Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Passing through Paris

Paris skyline from Sacre Coeur
Today I will recap another piece of my recent vacation in Europe (4 days in Paris), but first a little running update.

Monday: 1.5 hrs of flag football practice
Tuesday: 8.66 miles, easy
Wednesday: 8.74 miles, hills

Monday night it almost rained, even started drizzling, while I was playing flag football after work.  But, it never did rain, and now we are left with even more miserable humidity than usual.  The past two mornings the humidity has been well above 90% with overnight lows around 77F.  Sigh.  August is definitely the worst month in central TX, but at least the roughest part of summer is drawing to a close.

In recent posts, I mentioned my adventures in Biarritz and Bordeaux.  From Bordeaux, I took a high speed train to Paris, where I met Boyfriend and we began traveling together, while is arguably more fun!  This was his first trip to Europe, so it was even more special.  Paris is of course a great city to start in!  The last time I had been in Paris was the summer of 2006, when I interned with the French company Air Liquide.  I was excited to be back, albeit briefly.

We spent the first day on our own and then the next 3 days (and one day at the end of the trip) with a Parisian friend of mine who I met during the internship in 2006.  We stayed in the 14th arrondissement, which is on the left bank and south end of Paris.

On our first day:

We visited hilly Montmartre

And climbed up Sacre Coeur
Climbed to the third tier of this tower

It was windy up top!
And saw Notre Dame on Ile de Cite
After our first day, and checking off some of the must see's in Paris, boyfriend was very flexible about our remaining days.  Seeing as how I had done all the major museums and touristy stuff six years ago, I was inclined to pick some less common sights that I had missed doing.  Thus, the next two days we did day trips by train from Paris.  First, we went to Chateau Fountainebleu, which was inhabited by many French kings and famously by Napoleon I & III.  We chose this Chateau (over Versailles) because it is much less crowded and tickets are very reasonable.  The estate and gardens are so beautiful and well preserved, I highly recommend it!

The front of the massive Chateau Fontainebleu

Hanging out on the staircase from which Napoleon made his farewell speech before he was banished to Elba

The gilded throne room of the Chateau (the inside was so beautiful and lavish)
 The next day, we visited the medieval town of Provins.  We had a lot of rain and coldness that day, but we didn't let it stop us!  This is a walled city that hosted many of the champagne fairs during the Middle Ages.  It is now a UNESCO World Heritage site (and sister city to Pingyao!)

Caesar's tower, the oldest part of Provins, which was first built in 1137!

Smelling some of the beautiful roses, for which Provins is well known!  We bought rose honey and mustard

The old town square

The old city walls; this is main city gate and where there used to be a drawbridge 
So in addition to all the fun things we saw, we also got to spend a lot of time hanging out with my friend and his fiance, which was really awesome!  They took us to some great restaurants and strolls through Paris at night.  Unfortunately, I didn't run while I was in Paris!  I had run for over a week straight while in Biarritz and Bordeaux and needed a little break.  I did intend to run a few times, but then I ended up staying up pretty late socializing and couldn't get myself going in the mornings.  Sometimes that happens on vacations.  Fortunately, I have run many, many times while staying in Paris in 2006.

So, after several days of not running, we got back on a train and headed to Luxembourg for the next stop in our adventures.

Have you been to Paris?  Have you run in Paris?  What is your favorite section of the city?
-I love Luxembourg gardens, which are just so beautiful and great for strolling and eating a french macaroon!

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