Day 27: Leaving Paris!

Today we are leaving Paris, and it’s very sad.  It’s been a great trip and this city is amazing.  If I ever get enough money I’m buying a vacation home here and coming back every chance I get.  Here are some of the things I’m going to miss about Paris:

  1. The Metro
  2. How beautiful everything is
  3. Fresh Markets
  4. So many cafes
  5. Wine in the afternoon
  6. Coffee after meals
  7. The fashion
  8. Happy hour!
  9. Bread-french bread, croissants, any kind of bread
  10. The Eiffel Tower and hanging out in front of it
  11. St Michel area/The Latin Quarter
  12. So many museums-we barely went to any!
  13. The buildings
  14. Sitting in the gardens reading
  15. Not working.
We grabbed a couple croissants while we were packing up!  Goodbye Paris!
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Day 26: Champs Elysees and sitting on the River

Today was our last day in Paris! Tomorrow we get on a plane.  I really don’t want to go.  It’s so beautiful and there is so much to do here!  But at least we get to see Copley!

We decided to spend the last day walking down the Champs Elysees one last time.  It was a cloudy day, but we just popped into shops here and there which was great.  The real thing we wanted to do for the day was go to Laduree, the pastry shop.  They supposedly sell the best macaroons in the world.  I don’t usually eat macaroons so I was very curious to see what they tasted like.  We decided to first stop in and have lunch there and get other dessert as well.  This place was so fancy looking.  Definitely looks like some place you’d have tea at, which a lot of people were having tea later in the day.  I got a salad and Ryan got a sandwich.  Pictures weren’t really allowed so we took a few sneaky ones.  My salad looked really interesting.

It was very tasty, and Ryan enjoyed his sandwich as well.  However, the dessert was what we came for, and it did not disappoint.  I got some sort of chocolate layer cake, and Ryan got an orange pastry.  We got some macaroons to split.

Delicious!  We went down to the boutique to see about grabbing some macaroons to go after that. By this time it was late in the afternoon and I was feeling worn down.  We went back to the apartment so I could take a quick nap.  I wanted to be able to stay up.  Ryan went and grabbed a lock while I was sleeping.

When I woke up, we headed to the bridge with all the locks on it.  They are lovers locks, and you put the lock on there and throw the key into the river for good luck.  So we got our lock that Ryan picked up, put our initials on it and threw it into the river!

We then walked around for a bit and tried to decide what we wanted to do for our last night-get street food or go to a cafe one last time.  We saw this pizza cafe that was kind of a combination so we decided to sit there in our favorite square, St Michel and relax for a bit.  It was a nice night and the pizza was yummy!

Then it was time to drink some champagne on the river!  We had the bottle that Mimi brought us and the light up glasses we got from the Eiffel Tower.  We went to the tip of the island that Notre Dame is on and took in the view.  Ryan took a video while I popped the champagne.  I tried to shake it up for Mallory but it didn’t explode.  Since we couldn’t drink the whole thing though, Ryan shook it up and sprayed it into the river. It was a great way to end the trip!

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Day 25: Cruise on Canal St Martin and Pigs Feet

Today I was feeling like I still had a cold, so we slept in and started packing up sadly, and then headed to another river cruise.  This one however was only in French and English, although you could barely understand the English, and went down the Canal St Martin, which was quite different than the Seine.  I really enjoyed going along and moving from lock to lock and having the water fill up each time.  It was also a beautiful day out.  They also had this one part where you go through these dark tunnels which was really cool.

This cruise was much longer (2.5 hours!) so it took up all afternoon.  By that time we were hungry and were looking for a good place with onion soup, also known as French Onion Soup, but here it’s just onion soup.  After using our Yelp app, we found a place and got some.  Yum.

Ryan was being adventurous and ordered some escargot, which he had been meaning to the whole trip.  He really liked them a lot!

It’s really good Ryan liked the snails, because while I got steak, Ryan got what the restaurant, Au Pied Cochon, was famous for–a pig’s trotter.  I couldn’t really watch him eat it because it was just too gross to me, and Ryan didn’t like it.  It was very fatty.  So he ate some of my steak.

