Sunday, August 29, 2010


We left Paris in the afternoon and arrived in Amiens that evening. Basically we had 15 minutes to locate the cathedral and get inside before it closed. A seemingly impossible task, but we went for it, and miraculously, we made it! We only had a few minutes to see the interior, but it was well worth the sprint to get there--it is quite the sight, that is for dang sure. The Notre Dame Cathedral here in Amiens is the tallest cathedral in France.

The vaults of the nave itself is 42.30 m high, the tallest nave vaults of any French cathedral--my neck was killing me even in the five minutes we were there, it was so far up there!

This is possibly the coolest sculpture, because notice who is holding the baby Jesus:
Yeah, it's not His mother Mary, as you would expect--it's Joseph. Interesting, right? I've never seen such a depiction, pretty cool.
The Weeping Angel
Okay, remember what it looked like during the day?

Well, during some deep cleaning back in the 90's, they discovered that the facade was orginially painted, and quite colorfully too. After serious scientific efforts they were able to discover the exact make up of this paint job from the 13th century, so when night falls upon the city, the cathedral is illuminated in by far the most spectacular light show in the world--Lights, music, eerie cool breeze, the works.

Can you imagine coming to church in a building like this??? AMAZING!

So beautiful! I cried like a baby--it was breath-taking, inspiring, and just the most beautiful thing I have ever seen--simply stunning! There were so many wonderful things I have experienced the past few months abroad, but I daresay that this is definitely one of the best.

Sprint through the Gardens

Before I completely leave Paris, I should mention the gardens at Versailles--don't know how I could have missed that!--the palace was okay, but the gardens were definitely the best part. To be perfectly honest I much prefer English gardens--not nearly so stiff--but for the French these certainly were beautiful. The gardens themselves are expansive, covering a good 800 hectares of land (which is a lot by the way). According to Wikipedia, here are the stats:

Size:800 ha.
Number of trees:200,000
Flowers planted annually:210,000
Number of fountains:50
Number of jets of water:620
Surface area of the Grand Canal:23 ha.
Perimeter of the Grand Canal:5.57 km
Amount of piping to feed the fountains:35 km.
Amount of water consumed by the fountains
during the ‘‘Grandes Eaux’’:
Pretty crazy, right?? Now imagine trying to experience something of that size and magnitude with less than 30 minutes--yeah, that's what we tried to do. What were we thinking? Well, HOW MANY TIMES ARE YOU IN PARIS??? That's what I was thinking anyway. That and I was thinking I should have worn tennis shoes instead of a skirt, but you live and learn. So, here are some pictures from our sprint through the gardens of Versailles:

Bassin de Latone

Abduction of Persephone: Francois Girardon

Bassin d'Apollon

Okay, see what I'm talking about when I say stiff and manicured? There's a blasted stencil for the bush for crying out loud!
It is beautiful though.

Heading back to the bus after a sprint through the gardens of Versailles--quite the workout, notice the hair now up and the happy exhaustion in our faces. ;)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

L'Hôtel national des Invalides and AMORINO love

"Les Invalides," or the National Residence of the Invalids, is a building complex filled with museums, monuments, and all sorts of cool stuff dealing with the military history of France; it also contains a hospital and retirement home for war veterans, hence the "hotel."

Inside we discovered the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte, that of which further proved to me just how much this guy had issues. You can't tell too much in this picture, but the thing is enormous. Napoleon's body is entombed in five different tombs, buried beneath this giant thing.
The tomb of Ferdinand Foch is also found here. Foch was teh Marshal of France and Allied Supreme Commander of the Great War.
Église du Dôme Chapel.
Pretty cool place actually, and especially cool that we were able to get in after so many failed attempts at other sites! Awesome. Afterwards we had just enough time to visit the Latin Quarter once more to say goodbye to the amazing crepe man.

And the best part of the entire day, I might even dare say the best part of the entire trip to Paris, was our accident stumbling upon Amorino Gelato. It is quite literally a piece of heaven.
You pick a size and then fill it with as many flavors as you would like (so of course I got the biggest one and got one of every chocolatey-cookie type flavor they had).

and if you are really special, they shape your gelato into a rose.
AMAZING. What a way to end my last moments in Paris.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Just My Luck

Bastille Day was a hit--trying to get into cool things like Sainte-Chapelle and not actually getting in--so the next day we decided to try our luck once more. Nope, didn't get in, the power was still out. So, how about the Opera House? or the Pantheon? Sure why not--apparently the power in this city is not quite up to par like I would have hoped. Everything was closed! Closed for "electrical problems" sheesh. Oh well, the outside was cool, and look at how beautifully clear the sky was!