For our first longer-than-a-weekend break, Sora and I headed north to the lovely city of Paris. We were greeted at the Beauvais airport by Sora's friend Noah Schlueter, a Butler alum and American au pair in France. He had been traveling around France during a holiday, and kindly took a little detour to Paris to meet us.
Having Noah around was great! Not only had he been to Paris a couple of times before, but he spoke French and knew French things. He explained French history, pointed out the best pastries, chose the best cheese... the list goes on! Noah has been in France for almost a year, and had great au pair and travel stories to share. It was the first time I had met him, but we quickly bonded over our mutual loves for Sora and the Sartorialist. Bottomline: a definite top notch guy! Like any good American overseas, Noah keeps a very entertaining blog which I have added to my side list (Must sees: his Youtube channel for clips of his boys and his French "crib").
We started our day with a leisurely stroll to Rue Cler, a traditional Parisian street that happens to be Rick Steve's favorite. Any favorite of Rick's is a must-see in my opinion, so we played Parisians for a while and picked out cheese, wine, and a fresh baguette for a picnic lunch.
We picnicked on the Eiffel Tower lawn and enjoyed watching Parisian children and rejecting wandering African sellers. (If we didn't want 3 keychains for one euro, we aren't going to want 5...)
I will forever treasure my pictures of the Eiffel Tower with blue sky! We definitely lucked out on the weather. We were expecting rain everyday, and it only rained as we were driving to the airport on the way back.
Way bigger up close than expected!
Strolling the streets.
After our delicious lunch, we hit to the streets again and just took in the sights around us. We stopped for crepes with Nutella, browsing at the book stalls, and many photo ops.
raw hamburger served with spices and topped with a raw egg.
The next day brought us to the Pompidou Center, a unique musuem of modern art. The long tube on the outside of the building is the escalator, and all of the pipes are on the outside of the building. We browsed a feminist art gallery and were pleasantly puzzled with the "creative" artist interpretations and subject matter (the museum bookstore was great!!).
Inside-out facade of the Pompidou Center.
One of my favorite parts in Monmartre was Place du Tertre. It is the town square, and filled with artists who have set up easels and showcase previous works. Rick noted that each stall has been passed down through generations, and art is the family business. Some artists did carnival-ish caricatures, but others were very very good!
Also on the walk was a stop at Cafe des Deux Moulins, a cafe made famous by the French film "Amelie". We stopped and had a cafe, and daydreamed about being chic and Parisian. ("Cafe des Deuz Moulins" = Cafe of Two Windmills)
The Chateau de Versailles is incredible and absolutely massive. For the whole effect, you must visit the main palace, the gardens, and small palaces dotting the gardens. The inside is definitely fit for French royalty, and Sora and I were taking notes on its interior design for our future abodes. I loved the Hall of Mirrors, which was chandelier after chandelier, lined with mirrors, and overlooking the gardens.
One of our favorite parts was exploring the Hamlet in the Domaine of Marie-Antoinette. She created the village because she adored the simplicity and quaintness of peasant life. There were about 12 buildings, thatched roofs and all, and farm animals.