Sisters Euro Trip: Paris- Part Deux

May 2, 2009

Day 2 in Paris was jam packed with "GO!" We started with an early morning trip to the Paris Flea Market. We walked around for hours looking at typical flea market "cheap" stuff (like clothing, shoes, jewelry, hats, decorations, souvenirs, etc.), some of which had deals that were just too good to be true! Armed with cash and some bargaining words in French, the Kolumbus girls did some damage!

We also ventured off into the more high-end Paris Antique district and bought some antique flea market items. The antiques there were AMAZING! The variety of items had me wishing I could just buy everything up and put it in my carry on to bring home. Maybe it's a good thing that shipping is so expensive because I would have bought so many things! Among the streets lined with very expensive (and very old!) antiques were ultra modern furniture stores too. I was surprised to find those, and also in love with the furniture in there just as much as I loved the antiques!

After the antique areas, we headed back to our starting point which brought us by many markets of a different kind... they were poor people selling anything they could spread out on blankets on the roadside. Many of the things on these blankets were 1 euro or less. These include very ratty old clothing and shoes, jewelry, plugs for old electronics, flowers, videos, and so much more. It was such a contrast to the expensive antiques that we had just browsed! Very eye opening.

After our flea market adventures, we made one last stop at the market where we began to purchase a bag for Kelly to take all of her buys home in because there was no way she was fitting all of that in her suitcase. :) We dropped the new bag and our prizes off at the apartment, and continued out for more exploring near our apartment.

That night we went back to Notre Dame to see it all lit up. I've found that many of the beautiful sculptures, buildings, and fountains in Europe need to be viewed both during the day and at night to be fully appreciated, and the Notre Dame is definitely one of those places! While in the Notre Dame area, we did some souvenir shopping and discovered a street about 1 or two blocks off the main road that had lots of yummy food. There was food of all kind, and most of it was meant for ordering "Take Away" which was exactly what we needed. Apparently there was a big bar scene there too because the streets got louder and more and more crowded while we were there and we could barely walk through them by the time that we left!

Although Paris is called "The City of Lights", I think it should also steal the name "The City that Never Sleeps". This city was a perfect vacation spot for my sister and I who are both night owls because things stay open so late into the night. This night we decided to take advantage of that late-nightness with a 10pm metro trip up to Montmartre to visit the famous "Moulin Rouge" and to see the beautiful Sacre Coeur. As soon as we stepped off of the metro and got to ground level, we saw the lights of the Moulin Rouge.

Even if Moulin Rouge hadn't been the subject of a very ethereal movie, I think it still would have stood out as being magnificent. It was so lit up and just has a magical feel to it, even from the outside. Tickets to actually go into Moulin Rouge were ridiculously priced, so we didn't get to go inside, but it was still worth it to see the outside. If you can imagine, Moulin Rouge is in Paris' "Red Light District", so we decided to see a little more of the area by foot on our way to Sacre Coeur (all the while feeling a little irony about the route to a famous church). While it was no Amsterdam Red Light District, Paris definitely held it's own with the many sex shops and museums along the way.

After much complaining from Kelly about all of the uphill walking, getting a little lost, and climbing up MANY stairs, we finally made it to Sacre Coeur around midnight. It was still beautifully lit, and the nightlife there did not disappoint. We had read that Paris' Bohemian Life hung out in front of Sacre Coeur so we were looking forward to seeing what that was about as much as we were looking forward to seeing the church and the view! We spent a little time walking around the outside of Sacre Coeur and taking in the view of Paris from the highest point in the city, then we walked down to see what the Bohemian life was about. There were many teenagers and twenty-somethings hanging out on some not-at-all-lit steps right in front of the church. These steps had the most beautiful view of the city, which is, I'm sure, why it's such a popular late night spot. The locals were playing music, smoking, drinking, and just hanging out. We sat there for a while just people watching and enjoying the sky that appeared to be on fire because it was so lit up from the city below it. Around 1am, we decided we better get back to our apartment so we headed to the funicular to go back down to the metro (yes, Kelly was a bit upset that we didn't know about the funicular on the way up!).

Here is the beautiful night sky over Paris as seen from Sacre Coeur:

While waiting for the funicular to arrive, we noticed a trio of kids in front of us... one of who appeared to have been drinking WAY too much. He could barely stand, and his friends (1 male and 1 female) were trying to get him back down to the metro. We were afraid he was going to blow chunks in the funicular, and apparently so did the funicular operator because he wouldn't let them on. While riding the funicular down, we saw the sober-ish guy practically carrying the ultra drunk guy all of the way down the stairs. The drunk guy obviously wanted to just lay down and go to sleep right there, but his friends wanted to get home so they made him keep going. Amazingly, they made it back down the hill at about the same time that we did. We didn't want to walk too close to them (still scared of the chunks), but since we were all heading to the metro, we were walking the same route. When we were nearly to the metro, a random guy saw the soberish guy really carrying the weight of drunk guy by this point, and ran over to offer to help. Apparently, drunk guy wasn't totally passed out though because he immediately punched the samaritan in the face. Samaritan, not being drunk, immediately reacted with a returning blow to drunk guy's face and the back of his head crashed into a garage door. Blood was coming out of drunk guy's nose and this immediately sobered him up a bit. There was chaos among samaritan's friends and drunk guy's friends, but it was crazy that some bouncer sized guys who were standing not far away from the commotion did absolutely nothing. At that point, we hot footed it the rest of the way to the metro having had enough of "La Vie Bohem" for the night. :)

Enjoy the pictures of Our 2nd Day in Paris!

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