Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Paris, France

PARIS

Oct. 4- Well, I am in Paris now and seeing the sights. I have been there a few times, but Paris is always fun to see. I have had a cafe creme (coffee with steamed milk), a crepe at a street stand filled with nutella and a banana, pain au chocolate (chocolate croissant), and more. I have been taking lots of photos.

The weather is much colder here than the Mediterranean. Its cold and windy and like fall in Minnesota. I am practicing my French skills (francais) and doing pretty well, I think. I've been able to order food, ask basic questions, greet people, etc. Yesterday we walked the city all day long, for hours and many miles. Very tiring, but fun.

We walked by the Seine River. Then we walked to Notre Dame, walking through the church and admiring the beautiful stained-glasss windows and the architecture. We walked through the Louvre courtyard, but we decided not to go there this time. I've seen it before. Then, we walked along the Champs-Elysees, window-shopping in some of the nice shops along there. It was rather windy and cold all day, so we warmed up and had lunch at an Italian place along the Champs-Elysees. We walked under the Arc de Triomphe. We walked down a side street and passed some of more designer shops, admiring the jewelry and clothing from the sidewalk. We walked over to the Eiffel Tower and walked around it. It's quite impressive, even if you've seen it before.
Today we have more to see. We will walk through the Latin Quarter and St Germain-des-Pres, a fun student area with many shops and cafes. Many Parisiens can be seen sitting outside at tables, enjoying their coffee or a glass of wine, and watching people pass by.

We may go to Cafe de Flore, one of the famous writer's hangouts, which has had authors like Hemingway visit, in the Latin Quarter. I want to sit with my journal and write there, just for the experience, and watch all the people of Paris walk by.

We went to Shakespeare and Co, an English bookshop near there, filled with books floor to ceiling on 2 floors, with notes tacked on shelves with people's recommendations. Fun place. We were caught in the rain for some time yesterday and hope for better weather today, so far so good.

The next day, we went to a nice French restaurant we found off a side street. It was great, the owners and servers were joking around with us (in both French and English), and it was fun. We had a classic French dinner, with some nice French blush wine, an entree of chicken and potatoes, salad, and chocolate mousse for dessert. It was very nice.

The following day, my friend headed back home, so I toured around on my own in Paris. I spent some time at a cafe in the Latin Quarter, just people-watching and writing in my journal. I went to the Musee Rodin, and saw some of Rodin's most famous sculptures. It was a nice, relaxing day. I returned back to the hotel early, as I needed to pack and be ready to find my way to the airport very early the next morning.

And, it's home to Minnesota!

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