Saturday, December 7, 2013

Americans in Paris!

It's been 3 weeks since my brother's wedding to his new bride, Séverine!  I haven't yet posted anything about the trip, but it's time to do so for family and friends that could not be in attendance!
Neal, my father and Kim arrived on Wednesday in beautiful Paris.  We were greeted to the most warming welcome from Séverine's family upon our arrival.  Her father and his parents, the most adorable couple, treated us to a beautiful home cooked meal!  We had 4 courses, and since there was a language barrier, we didn't realize this when we had our first course.  Needless to say, we ate too much at the first course and continued to politely take as much as our bellies could handle for the remaining courses!
A traditional lunch with wine and cheese as a course!
Our family friends, Hope and Dane, also shared in this adventure with us!  They had arrived a few days earlier, on Sunday, and were really able to take all of Paris' many historical venues in!  Seeing as we arrived on a Wednesday afternoon and had to leave on the following Sunday morning, we had to really squeeze in as many sights as we could!
The Americans in Paris crew!


Buying the 5 day metro pass was definitely a blessing and the best purchase, I think.  It truly made site seeing so much less stressful and having to think if you had enough on your card to get to the next destination.
Here's some of the highlights of our adventures we took in Wednesday through Friday.
 None other than the Eifel Tower.  This was my main request to see, so we visited on our first night!
 Arc de Triomphe, also seen on our first nights. I would have loved to go on top, but we were limited on time.  I hear you can see the Eifel Tower well from that view point!
 Day 2 started with a trip to the beautiful Notre Dame Cathedral.  There are currently large stadium style seats setup in front of the building which detracted a little from the exterior beauty, in mine and Hope's opinions.
We even managed to find Indiana while in Paris! WHAT!?  The Indiana chain of restaurants features very American food.  Domonique, Séverine father, took us to dinner at one of the Indiana restaurants on Friday night. 
In a city so beautiful, it's hard to imagine there's this haunting exhibit into the Catacombes.  My grandfather, Dad's dad, said this was one of the most unique places he visited when he was in Paris.  My father remembered his father telling him this years ago, so we made a visit.  There's just walls and walls of bones arranged in various fashions.
King Louis XVIII Wardrobe for what he wore at this church 
 Similar to Macy's in New York, Printemps department store had shop windows filled with beautiful Christmas themed displays!  They were all sponsored by Prada, and here's a few of my favorites!
My absolute favorite thing to do on vacations is eat food you wouldn't normally find where we live in Indiana.  This is basically whipped up sugar puff!  WHAT! 
Hope and I became quite fond of nutella crepes while visiting!  This is us freaking out about our delicious treat!
The Grand Arch is a large building shaped similar to the Arch de Triumphe.  If you look closely in the center of this photo, you will see the Arc de Triumphe.  This is view is from the Grand Arch.  I love the two buildings mimicking one another, the old and the new.
The Louvre, inside the Pyramid on our way up.  This is actually one of the best locations, coming through the subway stops to the pyramid to get into the Louvre.  You are at the center with easy access to each wing and the lines don't seem to get as long here for your tickets!
 And here's some of my Instagram posts from the week!  You can find my full account and follow me @LivelyHappening
Lastly, my favorite specialty of Paris has to be the sparkling Eifel Tower!  Check out my short video on my Instagram by clicking HERE

To sum up this part of the American's in Paris adventure, I'd like to leave with a few lessons learned:
  1. Parisians typically do not eat on the go.  It's not particularly polite to eat on the subway or even carry a Starbucks in your hand.
  2. Parisians eat hamburgers with a fork and knife.  I suggest watching others before you start eating, but don't cool about it!
  3. When dining, if you want water, you must be specific and say tap water, otherwise you will get bottled water.  This is fine if you want to pay, but come on, I just spent a boatload on the plane ticket, I've gotta be savvy!
  4. Parisians really don't wear color!  A few friends told me to pack black, and I did, but of course I brought pops of color.  I'm not sure if I looked obviously American or what, but when I wore my red hat, I felt like people looked at me in that, "What the heck, she's wearing COLOR" kind of way!
  5. It is perfectly fine to order Irish Coffee at any time of day.  Seriously, you are in Paris, drink coffee and you may as well put cream and whiskey in it since you're on vacation ;)
  6. Get a day or multiple day metro pass.
  7. Don't be afraid to go off the beaten path, there's plenty of great site out there with day trip ideas, just do a little searching!
  8. Paris is cold, and rainy in November.  Be sure to bring an umbrella.  However, as soon as you walk into a shop or museum, make sure you set the umbrella down at the door!
 I'll have a post on Greg & Séverine's wedding soon, so stay tuned!

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