Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Long Weekend in Paris

We spent a long weekend in Paris, visiting a friend (also named Chris) who is studying there for the month. Chris and Chris met in French class almost two years ago, and one of them has kept their French up (ie, hasn't had it erased by German). Combining a visit to a friend from home and a first trip to France, it was quite a lovely way to pass a few days. Paris, in fact, isn't too terribly far from Cologne. (It's just under four hours by train - about 15 min less time than it takes to get to Berlin.)

The trick with Paris in August is that many of the locals have shipped out, just in time for we tourists to arrive. Quite a few restaurants were closed for the month, and even some tourist draws were shuttered (notably the Cinémathèque Française).

Still, lots to do, and realistically not enough time to do it. We basically stayed away from anything that had a long line of tourists - so we skipped the Louvre (and besides you would need at least a month to enjoy that), the inside of the Notre Dame (which looked like a baby compared to the Dom here), and anything that had to do with the Da Vinci Code (or so I think - I didn't even know it was set partly in Paris until I was reading our guide book, and still have no idea what the book is about). We took in the big sights, like the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Champs-Elysee. The Eiffel Tower was the one exception to the "line rule," though we stood in the hour long "short line" to climb the 671 stairs (a feat which easily be done in flip-flops or high heels in under a half hour, while those in the elevator line have hardly moved).

We made pilgrimages to a few notable literary landmarks (including the apartment occupied by James Joyce while he wrote Ulysses and, a few doors down, the flat Ernest Hemingway wrote about in A Moveable Feast). We did our best to find some cute, less bustling nooks around town (with some success, I think). Most importantly, we sat outside with lots of coffee, numerous baguettes, and even more sweet pastries, and did our level best to look like an Eric Rohmer film.

I'm learning that Chris has a thing for cemeteries, and so we did visit one of the three large ones, Cimetière du Père-Lachaise. Even with a detailed map, it was still a scavenger hunt to find the graves of Proust, Oscar Wilde, and Balzac, among others.

And since a picture is worth a thousand words, click on the below album for the photo highlights.



(Grand)Dad said...

Thanks for all the photos, and the baby 'dome' is looking great.

Christina Merhar said...

We miss you guys!!!!! Kelly (and Chris)--- you are GLOWING and look so amazing and beautiful and happy. love you tons and miss you incredibly!!! We cant wait to meet little paris... i mean brussle sprout... i mean ???? you both look amazing and i cant wait to see more :)

Aaron Burkhalter said...

Hey yo!

Great photos, especially of all the close up architecture shots of the Eiffel Tower.

There are some really nice shots in there.

Though I'm starting to think you're getting a Sarah Vowell-like obsession with visiting graveyards for your vacations. I heartily approve.

I also heartily need to get going to work.