Then Ryan ordered dessert because he was still a bit hungry.  He ordered a Rum Baba.  We had never had that before and wasn’t quite sure what a baba was, so that’s why he ordered it.  They came over and dropped off a bottle of something with vanilla and cinnamon in it.  I thought it was a sugar syrup, so when Ryan’s dessert came I poured it all over.

However, turns out that it was Rum in the bottle, so it became very rum soaked!  Ryan ate it anyway, which was good.  Overall dinner was pretty eventful for Ryan.  I enjoyed my onion soup and steak though.

We went by the wine bar where we had our tasting and tried some of their wines which was fun.  Their wine bar is so awesome.  We then were going to go drink the champagne Mimi brought for us, but instead we wanted to head over to the Moulin Rouge and see it all lit up at night.  It certainly was a sight to see!  Also there were just a ton of lights in their Red light district anyway.  Some interesting stores there!

Tomorrow is our last full day!

 

 

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Day 24: Brussels!

Today we finally made it to Brussels!  We had to get up at 4:30 because our train left at 6, but we made it!  I was pretty excited to be there finally.  We headed straight for the Grand Place.  It was kind of confusing at first and they didn’t stamp our passport which made us sad.  It was cold and kinda rainy and no one was out, but we were very hungry so we went straight to a place to get some food.  We had very few goals in Brussels: eat chocolate, eat a waffle, eat fries and drink beer.  So we immediately checked off the waffle.  I don’t normally like waffles but it was sooo good!

Since we’d seen the Grand Market at this point, we headed over to Manneken Pis, the statue of the little boy peeing.  They really love that little kid!  It’s so tiny though.  I guess the story goes that he put out a fire by peeing on it and saved the city.  They have chocolate shops and everything with that boy on it.  It made me laugh a lot.

After we saw the peeing boy, we decided to go do some touristy things.  We first went to a brewery.  It’s been open since 1900 and it makes Lambic beer and they use the old techniques of making beer.  It was quite interesting and it tastes like no beer I’ve ever had.  Very bitter.  Definitely an experience, but not my favorite beer to drink.  They make one called gueze that is their regular beer and then they make fruity ones.

Then we kept on our touristy track and headed to the Atomium.  This was kind of a weird experience and I found it kind of a tourist trap.  Cool to look at outside and it has a cool view, but I wouldn’t recommend it.  But it’s pretty futuristic looking even though it was made in 1958.

Then we headed off to one more museum- the comic strip museum.  However, I was starting not to feel well, so we kind of sped through it.  I think my body was just tired and worn down from getting so little sleep!  However, I did get to meet a smurf!

Then we needed to grab a bite to eat, so we tracked down the best fries in Belgium.  They were at this little stand.  We got some sauces to try on them.  Ryan got curry ketchup and I got some spicy aioli called Pili Pili.  It was very tasty!

Then we only had a few more hours!  We headed back to the Grand Place and it was way cooler now.  It was so lively!  SO much more than this morning.  We popped into a lot of chocolate shops and couldn’t decide, but picked up some truffles to eat on the train on the way back to Paris.  Then we had one thing left to do: drink some beer! I found some place that is supposedly one of the top two beer bars in the world. It’s called Delirium cafe and it has 2500 beers to choose from and 27 taps.  It was huge.  It took up like the whole block, but in several different rooms. The main area stayed open until 4am everyday but one room was open until 6am.  That’s so late for drinking! I tried one beer, and Ryan had time for two before we had to catch the train back.  If I go to Brussels again, it’s only going to be for the late afternoon or evening because it’s way cooler then!

 

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Day 23: Shopping and a Wine Tasting

Tomorrow we go to Brussels so we decided to take it kinda easy.  Also it’s rainy and Monday so all the museums are closed.  We really have no money to go shopping, but that doesn’t mean we can’t window shop!

We headed over to the shopping area we saw the other day and the store Au Printemps that is like the Harrods of Paris.  I like Harrods better, but this one was really cool.  It was 3 different buildings and 9 stories.  The men and women have their own building and then they have a home building.  I really liked the housewares department.  Too bad I have no space for any of that stuff!

