Having Katie visit was the perfect excuse to go out and explore all the parts of the city that I either haven’t had a chance to yet or have been avoiding the crowds of tourists.
Friday morning, after our big birthday celebrations, Katie and I hopped on the bus to go to the Louvre. Once we got there, we waited in line, asked some old French ladies to take our picture (that was a fail), and then got our tickets. The Louvre was ours!
We headed toward Venus de Milo and the sculptures first. Then we made our way up to the Grand Gallery, which Katie knew from the Dreamers. Although we both took the same art history class in high school, we could only vaguely remember everything we learned (or we repressed it after the AP exam). I wanted to show Katie the sculpture gardenish room I went to last time, but we couldn’t find it. Then we got lost. Very lost.
Have you ever been trapped inside a maze and don’t know where the exits are? That’s how the Louvre is. I swear it’s Hogwarts and all the stairs move too. After an hour of wandering around with no luck, we finally found an exit and made our way out of the pyramids.
We went across the street to the Tuileries, walked through the garden and stopped at a café for crêpes and coffee. It was finally sunny outside! There were kids racing boats in the pond, and we could see the l’Arc de Triomphe (I tried to show it to Katie her first night but it was too foggy). We were so exhausted and took a bus back to my apartment, then got ready for dinner!
That night we went to Le Refuge in Montmartre. Emily and I have gone there so many times so far this semester that she wrote an essay and included it. We climbed over the tables and into our seats, and got two types of fondue this time, meat and cheese (usually we just get the cheese). And, as usual, it was sooo good.
When we were almost finished eating, two American girls started complaining really loudly about how they “had reservations for 8:00.” If you have ever been to Le Refuge, you would probably know that they aren’t exactly a book-two-weeks-in-advance kind of restaurant. It’s more like, show up right when they open and you won’t have trouble getting seated. But these girls clearly didn’t understand, and kept complaining loudly in English. Why were they let out of the country?! How embarassing.
One of the owners pretended like he didn’t understand English with her, which was pretty entertaining to watch. She obviously didn’t understand anything he was saying. As we were leaving, she started whining to another man who works there, who pretended to empathize with her but seemed to not really care if they were ever seated or not. Many French restaurants don’t have the same expected speedy service instilled in those in America, and Le Refuge is no exception. In fact, they know that people will wait outside in the rain for an hour and a half for fondue, so they really could care less if impolite foreigners are upset. Tant pis.
After Le Refuge, we went to Le Village on Rue d’Abbesses. It’s a quiet, relaxing bar in Montmartre, with more locals than a lot of other bars. And all the bartenders are really nice too, even though they only had one staffed for a Friday night.
The next morning, Katie and I woke up to go to le Marche aux Puces, near Saint-Ouen. This is the same flea market I tried to get to a few weekends ago, but we ended up not even close to the real one. Inside, there were a bunch of legitmate vendors trying to sell antique furniture, jewelry, clothes, fur coats…you name it. Unfortunately, we didn’t see anything we were dying to have, and wandered to find our way back to the metro, and to Montmartre.
Saturdays in Montmartre are amazing. All the vendors come out, with produce stands, wine tasitngs, and specialty food brought out by shops and independant vendors. There was a band playing at the same time on Abbesses we walked through it, as well. We looked in a bunch of jewelry stores for necklaces, and finally found some! Then, we walked up to Place de Tertres.
From there, we stopped into a few souvenir shops for Katie, then walked around to get to the front of Sacre Coeur. There was a free hug protest going on, so instead of the usual people walking around attacking tourists and tying string around their wrists, there were people walking around attacking tourists trying to hug them. I don’t know which one I dislike more. We took the funiculaire down and walked back to my apartment to take a much needed nap!
Apparently, it was a little too needed. We didn’t wake back up until 7, even though we were going to leave for the Eiffel Tower at 6. Whoops. We headed out, and got there just in time to watch it sparkle. Unfortunately, it appeared as though going to the top of the Eiffel Tower on a Saturday night isn’t the most creative idea in the world. It was so crowded that they had to close the top for about an hour. Still, none of us had been to the top on this trip, or ever, so it was worth waiting in line.
After waiting in line for a while, we got into the elevator that takes you to the second floor. Once we got there, it was like the end of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, when Grandpa Joe is in the elevator saying, “Hey look over here Charlie, I think I can see our house!”
After we descended the tower, we walked over to Trocadero and had dinner at a cafe. We were so tired afterwards that we went home and just passed out, since Katie had to be at the airport really early the next morning.
When we were in hish school, Katie and I would always talk hopefully about being together exploring Europe one day. It’s so surreal that it actually happened, and I missed her so much after I bascially threw her on the RER last Sunday morning.