The last two days have flown by here in Paris! Our second day here was Sunday and we filled it with activities all day. First we went to mass at Notre Dame cathedral. It was all in French, but I loved listening to the hymns and seeing what happens during Mass. That lasted for about an hour, and after we walked around the cathedral both inside and outside. Notre Dame is about to celebrate its 850th birthday, which blows my mind. Everything here in Europe is so much older than anything in our country! And this building is not only still standing but it functions on a daily basis. 

After mass we were quite hungry, and grabbed some food at the very touristy stands outside the cathedral. We then decided to look for Sainte Chapelle which was supposed to be very close by. I was looking forward to this the most since it had caught my attention during Arts and Ideas class last year. I have to say that it wasn't like I expected! Usually when I see cathedrals or other buildings that I learned about in class, they seem much bigger than I imagine. However, the Sainte Chapelle seemed smaller. Regardless of size, the stained glass was amazing and I think we all enjoyed taking some time to relax a little inside. Since we used our Paris Museum Passes, we didn't have to wait in the winding line and were able to jump directly to the front. It's like a fastpass at Disney but even better. 

There's one place that our pass did not allow us to jump to the front of the line, and that was to climb the towers of Notre Dame. After Sainte Chapelle, we decided to see if the line had gotten shorter for the towers since we were still very close by. It wasn't, but after discussing we decided to wait anyway. I noticed some ladies speaking English behind us, clearly from the states. We started chatting with them and found out that they were visiting Paris for a week, two sisters and a friend, for one of the sister's 60th birthdays. They were so sweet and asked us what we were doing here, and we explained that we go to school in Spain. They asked what we were taking and were very excited to find out that Rachel and I were English majors, since two of them had taken English as well. The time passed very quickly as we chatted and soon we were at the front of the line. Then a small confusion surfaced. Our new friends thought they were waiting in line for Sainte Chapelle, and we had to break it to them that the destination they were looking for was actually a few blocks away. They laughed and headed off in the right direction. 

Soon we were at the top of around 380 stairs, looking down on Paris. The view was spectacular. The view from the Eiffel Tower was higher, but I've decided that I enjoy looking AT the tower more than being on it looking off. We walked around the winding path around the top of the cathedral and eventually descended, tired and ready to find our way back to Thomas and Christina's apartment. After some difficulty with the metro system, we finally got on the right track and made it home, where our hosts were so kind as to cook us a french meal! We enjoyed potatoes with cheese and veggies with hummus, which was delicious.

Here's a few photos from our day. Enjoy! 
Yesterday was another full day. When we planned out this trip, we scheduled activities for each day, knowing that we wouldn't possibly be able to get everything done. Our top two priorities for yesterday were the Lourve and the Arc de Triomphe. We made it to both and still made it home in time to cook dinner! 

The museum passI don't even know where to start with the Lourve. It's huge. So huge that it has multiple food courts and a shopping mall (with an Apple store!) underneath. We started out in an area of Egyptian artifacts. Well, sort of. It was hard to know exactly where we were and we stopped to ask lots of people for help. We had several things we all wanted to see: the Mona Lisa, the Code of Hammurabi, the Venus de Milo, and Winged Victory. We also saw in passing some paintings that I recognized from class. 

By two we were starving and more than ready for some over priced museum food. During our search, we ran into our friends from the line at Notre Dame! They were sitting in Starbucks and waved at us, so we stopped to chat again. The ladies were spending a day shopping before heading home. We discussed the storm and they said that they hoped their flight back to Atlanta wasn't canceled. We said goodbye and wished them safe travels, and headed to the caf.

The cafeteria reminded me a bit of how IKEA has a place for it's shoppers to just stop for lunch, because they know it's just so huge that you could spend all day there. We found a novel item: Pasta Boxes. For only 7 euros, you can microwave your own personal box of pasta and enjoy it in the large, crowded, dining area. Surprisingly, it was quite tasty and we enjoyed some down time to sit and chat. After that, we broke up, letting everyone do their own thing until 4:30. Rachel and I went in search of crepes and bought some postcards, then took advantage of the free wifi from the Apple store. Soon we were all gathered and ready to go. 

Our next and last stop for the day was the Arc de Triomphe, which we reached right at dusk. Our museum pass allowed us to jump to the front and soon we were at the top. The sunset last night was very pretty and the lights of the city were just coming on. We stayed just long enough to see the lights of the Eiffel tower turn on, and then we headed down to find a grocery store for dinner. 

Since I was tiny, I remember my Uncle Jesse making what he called "farmer's breakfast," a combination of scrambled eggs, potatoes, Morning Star veggie meat, and various veggies. Since I was such a picky child, I didn't try it till I was 17. It is delicious! So last night Justin decided to make his own version of his dad's famous dish. We bought eggs, peppers, onions, and tomatoes and then wrapped our meal in tortillas and enjoyed it over the second LOTR movie. Logan and Mikey are going to be so proud. 

After two days of busy touring, we are pretty tired, but looking forward to another full day today! I'll try to post again as soon as possible. Hope everyone back in the states has a great day and stays safe in the coming storms!
Sheri Seibold
10/30/2012 05:43:45 am

How is Mona?

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Auntie Judy
10/30/2012 06:50:33 am

This was the best installment yet! I was just imagining you and your friends every step for the way. Thanks for being a faithful blogger. So fun for us who are stuck in boring land Kansas.

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arielle
10/31/2012 03:50:39 pm

Oh Shelby! Notre Dame and the Mona Lisa!? The Louvre sounds incredible!!! I'm so glad you're sharing your beautiful photos of lovely Paris with us all :)

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