By far the best part about Au Printemps though was the view at the top.  We went up and grabbed some lunch at the restaurant which was just sandwiches basically and took a few pictures.  It might be my favorite view in Paris because it’s high enough to see everything, but everything seemed so close.  It really seemed like we were in the middle of everything.  Definitely check out this view if you ever come to Paris!

We continued walking around and shopping.  We went by my favorite store Uniqlo.  I am so envious of New Yorkers being able to go to Uniqlo.  I should take the bus there more often.  So much cheap stuff!  I just got a sweater and Ryan got a linen blazer but it was awesome to go.  I do like Uniqlo a lot in the winter with all their affordable sweaters but it’s summer!  We also went to a few more stores in the area.  There are so many and they are really quite beautiful inside.  We went to one called Lafayette and it had an awesome center area with stained glass above.

After that we hopped on the train and headed to our wine tasting.  I found out about this place called O Chateau that gives a class in English about French wines along with the tasting and it was affordable.  So for two hours we learned about French wine!  I wish we had done this first as ordering wine at restaurants would have been easier, but it was really informative.  Like Rose wine here is not as sweet and it is what the French drink for lunch more than red wine.  Also they don’t order wine by type but instead by area.  They have something like 25,000 wineries in France.  By comparison California has 1800 and the entire country of Australia has about 800!  So he said that if you have a wine you like in France, buy a bottle.  You will most likely never find that bottle again!

The wine place was soo cool and it was a lot of fun!

After we drank the wine, we went back to that Steak Frites place we went a few weeks ago.  We’ve been trying not to go to the same restaurant twice, but this one was so good and people always go there and they are super fast.  We had to be in bed by 10 since we have to get up by 4:30!  The steak was delicious as always and we made it home in time to go to sleep!

 

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Day 23 and Day 24

Sorry for no update.  Went to Brussels super early this morning.  Had to get up at 4:30 so couldn’t update from yesterday.  Now I’m exhausted!  Will update tomorrow!

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Day 22: The Louvre

Today was free Louvre/Museum day.  We woke up a bit later than I wanted, but still made it there before 10.  However, the line was an hour and a half.  We had all day so I wasn’t worried, however I did have to go to the bathroom.  So I used the Euro that Tim gave me at work to go to their really cool bathroom while Ryan held our place in line.  The bathroom place was really cool and they even sold specially printed toilet paper.  I thought that would be a pretty funny gift for someone but Ryan did not.  I took a picture in the stall so you could see how beautifully decorated it was:

We kept waiting in line in the mall under the Louvre.  This was the first time we saw an Apple store and I was really surprised.  I figured I’d see one on the Champs Elysees but it was in the Louvre.  When we finally got in, we headed straight for the Mona Lisa.  I figured might as well see it first before even more people got in.  It is a ZOO trying to see that thing.  People talk about it being small but it was the size I’d expect.  However, it’s crazy protected.  They let all the other paintings hang out on the walls but this one is surrounded by security guards, cameras, railings, a wood shelf and glass.  I did not enjoy looking at it and wished that all the people would go away so I could enjoy it.  However, Ryan and I did have a fun time playing “Find Courtney in the picture.”

We continued along seeing a lot more awesome art.  It was rather hot in many of the rooms so I enjoyed the ones where it was cold, like the pyramid/Egyptian rooms.  I think I was most excited by Hammurabi’s Code.  It was really cool to look at.  I wish they had the English translation though, all they had was French.  It’s pretty amazing what those hieroglyphics say though.

We saw a ton more awesome things.  Ryan’s favorite was Ramses III and the tombs.  We were only able to grab one picture together and my eyes were closed, but it’s the only one we got!

After eating lunch at the Louvre and looking around for a few hours, we decided to head over to the French Open and check out what we could see. I mean Nadal and Federer were playing and we thought maybe we could at least get some stuff on the street like a tshirt or something.  But we couldn’t get in.  They had people selling tickets but I was too nervous they would be fake!  However, it was pretty cool just to hear all the people cheering and you could even hear them swing their rackets.  I mean I can probably say that will be the closest I ever am to a Nadal/Federer match in my life!

After that we headed home and took a nap.  We were going to go out but decided to stay in and save some money.  We want to go shopping tomorrow and maybe we’ll buy something!

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