PJ and I got home from London and Paris early Friday morning. We had a great time during our trip, and I have lots to blog about. I’ll start with some general impressions and will write individual posts about my favorite parts of our trip over the next week or so.

We left on July 3rd and arrived in Paris on the 4th. I’m extremely proud of the fact that we were able to find and take the train into Gare du Nord and then take the Metro to our hotel. This seemed like quite an accomplishment for our first time in France (and considering the fact that we don’t really speak French!).

Our hotel was on the edge (actually just over the edge) of the Marais, a neighborhood that has a large gay population. Our hotel was fine, nothing fancy or especially nice but relatively cheap. We arrived around noon. After checking in, we showered and then went in search of lunch. We walked to the Place de la Bastille, where we ate in a cafe. We then went for a walk along the Seine. By the time we made it over to Notre Dame, it started to pour with rain. We hadn’t brought our umbrellas with us on our walk, so we both got soaked.

After ducking under some trees and large bushes, we made our way over to the Memorial de la Deportation, a monument to the French victims of German concentration camps during World War II. We had first learned about the memorial by watching the movie A Love to Hide, which ends at the memorial. Because of the rain, we didn’t stand in line to go into the memorial — they only allow a small number of people in at a time. Even so, just being there after seeing the movie was very moving.

We were supposed to be back at the hotel by 4 pm to meet our friend James. As we walked back through the Marais, it started to rain again, so we decided to visit the Musee National Picasso (just to stay dry, of course). If you’re into Picasso, it’s a great museum.

We eventually met up with James. The three of us then spent the next three days walking around Paris and seeing the sights, including the Louvre, the Musee d’Orsay, the Musee d’Orangerie, the Centre Pompidou, the Eiffel Tower, and Sacre Coeur. I’ll blog about my impressions of all (or some) of those later.

On the 8th, we took the train from Paris to London. Once there, James left to visit his family in Oxford. PJ and I checked in to our hotel and then went sight seeing. We started with the Victoria and Albert. It was on my list of two museums that I wanted to see this time, my fourth visit to London, which is definitely my favorite city in the world so far.

We made it back to the hotel in time to see the last set of the men’s final at Wimbledon. I was thrilled that it went to five sets, but I was disappointed that Nadal wasn’t able to pull out the win. I love Federer (and his beautiful hair) but I think it’s time Nadal started winning a few more grand slams. It’s getting boring with Federer winning everything so easily.

I spent parts of Monday and Tuesday at my conference. I’ll blog more about that later too. In sum, my paper went well enough and I learned a lot. Over those two days I also got a chance to visit the Tate Britain, a museum devoted to British art since 1500, the Tate Modern, devoted to modern British art, St. Paul’s Church in Covent Garden, also known as the actor’s church, and the Monument to the Great Fire of London (1666). We also saw three plays, The Drowsy Chaperone, Mary Poppins, and In Celebration. Again, I’ll blog about most of these at greater length later.

So, on the whole it was a very successful trip. I can’t wait until the next one!