Today we woke up early and went to the train station. To reserve our spots on the TGV tomorrow morning, it only cost us an additional 10 euros each and the rest is covered by our Eurail. After we got all that figured out, we went over toward Sacre Couer. The location of this basilica is amazing: it's on the highest point in Paris. We had to climb soooo many steps to get to it, but that was nothing compared to the view from up there. We took pictures of the outside, but they don't allow cameras inside. All around the basilica, candles were lit in prayer of someone. It was amazing to see how many people had someone they cared about enough to light a candle for them. I was so overwhelmed with the emotion and grandeur of the church.
After that, we crossed the river and bought crepes for an early lunch. Becky got one with whip cream and I got a very hearty one with ham, egg and cheese. So delicious!
Next, we went to the Consiergerie and saw Marie Antoinette's cell during the Revolution. It was kind of cool. It was one of those things where you can appreciate the history, but because it's been made into such a tourist attraction, it kind of looses its appeal. The one room that I thought was particularly interesting was the small chapel where 10 soldiers awaited their deaths. That was such a weird experience, thinking about what those men must have been experiencing right before...
We returned to our hostel for some more of our delicious cheese, sausage and biscottes concoctions. We also got on the computer and couldn't find any hostels listed for Mainz, Germany. Hell, we couldn't even find Mainz on a list of German cities. So we just decided to wait and see what happens when we get there.
Our next stop in Paris was the Musee du Vin. Here Becky and I took turns leading our two-person tour group through the wine cellar while reading from a cool little book they gave us. Afterward, we sampled a glass of wine made by the Museum. (Go for the white. It's better).
Leaving the museum, we discovered that the RER trains are ridiculous and had to fool around with that for a while. We finally for to the Hotel des Invalides, which was fascinating. The gold dome is gorgeous and inside was a church where the soldiers would go to pray. The church, "L'Eglise de Saint Louis" was really nice. It was really different than most of the churches we have seen so far. All along the top hung old flags of different countries. But it was very light inside and the front was magnificently designed.
After groceries, laundry, preparing and eating dinner and a little online time, we called it a night. The laundry was a mess, though. I had bought a white shirt in Barcelona and threw it in the wash along with a bunch of my other whites. Becky had bought a pink shirt--a hot pink shirt--and she threw it in to the same load, not realizing that it would bleed. Complete bummer because now all my whites are purple. On a redemptive note, Becky found some good hostels for us to stay in once we get to Prague.
Today, our journey is halfway complete ...
What I learned from Paris:
-The Louvre is huge. You could spend the entire day there and not see everything, but you will probably get too tired to mind.
-Coffee is very expensive (5 euro) in any good location. Buy from outside the city.
-Paris is full of surprises. Embrace them.
-Climb the first two floors of the Eiffel Tower and then take the elevator to the third level. It saves money, but be prepared for scary steps.
-Always ask for the price first when putting your pictures on CDs.
-Centre Pompidou looks cool from the outside. That's pretty much it. Don't bother with the inside.
-Notre Dame is great. Walk around to the back where there are less tourists. If you poke around, you can find where they keep the fallen gargoyles.
-Be prepared for a work out when walking up to Sacre Couer.
-If you buy a bottle of wine, make sure you have a cork screw.
-The Consiergerie is full of history, but only so-so. It's not a must see unless you're really interested in the French Revolution.
-Crepes are delicious. I recommend one with ham, cheese and egg.
-Musee du Vin is kind of fun to explore. Probably better after drinking, though. haha
-Invalides is beautiful and worth exploring. The church is unique and the area around is great for a picnic.
-Be careful when doing laundry with someone else. Whites plus new hot pink shirt makes a greyish purple mess.
-Forgive and forget. It's more fun for everyone.
-Stay in hostel rather than a hotel. It's so much better socially.