May 27, 2016

Some Photos from that Time I Went to France

It's been about four years since I went to France avec mon amie Cat. Unlike my New York post, where it'd only been about four months, I unfortunately cannot narrate or begin to describe each and everything we saw, ate, or participated in.

After attending a five week French immersion program in Nova Scotia with Cat the summer before, she seemed like the perfect candidate for my travelling partner. Plus, people in Texarkana don't get out much - they always say things like, "oh I'm so jealous, if only I could go somewhere like that" and actually believe they can't. You're all perfectly capable of international travel. You do, however, have to make it a priority and intentionally save just for it, hunting down the best deals when the time comes. I firmly believe anyone can travel if they want; not necessarily all the time or anytime they want, but they can do it. One chooses whether or not they will.
I ended up lugging that camera around, broken & useless. These are all phone photos. 
What started off as a big backpacking trip around France, however, wound up a little short when
my friend had to leave halfway through when her money was stolen by some teenagers (she also hadn't really brought enough for the trip to begin with, which didn't help). I tried to finish it out alone but ultimately felt unsafe and ended up leaving about a week later. Travelling alone isn't for everyone - even if I hadn't been nervous about safety, it was lonely not sharing the experience with someone, which is my own preference. Some ladies slay at solo travel, but I'll stick to weekend campouts in the forests of Arkansas.
My cousin's balcony in the 16th arrondissement.
Still, I was able to experience plenty of Paris, the Normandy region, Lille, Strasbourg, and Lyon.

So without further ado, enjoy some photos...
One of the first famous things we stumbled into was the Arc de Triomphe, the enormous, beautifully detailed monument at the heart of Place Charles de Gaulle and home of the Unknown Soldier. 

Cat had lost her tongue ring and didn't want it to grow in... but her French was failing her.
The Chateau de Vincennes is a 14th & 17th century fortress in East Paris, and also the only place in Paris I ran into a language barrier as my French wasn't clear enough for the tour salesperson and she didn't speak English. I found it ironic that this occurred in a place guaranteed for tourists. 

During Coke's Open Happiness campaign XD
We obviously had to try all 16 flavors of macarons but found only some of them pleasing. I know it might be blasphemy but some just reminded me of Fruit Loops cereal. Sorry, I said it. 

Cat hated the flavor of the wormwood so much she ended up mixing the absinthe with fruit punch.

Getting sunburned and grinning the stupid kind of grin you grin when your vacationing in France for the summer. 

I remember we were just on our way to find a place for breakfast when we passed by this magnificent place - happened all the time. 

I was so devastated to hear the padlocks of love were removed from this bridge this time last year. 
I have a collection of photos of the weird things I noticed in the giant paintings of the Louvre. Beware to new travelers, the Louvre (along with most top tourist destinations) is one of the worst spot for tourist scams - it was actually right before this that Cat had her money stolen. 

We actually never went up in the Eiffel Tower - would rather spend our time exploring less populated options. 

Joan of Arc in the Notre Dame Cathedral!
And then we went to one of my favorite spots of the trip... the catacombs. 

Naturally, Cat had to try escargot (I had one as well) and this was her content face during/after, all the while my cousin was disgusted just from watching. They were yummy and salty!

We also ate a lot of cheese, and the wine was cheaper than soda so...
We obviously took a trip out to Giverny to see Monet's home, paintings, and lily pond. It was one of my favorite little towns. 

The following is just what a park in Paris looks like...

And, of course, Palais Garnier... home to the setting of the Phantom of the Opera. 

With an amazing library!

The remaining photos are after leaving Paris!

Old Lille, where we ate Belgium Waffles at Honey & Pie!
A Van Gogh Bowling Alley!
This was a section of a "little" weekday market in Lille... I can't imagine!

Our lovely Couchsurfing hostesses can be found in the blue on the left and peaking out the middle of the right. 
They showed us the best time!

Just practicing on the train ride to Strasbourg. 

And enjoying some mirabelle nonnettes from our hostesses.

When our couchsurfing host didn't show up we had to wait overnight to catch a train...

Making lemons out of lemonade, when Cat left early, I tagged along to D-Day celebrations in Normandy and stayed in a castle!

Pont Du Hoc

A little overnighter to Germany...

Belle the white boxer was the best pal during our stay. 

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