Tuesday, January 04, 2005

new year's eve revisited

Man, the last few days have been crazy! I've got tons of things to blog about, but for now let's go to the way-back machine to last friday...

(To get the full effect of how insane our day was, find a good map of Paris and follow along!)

Steph and I arrived at Charles de Gaulle at 9am, which ended up being perfect, as Squishy was just emerging from baggage claim. From there we drove to Place d'Italie, figuring that parking as far south in Paris as possible would save us some time after midnight. From there we jumped on the metro and headed to Notre Dame de Paris. We passed an American Dixieland jazz band playing in the middle of the street (now that was head-swiveling!), took some pictures of the back of Notre Dame and walked around to the chaos that was the courtyard in front. The line to go in easily covered the whole courtyard (Steph said that the line to get in Notre Dame must have met the line going up the Eiffel Tower!) so we decided to look for some lunch.

We walked across the river, stopping to buy some postcards from the bouquinists, when Squishy said the most beautiful thing: "Look, it's Shakespeare and Co.!" We walked in to the famous English-book store and my brain went into overdrive. Seriously. There was so many books (oh man, soooo many), all in English, I couldn't process the information! I finally chose one, with the idea to be better prepared when Squishy and I return to Paris next week, and we moved on.

We ate at the cafe on the corner, and made ready for our next plan of attack. From there we strolled through Ile de St. Louis and then doubled back to head to the the Louvre by way of La Marais. On the way, we stopped for Squishy to buy her very own Parisien scarf.

Unfortunately, we only had an hour in the Louvre, as they were closing at 5:00 for New Year's, and we didn't make it to the Mona Lisa, but we got awfully close (I think Squishy and I may try again next week).

The next point of interest on Squishy's list was Montemarte and Sacre Coeur, so we jumped on the metro and stopped first to look at the lights on the Galleries Lafayette, which really were gorgeous. Then it was back on the metro to do a little mountain climbing.

We climbed the three insanely steep sets of stairs to get up to Sacre Coeur, to be rewarded with seeing the Eiffel Tower go all sparkly at 7:00 (which it does every hour on the hour after dark for ten minutes). Then we went into Sacre Coeur. Mass was in progress, but it is not unusual (especially in the bigger cathedrals and basillicas) for people to continue to walk around the perimeter while mass goes on - either to do the Stations of the Cross or to simply look. Squishy walked around and took it all in while Steph and I took advantage of the opportunity to sit down for a few minutes.

On our way back to the metro, we stopped in a Champion grocery for a bottle of champagne to pop at midnight. Unfortunately, everyone else was doing their last minute shopping too, so that held us up for a little bit. By this time it was getting to be dinner time, so we stopped in at the local Quick to grab a bite to eat.

At this point, all of us were getting to be a bit worse for the wear. Instead of crawling under the booths for a nap, we decided to see if we could get on one of the boats touring the Seine, which was be Something to Do and relaxing at the same time.

Uh-oh! It seems our heroes are getting tired fast, and it's still four hours to midnight! Will they catch the boat? Will they make it through the festivities unscathed? And how the hell are they going to get home? Tune in next time, for "New Year's Eve Revisited, part two!"

No comments: