My favorite city in the world. We’d been there once before, nine years ago. This time we rented a tiny apartment in the Marais. On our first walk out, we found ourselves at the Pompidou Center, just a few blocks away.
That evening, we went for a walk and saw these dancers at the Hotel de Ville. Tango?
We crossed the Seine, and found ourselves at Notre Dame.
I love Paris. It’s ancient and modern at the same time. And I have a weakness for cathedrals, palaces, and iconic monuments like Les Invalides and the Arc de Triomphe. Why don’t we have more monuments here? (Um, because Napoleon’s not around to build monuments to his own glory?) My favorite:
Especially at night.
Or any time.
We took a side trip to Reims to visit Champagne caves and the cathedral there. Notre Dame de Reims is even more airy gothic than Notre Dame de Paris. What a difference a century made, as they were figuring out the engineering in the 12th and 13th centuries.
So different from the Romanesque St. Germain des Pres in Paris, dating from about 1014.
Check out these bottles at Taittinger. A normal champagne bottle is second from the right.
95,000 bottles of Taittinger Comtes de Champagne.
Back in Paris, behind Notre Dame, we saw this bridge that was covered with locks. Apparently couples commemorate their love this way.
We even saw locks on the statues on the Pont Alexandre III. (This bridge is another over-the-top monument to past glory.)
Fabrice Risi runs an excellent ice cream cart at the north end of the bridge. I really only wanted a bottle of water, but he gave us a sample of his mango ice cream and I was hooked. It tasted like fresh mangoes! But I opted for chocolate instead. Divine.
I enjoyed the charm of circular staircases. This one is at end of 284 steps at the Arc de Triomphe, looking down…
And this one is at Taittinger, looking up.
We loved the Rodin Museum. Of course, I had to do this:
Don’t miss my post on yarn shopping at La Droguerie! I didn’t see anyone knitting in public, but local mass transit wasn’t really optimal for it. I did knit on trains between cities, finishing a shawlette that I ripped out when I came home. (It’s done now, and I love it. I’m knitting version B now. Post soon.)
Travel note: I loved having apartments in Amsterdam and Paris, and would highly recommend this if you’re staying more than two nights. We had wireless internet in both, and a washing machine/dryer in Paris. It’s so nice to be able to have breakfast (and sometimes happy hour) at “home” instead of having to go out for every meal. It was also less expensive than a hotel for us in both cities.
It was fun to be a part of a neighborhood. I had my favorite boulangerie, wine shop, cheese shop, and produce stand. I had a little game going with myself. The object was to go in, greet the shopkeeper, have a little interaction/conversation and keep it all in French from beginning to end. Most of the time I was successful, but on my third visit to the wine shop, I thought I had counted exact change, but I wasn’t quite right. I stood there, befuddled, with a handful of coins. The shopkeeper helpfully plucked the correct change from my palm, and said, “thank you.” Busted!
Fashion note: Animal prints are everywhere, and I love them. First of all, my boots from Bruges.
One print item is usually enough, but the woman in front of me in the passport control line had a leopard print bag AND zebra print shoes.
This huge billboard at Histoire d’Or on Rue de Rivoli intrigued me enough that I went in to price the watch.
He didn’t have any in stock, but they were due in the next week, and cost 199 euro. Too rich for me! He gave me a card so I could call him back…in French.