Friday, September 30, 2011

The last day of our month long journey...

September 30, 2011

Today was a really tough day. Besides waking up in our wonderful room and having to use a toilet located in a closet down the hall that smelled like someone died in there, we had to cope with the fact that this is the end. Our month long magical journey is coming to a close... Kat and I decided to make the most of the day before we head to the airport for our long flight back to New York City. We packed up our things and said goodbye to our slum palace. We fell so hard from our first hotel in London, didn't we?

There is only one proper way to spend your last day in Paris - visiting the opera house and looking at dead people. We started with the opera house first. When we arrived at Palais Garnier, I just about died. The building is massive and beautiful. Starvation won out, however, and we stopped for some Croque Madame's before basking in its grandeur. The meal was delicious, and Kat even got a special surprise under her egg - a HUGE winged bug. After a freak out session, we proceeded to the opera house.

Palais Garnier is nothing short of magnificent. The architecture is out of this world and the whole place is dripping with incredible sculptures and art. Balconies wrap around the stairs ascending to the other tiers and I, of course, had to stop to take the necessary diva singing pictures.

Just when I thought that it couldn't get any better, we entered a hall like no other hall. Well actually, if you want to get technical, it strongly resembles the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles. I was in heaven and this was the moment that I vowed I would come out of opera retirement and one day sing in this remarkable place... or at least just see an opera there.

If you look closely in that balcony you can see I'm already taking the city by storm.

Once Kat dragged me out of the opera house, with the promise of doom and gore (everyone knows I can't resist doom and gore, even to opera), we made our way to the Catacombs of Paris. We descended the staircase 62 feet below the surface of Paris and walked through the tunnels and caverns of the Catacombs. After walking almost a mile through the dark, dank, winding tunnels, we turned the corner to face bones. Human bones. There they were stacked 5 feet high and right within arm’s reach. Femurs, tibias, skulls, you name it, uncovered! The fact that a place like this actually exists is almost unfathomable. Imagine if this was in America. It would be locked behind thick glass for sure! Thank you Paris with trusting me not to touch your bones. You know I did.

This place was magical and haunting without giving you that creepy, can taste the return of your lunch in your mouth feeling. It was odd but being surrounded by all of those human bones didn't even feel strange. It felt awesome and the whole time I contemplated how I could recreate this basilica of bones in my own apartment.

When we finally emerged from the Catacombs, it was time to head to the airport and face another type of doom and gloom... saying goodbye to Europe. How to you say goodbye to something so magical? Apparently, by getting up close and personal with hundreds of Parisians on the train ride to the airport. After our hour long snuggling session, we arrived at Charles de Gaulle Airport. I said my final goodbyes to my parents and Steve in case touching that skull had cursed me for good. The flight attendants dragged me onto my flight while I kicked and screamed, "I don't want to go!!" I wept the whole way home. Europe I'll come back to you...don't you worry!
It fit!

Thursday, September 29, 2011


September 29, 2011

Today we decided to take a train ride a bit out of the city and explore Giverny, the gardens and home of Claude Monet. When we arrived in this small artist town, that true feeling of the French countryside was overwhelming. The surrounding hills and wildflowers galore were almost too much to handle and I was prepared to give up my life and become an artist in France.

Monet's house was extremely cute and filled with vibrant colors. I wasn't allowed to take pictures inside, so you'll just have to check it out for yourself. The garden was stunning. Not to take any credit away from the great master, but if I was surrounded by such beauty, I'd probably have enough inspiration to be a painting genius! I have no words for the photos below, besides enjoy and get on booking that ticket to France!

After exploring the gardens, we walked around the adorable village of Giverny. We stopped for a wonderful lunch at an outdoor cafe and explored the village church and cemetery where Monet is buried.

After a lovely day in Giverny, we returned to Paris just in time to see the sunset from the Montparnasse Tower. This was another wonderful recommendation from our bike tour guide (they are full of wisdom, I tell ya). He said, "everyone goes to the top of the Eiffel Tower and they are missing the one thing you really want in your photo. The Eiffel Tower!" So up to the observation deck of Montparnasse Tower we went, and we got some fantastic shots of sunset and the Tower lit up. If none of these fit your fancy, I have about 800 more for you to choose from! Bonsoir Paris!