Versailles was incredible, even on a rainy day, but that was just the start to our weekend. The following day we woke up a little earlier, but dressed casually and comfortably for a day of strolling and sightseeing. On our list of things to do: the Rodin Gardens to see The Thinker, Napoleon’s Tomb, the Army Museum, and souvenir shopping since stores close on Sunday. Saturday also happened to be the Red River Rivalry game, better known as OU/TX, and my diehard Sooner spirit would be put into question…Matt’s parents both went to Texas! Therefore, we planned to head to an American bar called The Moose to catch the game and enjoy some fried food and beer. But first, from the beginning…
Matt and I awoke to improved weather and the promise of game day, so we decided to throw on our college jerseys. We met Nancy and Robert at a cafe for breakfast where I finally decided to test my palate with a foie gras pâté. Now, I am the girl who will try anything; I’ve had escargot and one of my favorite foods is Braunschweiger, a type of liver sausage. However, I have never had foie gras, which is made from the liver of a duck or goose and is specially fattened, then eaten whole or turned into a pâté. It probably sounds disgusting to most of you, but it is a French specialty and I didn’t want to leave Paris without trying it. I ordered it for breakfast with toast to spread it on, and while Matt, Nancy, and Robert watched me in anticipation, I took my very first bite. Even though Matt had a disgusted look on his face, I wasn’t surprised when I decided I liked it. Actually, I ate it all!
After my food adventure, we casually meandered toward Napoleon’s tomb, or Les Invalides. On the way we passed the Rodin Garden and decided to pay the 1 euro price to wander through the flowers and trees. We skipped the museum, but that was okay, because the beauty and elegance of the garden was enough to keep us happy for quite awhile. We saw The Thinker, which is quite an impressive statue, as well as the other statues throughout the garden. One of my favorites was a statued door that represents Dante’s Inferno. What you can’t see by the naked eye at the top of the door is enhanced through binoculars on the ground – skeletons, ghostly figures, and intricate detail. Very cool. Matt and I very much enjoyed the weather, slowly walking through the paths, and looking at the different flowers and smaller statues.
Our next destination was Napoleon’s tomb. This quiet and reverent room houses not just King Napoleon’s tomb, but also the tombs of other great Frenchman. When you enter the round room, the center looks down onto the tomb, while the others sit in little rooms adjacent. There is a large altar with a crucifix, gold and marble pillars, and angels at the back of the room. This silent sanctuary was very impressive. Behind the tomb is an army museum that we thought the guys would like very much, so we checked out the World War I & II section. The images of war from the French perspective was very interesting. There was no mention of Pearl Harbor, and the United States’ involvement was only a small part of the display. The artifacts they housed were authentic and amazing, and I could tell this was a favorite for Matt. He led me through the museum, knowledgeably explaining just about every aspect of the artifacts and the war, and telling me stories of his grandfather, who had his own war experiences in Europe. It was a very humbling, historic, and awe-inspiring afternoon.
Later that evening, we set out to enjoy a little “America” in Paris. The Moose is an all-American bar, with American sports on the television, fried food, and even American music. Robert and Nancy were in their burnt orange, while I continued to sport my crimson and cream! We ordered beers and munched on wings, onion rings, jalapeno poppers, and a bowl of cheese fries covered in gravy. The game was on every tv and even though there weren’t many other OU/TX fans in the bar, for a minute I complete forgot I was in Paris! It was such a fun evening, made even better by the fact that the Sooners were victorious! 😉
So, with just one more day left in Paris, we crashed and slept hard in anticipation for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe horse races the next day. My boyfriend, the horse-racing enthusiast, planned this Paris trip around these races, so it was finally time to cross off a must-see on Matt’s bucket list.