Natali and I have been home from Europe for over a year now, yet we still have not blogged about the last few days of our trip. Natali is super busy lawyering (I'm sure that's a word!) and I have been on Blog strike (I learned it from the French). I guess it is time to wrap up the Europe Trip posts so that we can talk about our regular, boring, monotonous, daily lives in the big D. So, try to imagine what you were doing September 25, 2013 and imagine you are reading this as the younger version of yourself that you were over a year ago.
We flew into Paris on Wednesday. Natali's face lit up just being back in Paris. She fell in love with the city years ago and she still loves it. She practically glows the whole time she is there.
We get around by using the Metro. Some of the Metro signs are kind of creepy with creepy writing and scary light inviting you to walk down into a dark hole under the city. Yet, we do it anyway.
We stayed in the city that night so we could enjoy a night in the city. The first reason was so that we could go and see the Rodin sculpture Museum at night which we heard was better than during the day. Below are a few pictures from the museum.
The most famous sculpture here is "The Thinker." The sculpture is pretty massive and really inspired me to think more (although this inspiration has since dwindled so most things I do without thinking still).
Another reason we wanted to stay in Paris was to eat Raclette and potatoes once more before we headed home. Natali's whole day seems to brighten when she has a good meal and this was great.
But the main reason we stayed in Paris at night was so Natali could enjoy her most favorite thing, the Eiffel Tower at night. She couldn't even narrow down the pictures down to less than 4 so I will just keep all 4 of them.
One thing Natali has always wanted to go and see is Palais Garnier, or the Paris Opera House for us normal people. This opera house was the setting of the famous novel and play "The Phantom of the Opera." The inside is amazing. Natali was dying over all the details and kept asking "Can we have this in our house someday?" We took a bunch of pictures so I will just let you enjoy the pictures without much explanation. It is definitely something worth seeing if you ever visit.
Natali loved this staircase. The details everywhere were incredible.
We had some extra time so we returned to one of Natali's favorite places, the Sacré Cœur. It has a great view of the city and lots of entertaining things around it. There are always performers entertaining the crowd sitting on the big steps in front of the church. Well the performer "du jour" was this guy doing amazing things with a soccer ball. He could balance it on any part of his body, spin it around his shoulders and head, and bounce it without dropping it the whole time we were watching. One of the most amazing feats he did was climb a light pole while balancing the ball on his head. He then began kicking the ball while balancing on the top of the pole. It was very impressive and earned a good tip from us. Here are a few shots of him.
Notice the soccer ball is still trapped in his left foot.
And here is the Sacré Cœur.
We love going here because there are always painters and other entertaining things to see. We love looking at the art, especially while they are painting.
In all of our time in France, we have never made it to Mont Saint-Michel. We actually drove past it once and could see it from the car, but didn't have time to go and visit it. So the Lemarchands were nice enough to let us borrow their car for a day and go and see it in our limited time before we had to leave on Monday. On the way we passed through Liseux and Natali snapped this picture of these very French buildings that she loves.
In Caen, we also found this cool Abbey called Abbaye aux Hommes (the Men's Abbey). It wasn't open and we didn't have much time so we just snapped a picture before getting back on the road.
We finally arrived at Mont Saint-Michel. It is an island that is a kilometer (0.6 miles) off the coast of Normandy. Because it is so close to the shore, the island is accessible during low tides, but becomes surrounded by water during high tide. This made attacking the stronghold very difficult which is why it remained unconquered during the 100 Years' War.
The streets inside Mont Saint-Michel were very narrow but lined with all sorts of colorful signs and plaques. I am sure most of this was done for the tourist attraction it has become and it probably wasn't so colorful and cute when its main use was as a prison.
Although I look grumpy, I was really having a good time. Natali just told me my poses were becoming predictable so I decided to shake it up a little bit.
Our very last day in France we spent with the Lemarchand Family. We really cannot express how great this family is. They let us stay with them whenever we are they, they feed us, they take us to so many amazing places, but most importantly they are just great people and they have become family to us. Thomas and Christine opened up their home to Natali many years ago and it changed our lives. Their kids are very entertaining and there is never a dull moment around the Lemarchand house.
They decided to take us to the Monet Gardens in Giverny. This is the house the famous painter Claude Monet lived in for many years and eventually died and was buried there. The gardens he created around the house are amazing.