Once we got to Paris, it was pretty much smooth sailing. We were in a hostel really close to Montmartre, so there were plenty of things to do and we were close to a metro station so we could get almost anywhere easily. The downside was that we didn't have wifi (hence the not blogging for a while). The first night we were there, we went to a Japanese restaurant. It was pretty good, it was strange to go into an asian restaurant and hear their broken English with both a French and Japanese accent.
The next day we walked down the Champs-Elysees and did some window shopping. There was a Christmas market so we got some fries and I got this potato mush thing, it was delicious I think it was called tartiflette or something, I can't really remember. Then we walked through the Grand Palace, there was an art exhibit showing only French artists (contemporary ones that are still alive, not ancient ones). We had dinner with Tom's cousin's boyfriend, Vincent. He was born and raised in Paris, but studied at Pitt for a semester. It was cool to meet up with someone who is actually a native of the country we were in, every other time we've met up with someone, they were Americans (and a Canadian, in Amsterdam we met up with Tom's friend from school, but more on that later) living and studying abroad He asked us if we knew any French and we said no. He looked concerned and said, "How are you doing?" I think we managed to get by pretty well without knowing anything. I actually remember more French from high school than I thought. Madame Frye would be proud. I knew enough to say some numbers and ask for some things. One time when we were in a super market, the cashier asked something and I understood! He asked if we wanted a bag, but I said "Non" (that's French for 'no'). A very simple answer, but it was sufficient!
The next day we went to The Louvre. It is such a huge museum, Tom and I were kind of overwhelmed. At this point we were kind of museumed out anyway, so we hit the main attractions (The Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, Venus De Milo, etc.). After the museum we went to the Eiffel tower. It was really pretty because it was sunset when we were up at the top. After that, we went to a place I read about online, Pierre Hermes. It's an upscale boutique-type macaroon store. We got a few (expensive) macaroons. I don't know for sure what each flavor was, but I know that my favourite one was Olive oil/tangerine. It sounds really bizarre but I swear it was so good. something about the light and tangy tangerine mixed a hint of olive oil was amazing. Plus the macaroons themselves were crispy on the outside, and creamy on the inside, and would just melt in your mouth. Expensive? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely. We then turned our fine dining notches down quite a bit, and went to the super market to get dinner. We got some baguettes, cheese, meats, and some wine. Despite the fact it was a super cheap dinner, it was still delicious (and this is now our go-to dinner in almost every city we're in to avoid spending lots of money on eating out).
The next day we went to Notre Dame. When we were walking around the church, we realized it was a Sunday, and they were starting some sort of mass or something. Since Tom is Catholic, I suggested we go sit down in the pews, because it would be a really cool to say you've been to Sunday mass at Notre Dame. Tom was a little hesitant, with good reason, he didn't want someone yelling at us that we weren't supposed to be there in French and we have no idea what they're saying. But we sat down anyway. After a little while, we noticed everyone that was also sitting down had on a blue and yellow scarf/bandanna thing. We were starting to get a little uneasy about sitting there. Keep in mind, we were sitting there for probably about 15 minutes at that point, waiting for the mass to start. Then, some American family (or so we think, their English was very good) sat behind us. They start talking about Ukrainian traditions and telling the daughter different words in Ukrainian. Then it clicks, it was some sort of special Ukrainian mass. And the man behind us said something about how the Ukrainian president was there. Tom and I were worried they had special things to do and that people would get mad if we participated in this Ukrainian only mass. We decided to leave as to not embarrass ourselves if we got up during the actual mass. When we left, everything was roped off and they weren't letting people in. We definitely weren't supposed to be there. After that, we decided to go to Musee D'Orsay. Tom loves impressionism so he was really excited for this museum. All the museums we've been to have been super old religious paintings, so something new and more modern was a nice change of pace. When we got there, the line to get in was really long, but we didn't have anything else to do, so we figured we would just wait in it. About halfway through the line, we saw a sign that said free admission! We were so happy, anytime we get free stuff it's a good day in my book. Apparently on the first Sunday of every month, all the museums are free. It was such a nice surprise. It made waiting in that line much more bearable.
Our last day in Paris was a much needed laundry day!! You have no idea how nice it felt to put on clean clothes. Don't get me wrong, it's not like we were smelly. Well... ok maybe a little, but we have to fit everything we bring with us into one bag that is the size of a carry on (the airline we took from Milan to Paris, and Amsterdam to Rome only lets you have one carry on. Don't ask me why, it's really stupid... ). So the small amount of clothes we do have don't exactly stay super clean when you have to re wear them many many times. Sometimes we even wash underwear in the sink. Yes, I did feel like a hobo, the kind that uses McDonalds' sinks for showers, but it saves money. It's a good thing I'm not a really high maintenance girl, this whole five-weeks-out-of-a-backpack thing would not go over well. Anyway, we did laundry and it was great to have some clean clothes. Although, I accidentally washed my clothes on the super hot cycle some things changed color... Mainly my underwear that used to be vibrant colors are now a weird shade of puke blue. Best description I could think of. I did ruin a sweater as well, but I'm not too upset about it. After laundry we walked around Montmartre for a while (Tom's favourite area in Paris I think) then went to Sacre Coeur. You can see the whole city from up there, and it's beautiful! We took a train to Antwerp, Belgium the next morning.
I'll post pictures later, I just wanted to get this post up, because it is long over due (as well as all the other cities. Wifi hasn't been the most reliable thing over here).