The Amazing Adventures of Laura's Summer in France travel blog

Heavy Artillery of Napolean at Les Invalides

Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart)

Tired in Montmartre

Arc de Triomphe

Chateau in Blois with Katie, Johan and Claudette

Famous double staircase Leonardo da Vinci designed

Okay, more about Paris!

Monday, D'Anna and Annah left in the morning after breakfast to voyage out on their own back to Pontlevoy. Sarah and I really worried about them because they have a tendancy to get lost and have really bad luck. (They wandered around for an hour in between the Champs and our hotel--three blocks). But this morning was very exciting because we had to find a way to sneak out of the hotel without the guy realizing that four people had stayed in (and paid for) the three person room, while also leaving our baggage for later that day. I felt bad about this deception because the little guy at the desk was nice. (Entering the hotel the night before had been an adventure, too, after our midnight Eiffel Tower outing and search for Manzana, but we pulled it off!) So Annah wandered out by herself, and then the other three of us came down to check out. It worked so well, I didn't even feel the rush of danger. So we celebrated with Almond Croissants (my new favorite French thing).

Anyway, then the other two left and Sarah and I went to Montmartre to see the Sacre Coeur and where the bohemians used to live. This was not the most fun Parisien experience. The metro was a pain to use, and I had to ride in yet another crowded elevator to get to the surface (it's on a giant hill) and once there, we had to climb up a giant staircase (atleast 250 steps) to get to the church. This was all while being bothered by people wanting to sell us things or demonstrate something or other or paint our picture. However, the Sacre Coeur really was an amazing was built in this Byzantine style during the 1870s and had gorgeous mosaics on the ceilings and walls. The rest was sad because there were no more bohemians, only tired tourists, cliche artists and street people. Oh well.

After that, we went to Rue Cler, a street famous for it's pastry shops. We bought lunch from this bakery and I met my first rude Parisien. This lady was unbelievable. All I wanted to do was buy things from her, and she seemed determined to be as difficult as possible. So then we took our hard-earned food and ate in this park (but parks in Paris are trash-laden unlike in London, so it wasn't quite the same). Then, we visited Les Invalides, a military hospital founded by Napolean that now has his tomb. It had really neat architecture as well. As you can see, my third day there was not quite as great as the first two (except for that one redeeming almond croissant). Plus, the sun was just vacuuming our energy right out. But we really wanted to go see the Deportation Memorial, dedicated to the 200,000 French people put in Nazi concentration camps. It was really somber and evoked the spirit of "forgive but never forget" well. After going down narrow stairs, you enter this narrow passage way and feel completely cut off from the world. Then you see the tomb of an unknown solider and 200,000 crystal lights going down a black hallway. Surrounding this are quotes from famous french authors regarding the war. So, that was really interesting.

After that, Sarah and I took the train back and somehow ended up on the same one as two of our friends from the Abbey! Then, for some reason the train didn't stop at our stop, so we had to get off at the next one, and it was lucky they were there.

Oh yeah, I had a realization. I think there is a correlation between the invention of air-conditioning and girls starting to wear pants instead of skirts. Really. Think about it. We are smart!

Tuesday was my last day off so I took the bus to Blois with three other interns and finally saw my FIRST CHATEAU! Yay! People come from all over the world to spend two days in the Loire and see chateaux, and here I had been here a month and not seen one. It was absolutely gorgeous and the palace was interesting because three different sets of monarchs had made changes to it.

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