Arriving by train just after lunch we managed to navigate our way through the underground
labyrinth to our first metro stop. After boarding, I felt the excitement rise. I’m here, I’m actually in Paris! After such disappointment of not getting here on the weekend, I was thrilled. With butterflies in my stomach, I studied the metro map on the wall - like all good metro travelers. Dreaming of what I was going to see, I could almost hear Parisian music playing in my head. After a few moments, I realized that this music was a little loud for in my head, and this was a tune I’d never heard before. Looking away from the map, I saw 2 men: one playing the violin and one playing the accordion on our metro car. Bienvenue au Paris!
First stop: Musee du Louvre. This is so much more than an art gallery. The building itself is a piece of art. Former palaces, we even walked through Napoleonic apartments which are truly impressive. Much of the rest of the building displays don’t feel like a museum. Wide airy walkways where the art displays actually compliment the room around them. Most of
the wings are very casual to walk through with very little crowds. I knew that we were getting close to the Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa as the numbers of people grew and grew. For some reason these are the 2 that everyone flocks to and I’m not sure why. I don’t feel that I ‘saw’ the Mona Lisa - I was in the same room as it - but I didn’t really ‘see’ it. But Brian was on an ironwork mission as usual and wanted to find the Escalier Mollien. One of his very first blacksmithing jobs which he helped with was a replica inspired by this piece, so he very much wanted to see the real thing. Wandering around and around the maze of wings and floors in the 16km of floor space in the museum we were about to give up and get out the next ‘sortie’. Rounding that last corner…there is was! All happy we were off to find some accommodations for the evening.
A little more than we were hoping to spend, we found a little room on our first try - not bad for making no prior arrangements (seems that England was the only place we had difficulties LOL). The best part was that it was barely a block from the Tour Eiffel.
After settling in with some vin rouge and fromage le peu, we were ready to do some more exploring. A nice stroll around the Tour Eiffel, and I fell in love again with the tower! I’m not sure what it is, but I love this structure. I’ve never really been attracted to a manmade structure - always favoring nature, but there’s something about this that I can’t describe. As dusk began to fall and the lights started to glow, I decided that before I completely filled my memory card we’d better find something else to do!
We wandered along the Siene River looking for a boat ride for the evening. These go up and down the river where there are many prominent buildings and bridges. Waiting for the boat
to start I stared at my love (the tower) when suddenly it transformed into thousands of sparkling lights. I thought it was beautiful before! But then we were on our way and I was able to focus on my other love (of course, Brian). What better way to see the most romantic city in the world than by boat at night? All buildings list up on display, watching Parisians sitting in couples along the banks drinking wine, gliding under beautiful bridges, all while sipping my own champagne and holding hands with my real first love.
Vin, fromage, et amour. What else could you ask for?Jour Deux:
The start of jour deux took us down the Rue Cler. This is a tiny old Parisian street where everything you need can be found in separate little specialty shops rather than a superstore. Fromagerie, newsstand, brassier, poisson, boulangier, buchar, fleur, saussis, fruits, café, patissarie, chocolate, all aligning a street with circular designed cobbles and buildings towering up either side with each floor sporting different ironwork. We had our café in a little shop with tiny round tables looking out onto the street, and were then off to the famous cathedral.
Notre Dame is an exceptional example of hideousness. As amazing as the structure is, it
is a mess of different architectural styles all mixed together and topped with an out of place spire. This was added in the 18th century when spires were all the rage in church fashion. One of it’s most interesting characteristics is the many gargoyles oozing with character. I just don’t know about them though…something seems wrong about adorning a church of God in little demon-like creatures. Maybe it’s just me, I don’t know. Either way, I all can think of when viewing this building is Disney’s Quazimoto sliding down the flying buttresses :)
Inside is much more harmonious than the outside with large stone vaulted ceilings wearing the marks of years of candles, beautiful stained glass windows telling biblical stories, and lots of imposing ironwork.
Afterwards, we took a stole over one of Paris’ many, many bridges to the Ile St. Louis. Bought some crepes in a little hold in the wall and they were great! It was fascinating to watch the woman make these bundles. A squeeze of one batter for the sweet, or a squeeze on another for the savory. Spread inconceivably thin, the entire establishment’s food is cooked on one grill. Delicious as we strolled along.
Later, we made our way to the Arc du Triomphe - Napoleon’s commemoration of his victory
at Aucherwitz. Lying at the center of the largest traffic circle I’ve ever seen! Twelve different boulevards converge at this one point. I even counted 13 lanes across at one point. And counting was easy as most of the traffic is ground to a halt. This circle, as no others do, gives right of way to incoming traffic. Great fun to watch people trying to navigate their way out of the stop-and-go mess. Even watched a cyclist with a death wish driving around this circle.
Then it was a walk down the Champ-Elysees. That was the place to bee in it’s day. Extra
wide street and sidewalks lines with trees, you know you’re someplace important. Add to that Louis Vuitton on the right, Cartier on your left, along with Peugeot and Mercedes showing off their latest sports-lines. On this hot day, stylish Parisian ladies wearing too big sunglasses, were strolling along in their little summer dresses giving kisses on each cheek when they met one another. Café’s serving large glasses of wine at tiny little round tables while customers smoke packs and packs of cigarettes. Hard to believe that this is actually life here. I felt like I was in a movie. Perhaps and old black and white movie that’s a little grainy and out of focus…
Paris c’est magnifique! I am completely in love with the city of romance!