We're back from our family visit to Paris. The weekend can best be described as exhaustingly exhilarating, tiringly terrific and fatiguingly fantastic.
We spent three long days pounding the pavement--cramming in as much of Paris as we possibly could. At the end of each day, our feet were killing us, our legs were shaky and numb, and our backs were aching. We were wiped, wrung out like a wet rag--empty as a bag of Frau Müller's pastries, after 15 minutes in Maison Eurolush.
As a result, sometimes we snarled at one another--and bickered. Then, we apologized and made up. Then we bickered more--and snarled. And, apologized again. And so on, and so forth. But all in all, we couldn't have wished for a better weekend. And even when we bickered and snarled, deep down (very deep down) we were happy and enjoying our time together.
Stairs became our arch-enemies in Paris. Our days were spent going up, and coming down, what seemed like thousands of stairs. Wherever you see, in this post, photos taken from vistas high above the city...imagine for a moment the number of stairs it took to get there.
Stairs = Exercise = Pain, suffering.
Beauty comes at a terrible price, friends.
The weather in Paris was gorgeous--sunny and warm, with achingly blue skies and views that stretched on for miles. We were surrounded by incredible architecture, beautiful gardens, busy outdoor cafes, and trees decked out in their stunning fall colors. The sun glittered on the Seine, as boats slowly cruised by.
(In my opinion, October is the best time of the year to see Paris--followed closely by April.)
So as not to overwhelm you with a giant Eurolush family vacation slide show, I will only post photos from one day at a time. Today I will focus on Day One, which was spent riding the ICE train from Saarbrucken to Paris.
Once we checked in to our hotel, we spent the rest of the day visiting the Ile de la Cite--with Notre Dame and the Jewish Deportation Memorial. Later in the afternoon we headed to the Louvre, where we spent the majority of our time lost in the recesses of the museum, frustratingly unable to find our way out of the Egyptian artifacts wing. Round and round we went. It was a comedy of errors and nearly cost Eurolush her marriage...
Let us begin.
Day One...Notre Dame.
While I've been inside the Notre Dame cathedral many times before, this time was different. Inside, the sunlight streamed through the stained glass windows--their colors vivid and striking.
The statues, too, were bathed in sunlight--making them all the more dramatic.
Far above, at the top of one of the bell towers, we looked out over Paris.
Our friends, the gargoyles, were there to keep us company.
I think all sensations were heightened for me, because I was there with my family. Seeing everything through their eyes made me even more aware of the magnificence around us.
Notre Dame did not disappoint. The kids loved climbing the stairs high above the church and seeing the gargoyles. We all loved the fabulous views. I was so happy to be there on such a perfect day.
After our visit to Notre Dame, we walked over to the nearby, newly constructed Memorial des Martyrs de la Deportation--a memorial dedicated to all the French citizens deported to concentration camps by the Nazis during World War II.
In the hall of crystals, each crystal represents a French citizen, lost during the war. It was a heartbreaking and stunning memorial. Truly beautiful.
Next we left the Ile de la Cite and made our way over toward the Louvre.
After a quick stop for dinner, we headed inside.
We were overwhelmed with all there was to see.
We spent much of our time lost in the recesses of the museum, unable to make our way through the maze of Egyptian and Greek artifacts. At one point I was certain we would be spending our first night in Paris at the Louvre, sleeping among the sarcophagus's (sarcophagi?) as we were continuously lost, completely exhausted and unbelievably frustrated with our backtracking and circles.
Though we were close to coming to blows at one point, Mr. Lush and I managed to swallow down our combined rage and see the humor in our predicament. Lost in the Louvre! Thankfully, we found a museum worker to point us in the right direction, and our marriage was saved. Yay!
We left the museum as the last bit of sunlight disappeared. The Metro took us back to our surprisingly nice hotel in the Place de la Republique...for which we paid a mere 235 Euros a night--a bargain in Paris. (The rooms were 480 Euros a night for anyone checking in without a reservation. Ouch.)
Tomorrow I will share with you Day Two, which entailed a visit to Musee D'Orsay, the Catacombs of Paris--an underground cemetery, where the bones of thousands of Parisians are carefully arranged in vast caverns, the Rodin Museum, Napoleon's tomb, the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. (It was a busy day...)
All for now.