The last stretch of my trip returned me to Paris where I had previously visited for one night with the not-so-Grand Holidays tour group. This time around, I was with Nic and Melie, both currently living in Paris and both born and raised in France. I met Nic and Melie back in 2009 when I was living in Shanghai.
I can definitely see why people call Paris the city of love. It's absolutely beautiful with its old-style architecture, the River Seine which runs through the city, and its famous landmarks such as the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. I visited the main tourist attractions of course - the former two mentioned, the Musee D'Orsay, Montmarte district, Moulin Rouge, Notre Dame, and the Catacombs. Of all these places, however, my favorite was simply walking along the River Seine. Street vendors line the vendor selling art, used books, and some souvenirs, not too much to make the strip seem overly touristic which I hate. Call me a hypocrite, but I just hate tourists. I don't hate the tourist himself, but I hate going to a place where you have to scour the crowd looking for a local and where the place seems as if it was built specifically for tourists (a.k.a. a tourist trap). I know, there are so many cool things to see and do in Paris, and in the summertime, it is virtually impossible to avoid bumping into tourists. Walking along the River Seine made me feel like I was finally in Paris, free of tourist crowds and tourist items. I also have an affinity for used books so the rows upon rows of used French books kept my otherwise short attention span.
So here is where my trip draws to a close, nothing crazy or worthy of a good travel story to tell to strangers, but it was a nice couple days with some old friends experiencing Paris as they know it - home. It's been a good trip full of reunions, new experiences, and cultural learning. I even picked up a few key phrases in Dutch, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, and Ukrainian. By key I mean knowing how to say please, thank you, where is the bathroom, and little slut. I love traveling, but it was nice to go home to friends and family back in beautiful California though only for a few days since my next big adventure awaits....in New York City.
|Attack of the GIANT|
|We waited about 2 hours and finally got to the entrance outside the Catacombs!|
|Scary being surrounded by hundreds of dead people...|
|View from the Eiffel Tower|
|Failed attempt at an interesting Eiffel Tower picture|
|These used book stands lined the River Seine.|
|At the Louvre|
|The return of the French olympians. Hoards of people walking on the Champs Elysees to catch a glimpse of the medalists.|
|The French olympians|
|Mmm...French crepes. :)|