how huge the structure is. It honors those who fought for France, especially during the Napoleonic Wars.

more arc

It also holds the tomb of the unknown soldier from World War I.

under the arc

After the Arc, we wandered down Champs-ÉlysĂ©es, slightly overwhelmed and jet lagged and forgot to take any pictures. We’ll be back there during our trip, so no worries :). We then wandered through some neighborhoods, on our way to the Eiffel Tower. We stood in line (in a 25mph sustained wind with 33° temperatures) for over an hour to go up the pillar with stairs only. We paid 4,50€ to climb the stairs to the 2nd floor (still a lot of stairs). It helped warm us up after nearly freezing to death in line.

eiffel floor 2

The picture above is from the “2nd floor” looking down on the lawn beneath the tower.

paris from above

This picture is of the river Seine from the 2nd floor as well.

les invalides - napoleon is buried there

We had to take an elevator to the top where the views were spectacular, but fa-reezing! We took some quick pictures (including a blurry self photo) and headed back indoors where we could see signs telling us at what we were looking.

blurry and frozen

Just as we got back down to the ground, the tower was lit – for the first five minutes or so after 6pm the tower sparkles, it is so beautiful! Obviously, that is hard to capture with a still camera. I’m hoping to get my flip video over there sometime this week to show you.

la tour de eiffel

tired tour

After the Eiffel tower, we made our way back through the neighborhoods, found a boulangerie and a small market for the makings of dinner back in our apartment. I lasted about 30 minutes before I crashed. I got about 12 hours of sleep – and was ready for Day 2…..coming tomorrow!


27 12 2009

Sleepy lpod made it to Paris this morning. We had an adventurous day checking out our local neighborhood (we rented an apartment), walking to the Eiffel Tower (3 hours worth of lines), and zig zagging back through the city picking up fresh baguettes, meat, cheese and wine before hitting our apartment to study the French language and plan the rest of our week.

We lucked out with quite a bit of sunshine, but a bitterly cold wind today. Our soles are tired, but our souls are energized! Obviously, much more to come this week. I only have the energy for one of the cadrillions of photos captured of la Tour Eiffel this evening.

la tour eiffel

Guess Who’s Coming Tonight?

24 12 2009

Last night we had Jake, Sharla, Abby and Katie over for dinner (Billy, Mel & Piper are already here). During dinner, per her usual request if I am present, Abby asked “Where’s Scott?’ For those of you who don’t know, Abby has a little obsession with her Uncle Scott. Aunt Kim is a second class citizen.

During the fall, she would think of ways to get her mom to call Aunt Kim on the phone. Sharla would oblige and before Abby could explain why she was calling she would blurt out “I WANT TO TALK TO SCOTT!” She’s a sneaky little thing.

Back to last night…at dinner, when she asked where Uncle Scott was, I told her he was visiting his family. She just gave me the disapproving look when I’m here and he isn’t and went on her merry way.

About an hour later we were getting her jammies on and she was a tad hyper. Mimi asked her if she knew who was coming tomorrow night (Christmas Eve night). Her answer? *top of lungs, screechy voice* SCOTT!

Granted, she has not been taught all about Santa yet, but I thought it was simply awesome. I have a feeling next year the answer would not be the same. We should relish it while we have it.

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and have many blessings visiting with your family.


Merry Christmas


18 12 2009

Sometimes your situation is not as ‘big’ as you think…

strap that tree down!

I am officially done working for 2009, bring on some fantastic times with family and friends! Merry Christmas, all! See you in 2010.

Busy Days

8 12 2009

After coming home from Europe, I had a wicked case of jet lag. I wanted to sleep all night and all day until Thanksgiving. But I couldn’t! My parents came in for Thanksgiving. We had so much fun with them, as usual. We got to take them along to many of our Seattle Thanksgiving weekend “traditions.”

We also spent a lot of time on the couch. Watching football. Watching quarterbacks like Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow build themselves up to only let themselves down the next week. By the way, did you see those Aggies? I considered it a “win” as soon as we scored a touchdown! Gig ’em. 🙂

In other news, this weekend, Scott and I went to a Seahawks game. It hovered around 30° all day that day. I think my toes are still numb. We had a great time though. Seahawks games are fun, AND they won (despite some questionable plays that I promptly blamed on them needing to wear warmer shirts – it was COLD). And every time they use the “12th Man” phrase, logo, flag….. our alma mater gets some $$$. I’ll take it, but we are the original 12th Man!

These cold days bring out the most beautiful, crisp days. Blue skies and frozen ponds. Love it!

cold pod from qwest field