Monday, January 24, 2011

Paris: Day 2

Day 1 in Paris was a really long day. Yes, we had fun, but between making our way from the Eurostar to our hotel with our bags via Metro and foot, trying to get around without speaking the language and getting used to the Paris Metro (which is much less direct and more smelly than the London Tube), by the end of the day I was exhausted and a little "homesick" for London. I wasn't sure if Paris and I were going to get on that well. But some cities just require a little acquaintance. Before long, I found myself falling in love with Paris, one of the world's most beautiful and enchanting cities.
Got "Joie de vivre"?

It was a beautiful day: clear, but cold.  We decided to get a hop-on, hop-off bus tour and use it for our transportation to avoid the stinky Metro. We hopped off near Notre Dame and went to church -- our church: Eglise de Jesus-Christ des Saints des Derniers Jours-- at 12 Rue St. Merri. You pressed a button that opened a door, let you into a courtyard and then there was the church: rooms in a regular building. They had one side that was translated into English and one side in French.

Off to church in Paris at "L'Eglise de Jesus Christ," 12 Rue St. Merri
The door in the wall to get to the church.

The church building, inside the courtyard off of the Rue St. Merri
After church we went back to the Ile de la Cite (near Notre Dame) and got some French Onion Soup for lunch. I also realized that I was going to freeze my tootsies if I did not have something besides my jacket to wear-- especially considering that I was wearing a skirt. So I broke down, Sunday and all, and bought a hat, scarf and gloves. I was considerably warmer for the rest of the day. After lunch we headed to the Sainte Chappelle. It was beautiful, but part of it was blocked off for restoration. Still, it was pretty awesome. Absolutely incredible stained glass --with both the building and stained glass dating from the 1200's. 

Stained glass at the Sainte Chappelle

The Sainte Chappelle
We strolled by a market and the Palais de Justice while wondering the Ile de la Cite. The Conciergerie (the site of Marie Antoinette's imprisonment) was closed so we just saw it from the outside.
Palais de Justice
Notre Dame Cathedral
We took a quick stop in the Paris Archaeological Crypt and then went to Notre Dame. Notre Dame was INCREDIBLE. I had heard tons about it in History of Civ and so forth, but still it did not disappoint. It was incredible by any standard and that fact that it was built around 1200 was absolutely unbelievable (my pictures taken with no flash really don't begin to capture it).
Notre Dame
The interior of Notre Dame
Ranell after the organ recital

More Notre Dame

So hard to capture!

Ranell with Notre Dame in the background.
We walked around on the Left Bank for a little while and got a crepe. Then we went back to catch the Sunday afternoon organ recital at Notre Dame. Amazing building, amazing organ. Then we crossed the bridge to the Ile Saint-Louis. It was the cutest microcosm of Paris-- a little island of cute shops in the middle of the Seine. They had the cutest candy shop I have ever seen. Beautiful brightly colored boxes, candies, cookies, etc. They had 10 different flavors of handmade caramels including marzipan, hazelnuts and chocolate.
Notre Dame from the Left Bank

Wandering the streets on the Left Bank
A typical Parisian balcony.
On the Ile Saint-Louis
On the beautiful Ile St. Louis
Heading back over the bridge to the Ile de la Cite

In front of the "back" of Notre Dame.

After our walk we went back to the bus stop and got back on for the rest of the bus tour. The bus took us down the Left Bank by the Seine and then crossed to the Place de la Concorde (site of la Guillotine). We got out by the Madeleine Church and went back to our hotel to get warmer clothes on. I put my pajama pants on under my jeans, borrowed a pair of Ranell├Ęs tennis shoes (yes, my feet were tired enough that I stopped caring about looking like a European) and bundled up with coat, hat and scarf to go see the Eiffel Tower.
Place de la Concorde: the site of the Guillotine during the Reign of Terror

The Seine at Sunset
We walked back to our Hop-On Bus Tour and went by the Arc d'Triomphe on our way to the Eiffel Tower. Coming out on the Eiffel Tower viewing deck at night with all the city lights and the Seine below was just plain heart-stoppingly beautiful. All I could think was "Where is Dave when I need him?" The Ile Saint-Louis was definitely designed for strolling hand-in-hand with someone special, but the Eiffel Tower at night called for some serious kissing and Ranell was not the travel companion for that. (Sorry, Ranell. Love ya-- just not that way.) :) So we contented ourselves with taking lots and lots of bad pictures that were blurry from no flash --or pictures with a flash that looked like we were just standing in front of a fence in the dark.
In front of a fence in the dark-- er, uh, on the Eiffel Tower lower viewing deck
View from the Eiffel Tower at night. You really can't capture it.
We saw the lower deck first and then got *dinner* and hot chocolate from the snack bar. Then we went up to the windy, but beautiful, upper deck. We completed our trip by riding a city bus back to our hotel (to avoid the stinky Metro). It was actually quite a lovely way to get home.
The Seine at night from the Eiffel Tower


Greek Goddess said...

Ahhh, so much fun. I'm just so happy you got to do this.

Lynnette said...

I've never had the desire to visit Paris, but I think you've just changed my mind. Keep the pictures and travel log coming...

brittanimae said...

Gorgeous. I'm so jealous! Your pictures are amazing!