Thursday, December 27, 2012

Paris Day 1

{This group of posts pertains to my Christmas vacation in which my family came to visit me. The posts are based on notes I took during the trip and then wrote up after returning. They are post-dated to reflect the proper sequence of events. This is Part 9.}

So following our time in Tours, we spent the last three days of our trip in Paris. It was a quick train ride up, but when we got there it decided to by drizzly outside. Not cool, Paris, not cool. We walked from our hotel to the Arc de Triomphe, but we decided to hold out for a sunnier day to go to the top. Rain just does not make for a good view. So then we walked down the Champs Elysees (which was longer than I remembered) to Place de la Concorde. We also bought an umbrella on the way. It was flimsy and no help at all if there was even so much as a breeze, but merely having it helped improve the weather.

A Dreary Arc de Triomphe

Place de la Concorde, complete with real Egyptian obelisk

It was still fairly ucky so we opted for an indoor activity: the Palais Garnier. The Palais Garnier I think flies under the radar for a lot of people. I know my parents probably would not have gone if my sister and I hadn't insisted it was worth seeing. In fact, I wouldn't have gone the first time I was here if my Paris touring buddy hadn't been a huge Phantom of the Opera fan. I think even as we were standing in line (in the slight rain) my mother was wondering what we were doing here. From the outside, it's a nice building, but not really extraordinary by Parisian standards.

Palais Garnier

 However, as with people, it's what's on the inside that counts.

The main room

The grand chandelier in the actual theater

I'm going to label this a small ballroom

View from the front balcony

Part of the grand staircase

Gorgeous! I love the Palais Garnier. 'Modern' architecture just doesn't have this kind of charm and elegance.

After that we met one of my mom's old high school friends for a drink. It was one of those small-world things that you just can't resist. We went and grabbed dinner at a nearby cafe afterward and then on the way home we ran into one of my must-see sights: the Eiffel Tower at night.

The Eiffel Tower
And then it did something rather unexpected: it started sparkling!

The Sparkly Eiffel Tower
Ok, so not the world's greatest photograph, but you get the gist. Apparently they did it once for a special event, and it was so popular that now they do it every night on the hour. Sparkle!

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