Saturday, November 12, 2011

oui, paris

Paris. Of all the places I've been to and through.... the only one that did not surpass my expectations is Paris. You always hear terrible things about France in general. Some of the things I have heard regarded rude Parisians, bad body odor along with other problems with hygiene, and expensive food. I actually loved the people. They were so incredibly friendly, even though I obviously didn't know a lick of the French language. I seriously did not even know how to count past 3 prior to my trip there. And when it comes to body odor, it wasn't just France that is an offender... I sat between incredibly smelly men on the train to Germany and considered the whole way what would be the most appropriate way to ask them to not sit next to me. When I arrived in Germany, I noticed the trend continue. At our hostel in Berlin, I almost could not sit in the dining area due to the overwhelming, unbearable fragrance.

On to more my exciting day in Paris... my first stop was the Notre Dame Cathedral. This may possibly have been my favorite site. This is actually the only picture I took inside of the Cathedral, simply because I could not bring myself to take pictures of sacred religious art. Once you walk into the sculpture of a church, you are overwhelmed with awe at the size and awesomeness of it.

I love the Louvre! This place was ginormous. Several people have told me prior to going how large the place is, but I just was not prepared for a place this incredibly large. Words can not describe how big this place is. It's intensity at it's most inconceivable. I only walked through half of it, where I saw the French and Italian paintings and sculptures, including the Mona Lisa, along with the Egyptian and African art. This was one of my favorites, where the people in the pictures are completely made of fruit. You are what you eat, pictured at it's best!

After visiting to the Louvre, I took a quick peek at the Opera house then walked the 3 miles to Des Si & Des Mets for lunch. The restaurant is devoted to gluten free food and is apparently quite delicious according to reviews. As you can see, I walked all the way uphill for 3 miles to get to that restaurant that is now closed down. Wonderful. I walked down a couple blocks to an Italian restaurant where there was a chalkboard posted with the specials of which included Risotto Frutti Di Mare. This is a dish that I was sure didn't contain gluten, as it is simply seafood, tomato sauce, and rice. I walked into the restaurant and handed the manager my GF dining cards and he told me to go to a French restaurant, even after I explained the risotto shouldn't have gluten. He obviously did not know any English and did not even know what gluten was. So I walked down to the creperie next door, handed the guy my dining card and asked if he had crepes de serazza, and he said if I have a problem with gluten, I would have no problem dining there. I could have kissed that awesome server. I enjoyed every single bite of my very large buckwheat crepe filled with goat cheese, peppers, and mushrooms. The restaurant, by the way, was called Creperie Lepic Assiette. Delicious.

After making it over to the Eiffel tower, another 3.5 miles or so later, I found a bakery on my way back home. Macaron is a cookie-like dessert made from Almond flour. I got one chocolate and one caramel, and they were delicious! Totally loved them.

At the end of the day, I figured I walked about 15 miles, if not more. I didn't take a single train, simply because I would rather see all of the sites and not miss any by being underground. Paris is a really good city when it comes to sites... the entire city is full of awesome looking buildings with no in-betweeners. All in all, Paris is a city I'm glad I had the opportunity to visit, and I now really want to learn French. However, it is not a city I would want to spend a long period of time in. I would miss the trees, ocean and good quality food at a good price. One thing I will say is that French people have no concept of temperature, it seems, unless I am an old lady with hot flashes. I was wearing a tank top and sweating waterfalls (keep in mind that I rarely ever sweat outside of doing Crossfit WODS), while everyone else was clothed in thick wool coats, furry boots, scarves, and hats. I felt the need to cover up simply because I felt so naked in comparison.... but then I figured I would brave my outfit to keep myself from dying of a heat stroke.

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