I don't know how, but Friday ended up being mostly shopping. We got up a little late and headed past the Pompidou center to Les Halles, the old market area. It's now a huge underground and street level shopping complex. We bought a few clothes at a cheaper store. Everything is on sale now. Really everything. We went inside the nearby St. Eustace church. It was really tall and had an amazing looking organ that some woman appeared to be having lessons on. Afterwards, we went around to corner to E. Dehellerin, a big old-fashioned cooking goods store where I got a lovely fat rolling pin (baton de patisserie sounds so much better), and wooden spatula, and a couple of rubber bowl scrapers. While we were in the area, we stopped at a cookbook bookstore.
We walked through some of the arcaded shopping passages that used to be much more widespread in the city. It was vary charming. Next: Galleries Lafayette. (we had a ham/cheese crepe to keep our energy up). The shoe level was pretty entertaining, with lots of designers that Amanda educated me on. And of course the food halls were pretty fantastic too. We picked up some chocolate waffels to take home and some serrano ham and grissini for that night.
We were feeling a little tuckered, so picnicked on the opera steps on our favorite Eric Kayser baguette and tune. Refreshed, we hopped the metro to the Arc de Triomphe (it's bigger than you think) and strolled down the Champs Elysee. We even stopped at Saphora for a massive whiff of perfume.
At 4:30, we met some friends at a metro stop at the east end of the city near Maelle's apartment. We made dinner together and Claire made her chocolate pear tarte. Henni also brought German wine to share. It was really fun to spend a last evening together chatting and reminiscing. I don't really know when I'll see any of them again.
As the evening grew late, we got back on the metro for the long ride across town and went up the Eiffel Tower. Paris at night is not quite as breathtaking as in the day, but it's very peaceful looking and fun to pick out the important monuments from afar. The tower itself was all lit up and occasionally glittered like a swarovski store from thousands of bright light fixtures.
We finally got back to the hotel around 1AM and packed up a bit before flopping down for our last night in Europe.
In the morning, we got up and went to the nearby Enfants Rouge market to pick up some last minute things and spend our last euros. We got mom and dad a chocolate and almond croissant respectively and a nutella crepe for ourselves. The guys at the crepe booth were funny old men and gave us crap for ordering nutella at our age. Armed with our last 4 euros, we got an assortment of Moroccan pastries too. We like sweet things it you didn't notice.
We took the metro/RER to the airport, entertained by some awesome accordionists on the train. The airport went smoothly and we found at the gate that we had been upgraded to first class and even sat next to each other (thanks mom for checking us in early!). The Delta first class seats are very classy. There are about 6 different adjustable things on your seat and you couldn't touch your toes to the seat in front if you tried. So they wined and dined us home, including a warm chocolate chip cookie halfway through.
Dad met us at the airport and we rushed home to unpack a bit before Amanda's EP tournament soccer game at 6PM. Funny how you can wake up in Paris and play a soccer game in Minnesota in the evening.
It's nice to be home, and feels like nothing has changed. I'm a little restless to get out to Colorado, but it will be great to catch up with friends and family here for a bit first.
Thanks Europe for a swell time.