After we got our bags settled, nurse we tried to figure out the bus schedule. It was too confusing and I was getting frustrated, pfizer so we just set off on foot. After my legs started to give out (see posts about walking in the UK and Bruges for why), we regrouped over a cup of coffee in a sidewalk cafe and decided to take the metro the rest of the way to the Eiffel Tower. Luckily the metro was much easier to figure out than the bus routes.
Then we saw it, the Eiffel Tower. It’s spectacular.
It was a perfect June day, and people were laying in the grass leading up to the Tower. I’m afraid of heights, so we didn’t go up in it, but admired the architecture from below.
Next was the Arc de Triomphe. Then we got lost. I got a blister on my foot. And we got duped for about $50 at a cafe for sandwiches and fries. I’m sure this is their normal price, but seriously, really $50? We finally found our way back to the metro and rode to the Le Marais neighborhood where our friends were staying. We ended a somewhat less-than-ideal Paris afternoon laughing and drinking with old friends. Can’t get much better than that.
Day 2 in Paris: Not to repeat the walking mishap from the day before, I laid out a detailed transportation/walking strategy over breakfast. After an incredible breakfast prepared by our host Pete, we took the metro from Gard Nord to a stop near Luxembourg Gardens. The Gardens weren’t quite what I expected (not very “gardeny”), but then as were leaving, we found a shaded fountain that looked as if it were right out of a fairytale. Then on the fence along the perimeter of the Gardens, there were photographs of France from World War II that were beautiful and haunting.
We began walking north toward the Seine and stopped for a crepe filled with Nutella and banana along the way.
We walked to La Sainte Chapelle and were quite enamored with the golden gate entrance.
Nearby was Cathedral Notre Dame. The line to get in snaked around the courtyard, so we didn’t venture inside. It was fun to see people from all over the world admiring the French Gothic architecture of this old Catholic church.
Our next stop was the Louvre. Again, it was packed with tourists from everywhere imaginable. We were amazed at the mammoth size of the place. It was originally built as a palace in the late 12th century. IT IS REALLY BIG. No wonder it’s the most visited museum in the world.
We picnicked on the grounds of the Lourve — a lunch of ham and cheese on baguette, apple tart and bottle water. Next we walked over to the nearby Tuileries gardens, lucked into two chairs by the fountain and relaxed in the warm, June sun.
By this time, I was ready for a nap, but I soldiered on. We made our way back to Le Marais neighborhood by foot stopping at interesting sites along the way. Once we arrived near our friends’ apartment, we enjoyed happy hour at sidewalk cafe while we waited for them to return from a bike ride. I had the worst mojito ever in the history of the world, but at least I had this cute man at my table. 🙂
Then met up with our friends and after a rest at their place, we walked to the market to pick up meats, cheeses, bread, chocolate, etc. for a “snacky” picnic dinner. (Shout out to Alison Chino and Sarabeth Jones — read their blogs!) Along the way to our picnic spot, we were witness to a perfect sunset along the Seine.
We enjoyed our picnic and our company on the grounds of Notre Dame. It was even more beautiful at night lit up with colorful lights. Street performers entertained us. And we laughed and told stories sharing “logs of bread”, salami, prosciutto, cheeses, and of course chocolate.