This is me.
Europe: Paris

OK, it's 2008 and I didn't get to post this as soon as I'd hoped to.

Oh, well.

Photo-laden post coming right at you!

Paris. Everyone knows (or seems to know) about that city. It's been showcased in a huge number of movies, and occasionally ends up on the average person's I'd-like-to-head-to-that-little-corner-of-the-world list.

"You'll love this place," my Dad said. "You'll love it more than all the other places we went to."

I'm not sure I agree with the more in that sentence, but I do love it as much as most of the other places we went to.

So, first stop?

Where do you think we went?

The famed Eiffel Tower was something to see, all right. My camera was overwhelmed.

The tower looms menacingly.

And why wouldn't my camera be quaking in its metal casing? Just look at how intimidating that last photo was.

a more romantic perspective

The Eiffel Tower was just WOW. It was everything I thought it would be. The engineering part of me was especially fascinated with how the elevators going up the tower sort-of moved sideways up the base to get to the top. I hope that last sentence made sense.

I also took some photos of the tower at night, but I figure I've already given you enough shots of this structure.

Moving on, we passed by a cool garden.

The statue isn't really talking to the birds, is it?

A Canadian tourist we met in Italy explained how Paris was one big architectural museum. He said you'd go down a corner and say "Hey, look there!" then you'd turn your head and say "No, I mean there!" then look back and say "That was cool too!" And he was right.

yet another famous tourist spot

The Arc de Triomphe was stunning. Imagine grumbling through traffic then getting to look up at that beautiful monument. Or maybe people who've lived there a long time don't notice these things anymore.

Maybe they just go shopping at the Champs-Élysées in front of said monument.

The sun setting makes the buildings look cool, doesn't it?

That's just what we did. The shopping, I mean. We went through a lot of stores just looking through bags, perfumes, CDs, and even stuffed toys. Almost everything was designer and amazingly expensive; I spent most of my time just looking. I did buy a few French CDs I'd been looking for, but that was about it.

We also ended up in Notre Dame.


I kept expecting a hunchback to ring the bells or come out on the steps. This is probably what happens when a Disney freak who's seen The Hunchback of Notre Dame (or read the original novel) comes to see the real thing.

More wow up close.

I couldn't take any photos inside but it was mind-boggling.

I am also quickly running out of adjectives to describe everything that fascinated me in Europe.

We actually met an aunt in Paris. She had come a day before to take a look around. My Mom happened to mention my one reason for coming to France: macarons. And what is a macaron, dear Reader? Only one of the most interesting French pastries, in my honest opinion. I even made a blog design on it once.

Anyway, the macarons I've tried back home are terrible. Too sweet, and without the crumbly goodness I've heard so much about. So when I learned we were headed for Europe, the foodie in me started screaming for these delectable treats.

And I got them. Or rather, my Aunt got them.

She couldn't tell which kind I wanted most. She didn't even know which bakery I liked best. So she visited three bakeries and bought a macaron of every flavor. I kid you not.

Three boxes!

Numerous flavors!

And then, she explained how I have to try each flavor by the next day because we were going back to get my favorites.

Wow. Is my Aunt awesome or what? Thank you if you happen to be reading this, Aunt Ping!

I skipped breakfast the next day to bite into every pastry. And boy, was it good! The crumbliness perfectly gave way to some really cool fillings.

I'm getting happy goosebumps just thinking about it.

I did notice differences in taste and amount of filling, and ended up going for Pierre Hermé's version.

I finally got to eat some top-of-the-line macarons!

So I shall stop salivating now, and return to the rest of the trip. And what kind of Parisian trip would be complete without visiting the Louvre?

Cool sculpture #1

Cool sculpture #2

My sister and I got chummy with the snazzy marble sculptures.

Daphy and I loved the Louvre museum. We tromped through the maze-like halls checking out artwork we'd only seen in my art history books. My parents followed us in a daze since they had never even heard of most of the stuff we were so giddy about. I guess art wasn't exactly one of their interests but at least they humored my sister and me.

It was awe-inspiring to see all the paintings. One famous portrait was pretty disappointing though.

"That's it?" my parents asked as we watched hordes of tourists snap photos of a 30 inch by 20 inch portrait cordoned off and encased in glass. The Mona Lisa was just. So. Small.

I guess I expected such a buzz-worthy work to be... You know. Bigger.

I'm actually running out of words because it is 4:18 in the morning here.

We continued on to a chapel my Aunt liked. She liked it enough to climb the steps to get it.

And these were long flights of steps.

We could have taken the tram going up to the church. But where's the fun in that?

No, we decided to walk off a few infinitesimal calories instead.

It was worth it.

Check out those massive ceilings, and all that great architecture.

And the really detailed stained glass windows.

I thought it had a pretty nice atmosphere for a church. Not to mention they let me take photos.

These are the candles people light up for prayers.

At least, I think they're for prayers. I'm not a Catholic so I can't really say.

We later went to dinner in an interesting restaurant called Julien. I was pretty interested in how Parisians ate. If you wonder how they ate, they ate really close to each other.

Those two people in the foreground may look like they're eating together, but they're not.

I felt like my personal space had been invaded. I couldn't even stand up without moving the table a few inches forward. Or maybe the restaurant was just pretty crowded.

So we looked at the menu.

And we couldn't read said menu.

I bemoan the loss of my French. I actually took classes once, but with no one to practice with, I've lost my fluency. Heck, I've lost most of my vocabulary.

Fish soup

This is what I eventually ordered. It had the consistency of broth and was actually quite good. Fishy without tasting too fishy, if that makes sense. I mean, has anyone ever noticed how bad fish is described as fishy?

Or maybe that's just the way my family says it; I'll have to check.

I was a little tickled by the grated cheese they included with my soup. I tried dumping the cheese in but it didn't seem to improve the flavor much.

Continuing to the main course...

My meat dish --- I believe it was steak --- was quite good. I loved how the potatoes had been cooked too.

I didn't like the sauce though so that ruined it a bit. My Asian taste buds were probably just getting used to the new cuisine.

Either way, we had a lot of fun.

And --- can you believe it? --- that ends my jaunt to Europe! That ends the series as well.

Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! And now, I need to sleep. Goodnight!

Daisy on 1/01/2008 03:22:00 AM