So, as most of you know, I spent my birthday weekend in Paris with a couple friends, Lizzy, Jenny, William, Jamie, Risha, Sonal, Charmaine, and Mary. First of all, it was really fun to be able to speak in French to shopkeepers and waiters and have them actually understand me! My five years of French have turned out to be useful lol. Sonal, Charmaine, and Mary got in on Thursday and spent a day traveling around before the rest of us got there on Friday. That day we spent the late afternoon and evening on the Champs-Elysee, followed by a trip up to the top of L'Arc de Triomphe for a few of us. It was so cool to be up there late at night with all the city lights on.
On Saturday (the actual day of my birthday!), we split up into different groups. William went to the Louvre; Mary, Sonal, and Risha slept in; and Jamie, Charmaine, Jenny, Lizzy and I went to visit the grave of Oscar Wilde :) I spent the morning of my 21st birthday visiting Oscar Wilde. Be jealous ;P Oscar Wilde's grave is constantly defaced and covered in lipstick by his fans, which meant of course, that I needed to pay my respects and kiss the grave. The others either kissed or wrote on it as well. Despite the fact that it was a very cold, rainy day, it was a really awesome morning.
Afterwards, we were meeting up with William and Risha near the Eiffel Tower, and so we all gathered in a cafe for hot drinks and lunch (mulled wine with cinnamon and a croque-monsieur for me). The drinks were incredible and the food was delicious, too, of course. The original plan had been to go to the Eiffel Tower that day, but due to the combination of cold, wind, rain, and fog, we decided to go visit Notre Dame instead. I had forgotten just how incredible Notre Dame is, and I'm so glad we decided to go.
We then climbed to the top of the tower, which I had never done before. We saw the gargoyles and got incredible views of the city and the river. The bells also started chiming while we were up there, which was such a great coincidence. So basically I stood at the top of Notre Dame, looking out over the city of Paris with the bells chiming behind me, on the afternoon of my 21st birthday. Although I'm still a little sad I couldn't celebrate at Krewe de Vieux, this was pretty cool.
We then had the most delicious dinner I've had in a long time. I can't remember what all everyone else ordered, but I can give you my courses. For my appetizer, I had artichoke soup, followed by my entree of veal and glazed vegetables, followed by desert- a bourbon cream filled pastry covered in caramel sauce. We also got tons of bread, toast and a fish spread of some sort, and a bottle of white wine. It was incredible. The name of the restaurant is Le Tourbillon and it's located at 45, rue Claude Bernard.
I didn't take pictures at the bar that night, because I only brought my nice camera, and I don't take that out with me, but keep your eye on facebook for other people to post photos. We went to this bar called the Latin Corner Cafe, where all the bartenders are male and wear nothing but boxers! The drinks were fantastic and the guys were all insanely hot, which adds up to an incredible night. Again, definitely recommended.
This morning, Sunday morning, Lizzy and I went back to Notre Dame for mass while the others went to go see the Opera house. The mass was wonderful. They used huge amounts of incense and it smelled so good and really made me feel a part of the history of the Catholic Church and our mass. It's funny how incense can do that :). The mass was in French, but because the mass is the same everywhere, I could still follow along (aside from actually understanding the homily), which is another of my favorite things about the Catholic church. After that, Lizzy and I got crepes (butter + sugar and raspberry, respectively), and then made our way to the Eiffel Tower before she needed to leave for her flight back to Prague.
It was still pretty cold today and it took forever to get through the line, but you can't get a better view of Paris than from the top of the Eiffel Tower. It really is one of those things that you just need to do when you go to Paris. After that, I dropped Lizzy off at the Metro to head to the airport and then met up with everyone else to get on the train. I am now back in London and definitely not ready to go back to classes tomorrow.
So yeah, that wraps up my birthday. Up next, all the details on my trip to Prague, which was another really amazing vacation.