"Where are you? I'm in Paris"
Trip Start Sep 23, 2009
12Trip End Oct 04, 2009
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From here we went straight to Notre Dame as we wanted to get there early to beat the crowds. This we succeeded in doing.
We walked right in and strolled around this magnificent place. It is insanely difficult to believe that something this massive and beautiful could be made almost 900 years ago. The inner domes are very beautiful:
After observing the inside, we paid to climb the 350 steps to get to the bell towers. It was well worth the climb, even to just see the chimeras alone. Quick history lesson. Chimeras are sculptures that depict demons, animals, etc. Gargoyles can be whatever shape but must actually spout water (hence the name which sounds like gargle) so they can act as a gutter system.
The most famous chimera is the one that literally rests and looks out over Paris with a watchful gaze:
However, this one was much cooler as he was clearly a carnivore:
We took a quick shot of us on the third level before we made the final climb up the bell towers to the bell itself:
Up the steps to the bell tower:
The largest of all the bells at 13 tons in weight. It is only rung on Catholic Feast Days (what day isn't a Catholic feast day?) and we hear that it is very very loud.
Leaving the cathedral we saw lines almost 1/4 mile long so we were very glad we went early.
After that amazing journey, we decided to head to Pont Neuf which was a spot Harmony wanted to have a picnic on. We strolled down an awesome side street on the way and had to take the shot:
We found we weren't thrilled with the Pont but were hungry so we flipped up the plans and headed north on the metro towards Sacre Couer. We were hunting for a specific Indian restaurant with an outdoor cafe style seating area. Walked over a mile to find it but was well worth it. Both of our dishes were amazing and we doubled our usual cheap budget to $40 for this one! Awesome though. We needed the heavy food for what came next.
We then headed over to the base of Sacre Couer. You know this damn thing is high on a mountain when you:
A - can see it from anywhere in Paris
B - can pay for a train to take you to the top
C - can pay for a gondola to take you to the top
Screw it, we have climbed ~11,500 steps on this trip, what's 1000 more?
Getting to the top showed us it was worth the climb:
We then decided to sit on the main steps that are very famous. Everyone knows to just hang out and enjoy the view. There is usually entertainment everywhere too. We got lucky and got a duo of guitarists that sang famous songs in English and French.
Listen, I am an engineer, I can't explain this in words. I am sitting on the steps of an ancient church, soaking in the sun on a literal perfect day, hugging my best friend and wife, drinking a beer, looking out over the entire city of Paris while listening to two guys sing Bob Marley all the while watching people all around me from every part of the globe singing the same song I was. It was just a surreal moment that brought me to tears. It was so magical. I think that is what Europe is supposed to be all about. People coming together to have a great time with each other while enjoying things like food, art, culture, etc. I could not have asked for a more perfect ending to this trip.
We tried our best to capture the moment that we know will live in our memories for a very long time:
Mike kept thinking of Patti during this time. This is what Patti would absolutely love. In fact, I would say this is one of the traits that defines her. She loves to travel, explore, and embrace new cultures. She loves music but much more so when it is being played live by passionate artists and everyone around is embracing with it and moving to its beat. This was it, this was Europe.....
So, we literally had to pull ourselves away from that moment to head towards Montmartre. On the way, we shot two more shots of Notre Dame since we were passing it again:
We also got a good chane to catch the bells ringing for you guys!
Now we finally found Moulin Rouge!
Then we headed to the other island to find an ice cream place that has had the best ice cream in the area since 1954. It was very good!
At this point, we recorded a message for you all:
We strolled for hours after that looking for souvenirs and possible gifts and came up completely empty. Everything is just far too cheesy for our taste in gift giving. Mike started talking about food shopping or something at home for Monday and Harmony said "Where are you? I'm in Paris" which basically meant STFU and let me enjoy my last night of vacation (Google STFU if you really need to).
We made it back to the hotel by 9pm for our last Paris dinner which could be nothing but the Harmony and Mike style of:
Yep, sharing a panini on our balcony.
We really hope you enjoyed our last full day in Paris. We really did. It was a very magical day mixed with the right amount of 10 mile walking with relaxing.
-Mike and Harmony
Where I stayed