Sunday, May 22, 2011

What's a Monaco?

On the right is the Monaco in all its pretty pinkness.
My mom asked this very good question, because I've mentioned them a few times in my posts about Paris.  A Monaco is a drink they make with beer (over there it's typically Kronenburg 1664).  The most common recipe I found online was:

1 splash grenadine syrup
2/3 glass beer
1/3 glass 7-Up® (I think they used a lemonade/limeade there.)


Springtime in Paris- Day 3 (Part 2)...

The metro we took spit us out at the entrance to the underground bridge that takes you to the area in the middle of the insanely busy traffic circle where the Arc de Triomphe lives.
Fun overexposed shot of the Arc.
We got a shot tour bus free!
Justin knew he wanted to head to the top of it and the entrance was on our museum pass so this was a no brainer. Plus I was promised an elevator ride.  Wikipedia says a lift will take you to the attic and then from there you only have to conquer 46 steps to get to the top. See here. Well, we weren't given a choice.  We were funneled into a spiral staircase (at this time we're totally familiar with the never-ending feeling of these things from climbing them at night to get to our studio apartment) and started climbing.  I said something to the effect of "I hate you for tricking me Justin" and his reply/motto for the trip was "The greater the effort/risk, the greater the reward." And I shot him venomous looks. They did nothing to deter him. But he did apologize for for not realizing that the elevator option never really was going to be presented.  Whatever, I needed the workout after all those Monacos.
Yes, it's a long way up and down.
That's just the head of one of those sculptures on the outside of the Arc.
The Arc is dedicated to the armies of France.
Once at the top we were like little kids exclaiming over the awesome view and how spectacular it was to be able to see so many things from one place. Of course we took pictures!
Justin's panoramic picture from his iPhone. Imagine the streets as a semi-circle.
The Eiffel Tower from the Arc.
It was breezy up there.
Sacré-Cœur Basilica.


The gold dome is Les Invalides.
I thought all the trees lining this street were pretty.

The underside of the Arc de Triomphe. There are four flowers in the pattern of squares. I sat for a little bit.
Another shot of the underside.

The scale of things is incredible.
Justin found the lens cap we're always misplacing.
After enjoying the view and the breezy wind we decided that the group of tour kids that had just joined the crowd at the top were going to make things a little unbearable and it was time for a snack.  So we decided we'd commit to a short jaunt down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.  We went to a Pharmacy on the Avenue where I decided now was the time that I absolutely had to buy more bandages. So we bought some of the most expensive bandages I've ever bought in my life/the cheapest bandages in the store. 

This same store also had a macaroon stand.  So we decided to indulge in some.
The green one is mint and the brown one is chocolate. The colors of these things are so vibrant!
We wandered down a little bit and stopped to eat in the outside section of a place that was tented in blue.  And that is why I chose it. The blue.  It's my fave color and apparently I will go so far as to decide where I'm spending my money based on it.  Justin and I split a pizza and enjoyed being able to just sit for a little bit.
Where we ate under the blue tent on the Champs-Élysées.
Justin's beer and my coffee.
The menu. Cause I can't help myself.
Justin writing away.
We walked along a little bit more and stopped at a Toyota concept car showroom.  We marveled over the fact they spent all that money for a place on that road and who really walks out of there owning a new car.  But the advertising account executive in me acknowledges that it's all branding and every Joe Schmo, including me, walks out that much more impressed because obviously Toyota thinks the showcase spot is worth while and hey we stopped in even though we aren't in the market for a new car.
Vroom! Vroom!
You can almost see it smiling at you.
Next stop for us was Centre Georges Pompidou, basically the acting modern art museum in the city.  It was open late on Sunday, and we wanted to see it anyway, so a perfect storm of timing for us really.
Justin taking the following picture.
That tube is the escalator that goes all the up to the top.
We took the escalator to the top, the sixth floor, and enjoyed another awesome view of the city.
View from the top. I don't know what's in the distance. Bonus points if you can tell me. Justin identified Notre Dame with the Pantheon in the background. Winner!
We got two awesome views of the Eiffel Tower that day.
Then we walked around to see the art.  We tried really hard to appreciate a lot of stuff that we didn't understand.  But there was one piece by Dali that was particularly disturbing (about his bad childhood and poor relationship with his father and on and on) and we decided we'd seen enough and it was time to have some drinks. We found a little spot that had Monacos on the menu and took in our surroundings.
I'm writing as I enjoy my Monaco and Justin's enjoying his beer.
Of course once we were ready to go it was almost impossible to get the guy to give us our check because he was chilling outside with his friends.  Eventually we settled up though and went looking for a place to eat that we had definitely marked on our map.  The place definitely was not where we'd marked it and it was getting late and places were closing up shop, so we figured we'd try our hand at looking for a place near the apartment.

