Friday, October 07, 2005

Paris Revisited

The specter of the un-blogged Paris trip has been hanging over me ever since we got back, but I have to admit that we were so busy and having such a good time that I didn’t jot down a single note while we were there. Trying to reconstruct the entire trip at this point seems fruitless, but I thought I’d at least hit the highlights. [LMIL—feel free to jog my memory in the comments.]

Lovely MIL’s Travel Guru (TM), Rick Steves, advises going to the Eiffel Tower in the evening because the lines are shorter, but we got an even better treat than a short wait. As we were walking away at 8 pm, flashbulbs started going off all over the Tower. It was an amazing sight that lasted about 5 minutes. Rick Steves never mentioned *that*!

The sewers were overrated. The history of Paris’ water and wastewater systems is fascinating, but it would have been more interesting if 1) the sewers we were walking through were a lot older without so many modern contraptions, and 2) if the museum was not situated *directly above flowing sewage.* The smell was strong enough that we never got used to it during the hour or more we were down there.

We skipped the Louvre for Versailles, which words just can’t do justice to, if you’re into a palace made of mirrors and gold. One fantastic feature that we will never again pass up on at a museum or historical site was the self-guided tour via headphones. It kept D.D. from getting bored out of her skull, and it was easier to learn about the rooms we were passing through than if we had to crowd around signs with hundreds of other visitors. Versailles—2 thumbs up.

LMIL insisted we eat in a real French restaurant at least once, so we got a recommendation at the hotel and settled in for a 2-hour meal. I ordered Steak Tartar. The waitress asked if I knew what I was ordering. Oh, yes. Mmmm...raw meat. If the idea of trichonosis never scared me off raw bacon, what’s a little raw ground beef prepared by a French chef? Everything was wonderful.

All in all, we had a great time. We were able to rein in L.H.’s checklist-tourist tendencies by hopping on a tour bus that lets you get on and off as often as you want for the whole day, so we were able to see lots more places than the first time, although we didn’t get off at as many. LMIL had her off-the-beaten-path tips from ol’ Rick Steves, so we even saw a few things we hadn’t known we’d missed before. I think LMIL is already trying to figure out how to get back to Paris, maybe as a “chick trip” with her sister. You could spend months there, only visiting one place a day, and never run out of places to see.

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