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Paris and Angers

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FC: with Rachel and Joel Fine | Winter Break in France

1: 5 days in Paris + 5 days in Angers + 2 days of traveling | = two weeks of

2: Joel and I left for the St. Louis Airport at 6:30am on December 26th. We didn't get into the Paris airport until 7am the next day. | Tired, but excited we navigated through the airport fairly smoothly, utilizing moving sidewalk/escalator hybrids. We bought tickets and then took a train and the metro to our hotel.

3: This is the entrance to "Temple" our very first metro (left). Our hotel is on the far street just out of view on the left. Republique (above) was another metro we frequented. | This statue (right) was the very first thing we saw. It is in the center of Place de Republique.

4: Not too much later, we got to the hotel. Instead of electronic hotel keys we got a huge traditional key. We had to return this key to the person at the front desk every time we went out. | Hotel Paris France 72 rue de Turbigo 75003 PARIS | This is what our room looked like, only instead of a desk there was Joel's bed | Views from the balcony. You could actually see the top of the Eiffel Tour when it wasn't too foggy.

5: My first meal of a sandwich with three cheeses and "un cafe", which is an espresso shot, very popular in France. | After food, shower, and naps we walked around the neighborhood around out hotel to get our bearings. We saw this beautiful display of pastries in one window.

6: Differences between US and the French! | ~A abundance of scooters, bicycles, and tiny cars ~Awesome and cheap public transportation! | ~Intense roundabouts | ~Stores and restaurants are required to post menus and prices in their windows by law ~Courtesy is very important: you are expected to say bonjour to shop keepers when you enter their store ~Tax and tip are included in posted prices ~Delicious cheap pastries

7: My Tips for Visiting Paris ~Remember to say bonjour, merci, and pardon ~The metro is very accessible: number and color coded ~Get the museum pass if you're going to several museums, it saves time and money. ~The line for the Eiffel Tour will always be long; it will be a little shorter at night, but not by a lot. ~The old building and streets are beautiful; take the time to walk around, but be sensible and take the metro too! ~The Rodin museum is awesome! A green sculpture paradise in the middle of the city. | This is where our hotel was in relationship to many other famous places. | One day we took the metro to the Eiffel Tour and then walked from there to the Arc de Triumph and then all the way to Notre Dame. Way too much walking!

8: The tower sparkles every hour after dark. When we went it was so foggy that we couldn't see the top, but it was still beautiful and magical. | The very first night in Paris we bought some Cidre Rose, which is similar to sparkling champagne but sweeter, and plastic champagne flutes and went to look at the Eiffel tower. | Joel and I in front of the busy Tour de Eiffel.

9: Rachel and Joel having a cute sibling moment!

12: Chou Farci Stuffed cabbage | Creme brulee | Chausson aux Pommes et Jus de Pamplemousse/Fraises: Apple Tart with Grapefruit and strawberry juice | I ate a lot of delicious food in France!

13: Un patisserie avec des amandes: An almond pastry | Croque madame: Ham and cheese sandwich with Béchamel sauce and a fried egg on top | How my pastry on the right was wrapped | Part of a triple chocolate bouche de noel

14: This is a galette. It's kind of like a savory crepe. Mine had a fried egg, mushrooms, ham, and cheese. It was super yummy and delicious. We found this creation at a wonderful cafe by Versailles. | The French know how to do their ice cream. I got a scoop of chocolate sorbet and a scoop of raspberry sorbet. It is some of the most delicious ice cream I've ever eaten, and I've eaten a lot of ice cream.

15: There are beautiful buildings EVERYWHERE in France. For example this is a church we saw on the way to the Louvre

16: The Louvre! | Tip: Go to the Louvre on a Wednesday night and go through the underground mall entrance.

17: It was tiring looking at all the museums, but also a lot of fun. Rachel and I liked to think of our own interpretations of art and wander around together. | This is a picture of the inside of the Louvre. It was absolutely overwhelming! So many beautiful pieces of art. We only went in one wing and that was enough.

18: One of my favorite museums of the trip was the Hotel Des Invalides, the military museum. | The reason I liked it was it had a lot of horse related stuff: Armor, bits, stirrups, spurs, saddles, and more.

19: Napoleon's tomb | At this point our feet needed a break! We had been doing a lot of walking and standing looking at art. Luckily there were benches to sit on and a beautiful ceiling to look at. There was so much to do in Paris, but our secret was lots of mini breaks and naps in the afternoons.

20: Musee de Rodin

21: The Gates of Hell | A close-up of the Gates

22: I love the passion in Rodin's work. There is so much emotion in the sculptures. It's as if they were real and could get up and walk around.

24: Rachel and I in front "The Kiss" by Rodin in front of Musée L'Orangerie

25: Eating banana nutella crepes at the Christmas markets. So delicious!

26: Rachel was really excited to find this statue. Back in Angers, where she went to university, one of the main streets was Foch and this is a statue of him | So much stained glass inside of Sainte Chapelle! The actual chapel isn't that large, but it is covered in bible stories in stained glass. | Another shot of the Eiffel Tour.

27: L'Arc de Triumph | The majority of the time we were in Paris it was overcast, gloomy, and a bit chilly. It was winter after all. But we took full advantage of the sunny days. In whatever weather, Paris beautiful. | This is the view from on top of the Arc de Triumph

28: I had never seen so much real gold in my life before France. We don't have near as much of that in the states. It almost looks fake. | Versailles was not as fun as I had hoped. We were herded around inside and the gardens outside were dead. However, I would love to come back in the summer on a Monday when the Chateau is closed and just tour the gardens.

29: Beautiful on the outside. We decided against going inside since the line was so long. Lines = not so fun. | Notre Dame

30: After 5 days in Paris, Joel left and Rachel and I went to Angers. There we spent the next week relaxing. I got time to just hang out with my best friend in France. | Angers is about and hour and a half west of Paris by train. These pictures are from the Chateau D'Angers.

32: Coming home was a bit more of a challenge than going to Paris. From Angers I had to take one train into Paris, another to the airport, and then find my plane by myself. | This wouldn't have been bad except when I got to the train station I realized I didn't have my passport. Since I neither had a phone nor Rachel's number I had to first talk, in French, to the person selling tickets and verify there was a different train back to Paris that would let me catch my flight. | Then I had to run back to Rachel's apartment, convince the front desk to let me in the door, and start all over again. Luckily everything worked out. I practiced my French and got home safe and sound!

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