I don’t even know how many days into our holiday we are anymore, but I do know that this time next week we’ll both be back at work. It’s a sad depressing thought, but we’ll think about that next week when we’re back on American soil doing the real adult life thing. For now, the Paris leg started with sleeping in. It felt soooo good. By sleeping in, I really only meant we slept in about an hour later than usual, which is the time we normally woke up in London. Still, it felt good.
We took our time getting ready before heading out for breakfast at Bertrand’s for French pastries. I got pain au chocolat and Anne got quiche lorraine. We sat on the bridge near Notre Dame that overlooked the Seine and enjoyed our breakfast. Yum is all I can say and I can’t wait to try the next pastry. I think I’m going with brioche tomorrow.
Notre Dame had a long line, but it moved fast. It’s a HUGE cathedral. It’s definitely worth checking out. The build started in 1163. It’s a Gothic cathedral. It’s one of the largest religious buildings in the world. It houses the Crown of Thorns, which was taken from Sainte-Chapelle by Louis XIV.
Sainte-Chapelle was the next stop. We obtained a 2-day Museum Pass for our stay in Paris. Sainte-Chapelle was founded by King Louis IX and built inside his palace, which is now Palais de Justice. The chapel is separated into two parts, upper and lower. The upper level was meant for the kings and close friends and family and bring together art and religion. It’s substantially composted of stained glass. There are also 12 larger-than-life stone figures nested between the windows to represent the 12 Apostles.
We then walked across Pont Neuf on the way to Saint-Germain des Pres. Pont Neuf is the oldest standing bridge across the Seine in Paris. It stands on the western tip of Ile de la cite. Saint-Germain is the OLDEST church in Paris. It was built in the sixth century. Descartes has a tomb there (nbd, just a well-known philosopher).
Coffee was in order. They came in the form of espresso shots. We stopped and and quicky-lunch snacks in the form of protein bars-ish (an Rx Bar for Anne and an Epic bar for me). And then it was Musee d’Orsay. There was no highlights tour so we had to make our own. They really just included checking out Impressionists on floors 2 & 5. I can only art so much. We did discover a great view of Sacre-Coeur. Musee d’Orsay is housed in a great railway station, Gard d’Orsay (built for the 1900 World’s Fair). It houses the LARGEST collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces in the world.
Next stop was Jardin des Tuileries and time to sit back and put our feet up. The garden was commissioned by King Henry II’s widow, Catherine de’ Medicis of Florence, Italy. She wanted a garden that reminded her of her birthplace. To this day, it contains many sculptures and fountains. It is a grand public park enjoyed by many annually.
After convincing ourselves to finally get out of the chairs we were sitting, we headed over to Place de la Concord. It’s located right between the Jardin des Tuileries and Champs Elysees. Paris was about to get real. I even peeped Le Tour Eiffel and L’Arc de Triomphe. Hey guys, we’re in Paris! Place de la Concorde is the LARGEST square in Paris and the 2nd largest in all of France. Fun fact: King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were executed by guillotine when it was called Place de la Revolution. It was renamed and means peace and harmony. Also, it is the finish line for the Tour de France.
Next stop was Palais Garnier (the Opera House). It is the most famous opera house in the world, named after it’s architect Charles Garnier. It was the influence for the original Phantom of the Opera written by Gaston Leroux and later adapted by Andrew Lloyd Weber. It is the epitome of French elegance and opulence.
After a 20+ minute walk (and a stop at Starbucks), we made it to Musee du Louvre. It is the BIGGEST museum in the world. It also houses Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, which isn’t all that big, the Venus de Milo and the Winged Victory of Samothrace. The Louvre also started out as a fortress before it was turned into a royal palace and then finally a museum. Also, there are 4 glass pyramids. Do you know where they all are?
We had one more stop before dinner, Pont des Arts. This was the bridge that had love locks cut off of it because they were compromising the bridge’s integrity (there are still a few here). However, we did find some on Passerelle Leopold-Sedar-Senghor, another bridge. It was cool to see, but I get not wanting to compromise the bridges (we used them a lot today to cross the Seine.
Yassss! It was dinner time and we were checking out Le Porte-Pot. Bring it on dinner, I’m totally ready for you. But first, happy hour, which included wine and a cheese plate with a tiny side of popcorn. The entrees included: boeuf bourguignon and steak frites. We had no room for desserts, but the foodstuff was super delicious.
Day Three, we’re ready for you!