Dinner that night was at a place around the corner from us and a little lackluster for me, but it was food and I didn't go to sleep hungry.

All in all not bad for the third day in a new city.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Springtime in Paris- Day 3 (Part 1)...

Day 3 in Paris started at the luxuriously late hour of noon. That is how late we slept in to shake off the jet lag and get on with having fun that wasn't clouded over with the need for sleep and the symptomatic grumpiness that goes with it.  It was, however, actually cloudy outside.

We slept with the windows open and were probably continuously lulled to sleep throughout the morning by the sprinkling rain that continued through most of the day, but didn't ruin a bit of our fun.

The fun started with a long lunch at a cafe conveniently located across the street from the street exit of the metro.  Here we tucked into some yummy French onion soup and then we ate even more food. I of course drank a Monaco or two and Justin had beer(s).
Delicious French Onion Soup.
Justin's fishbowl of beer and my delightfully pink Monaco.
While dining another group of four Americans (a husband and wife, her mom and her best friend) were seated next to us and the husband and the wife spoke good French.  (At least to my naive ears.) I guess Justin and I were talking about something and they were eavesdropping on us as much as we were eavesdropping on them because the wife asked us if we had any questions about something related to the meal. The wife also might have seen my brightly colored-tourist book that is hard to disguise.  

This of course led to the kind of polite chitchat that Justin barely tolerates. But all in all it was a nice casual conversation.  She applauded our efforts at tipping saying it can make a difference, especially when you live in a town as small as her (they lived about 4 hours from Paris and you always go to the same place day after day).  My line of thought here is that we are never going back to these places, so there is no need to to secure good service for a return visit that is not going to happen.  Again, I would have rather come back with another purse than have tipped the equivalent all over France and Italy.  Who knew Justin was the one with the heart?!

The husband asked if we were traveling with a group or on our own.  When Justin replied on our own, this man gave us way more credit than cautious planners like us deserve.  It was seriously as if we were taking our lives into our own hands and should have considered traveling with firearms for our safety.  We thought of our friends David and Courtney and the fact that they would go to places with no prior arrangements for overnight accommodations and again refuted his admonishments of our bravery in going at this big bad world all alone. 
When you travel as a pair you take advantage of creative ways to get the both of you in one shot. Thank you mirror.
After we completed this incredibly lazy meal we packed up and braved the elements of the sprinkling rain to head over to Musée de l'Armée and Les Invalides where Napoleon's tomb is for everyone to ooh and ah over for the ages. 
Me in front of the cobblestone walkway leading to Musée de l'Armée.
Justin on the same walkway.
Classic self portrait.
It's amazing what kind of sculptures adorn the outside of their buildings.
Walkway in Musée de l'Armée.
This place wouldn't be complete without a tank.
That cannon means business.
I'm not even half its size.
The view of Les Invalides from Musée de l'Armée
The doors to Les Invalides.
Justin putting up with my demands that he pose too.
One of the tombs.
I love the blue glow in this shot.
The ceiling in Les Invalides.
The altar with people front of it for perspective.
Even this place has some stained glass.
It's a big tomb for a little man. Napoleon's resting place.
After this, and a bandage adjustment (seriously my little toes were hating me. All. The. Time.) we headed over a couple of blocks to Musée Rodin to see The Thinker in action.  
The Thinker with Les Invalides in the background.

The masterpiece up close.
The Thinker's incredibly toned rear is the up close and personal side.
I'm studying it intensely.  I think I was really hoping Justin would suggest we sit on that bench for a few minutes. That didn't happen.
Bonus points if you can name this for me.
We also saw The Gates of Hell.  I think Justin made some naturally snarky remark about it the gates leading into married life or something along those lines.
It is really amazing up close and personal.
More of Rodin's Work.
There was also this statue of Victor Hugo.  The French love them some Victor Hugo.
This man was in shape.
I think this is one of the original entrances to the courtyard surrounding the grounds.
After trying to appreciate the art without the aid of Rick Steve's we decided we were ready to see the city from a higher vantage point. The Arc de Triomphe.