Paris!! (see Europe Part I here)
On May 1st we took the overnight train from Munich to Paris. We arrived in Paris the morning of May 2nd. We headed straight to our hotel, The Hotel Saint Dominique located near Rue Clair. We had a super cute little room right off the inner courtyard and a view of the Eiffel Tower out the front door of the hotel.
Once we checked in, we headed to a local flea market. This was so much fun! I guess they only have these on the weekends: http://en.parisinfo.com/professionnals/1729/marche-aux-puces-de-la-porte-de-vanves. We had a blast just walking through the market, checking out all the stalls selling their wares. It truly felt like we were among the true Parisians!
After the market and some lunch, Bob, Sue and I headed to the oldest department store in Paris: Le Bon Marche.
We got Bob’s mom her souvenir and thank you gift for watching the kids. It was a beautiful department store and we found a lovely scarf for Marcie. AND we spotted Andi MacDowell coming down the escalator. Ooh La La!
We ended our first day in Paris with kissing on a bridge over the Seine River overlooking the Eiffel Tower lit up at night. Wonderful!
Day 2 found us off to Sacre Couer in Montmartre. Montmartre is the highest hill in Paris where all the artists used to live and paint. Today it still has artists who create and sell their paintings in a street vendor atmosphere. At the top of the hill is Sacre Coeur, a beautiful church that was built in the late 1800’s. The view from here is the best in Paris! It looks out over the whole of the city.
(climbing the many steps to Sacre Coeur)
The church was so beautiful. But I felt a little bit weird taking a tour while they were having service! It was Sunday, so the locals (and probably some tourists) were attending service while the tourists walked around the outer edges of the sanctuary admiring the architecture and the paintings. Kind of weird and maybe a little wrong….but, still, I loved the church!
After that, we headed to the artists square and we bought our first piece of real artwork.
Walking back down from Sacre Coeur, we saw a beautiful carousel and we then we shopped along Montmartre for souvenirs for the kids.
(shopping for scarves with Sue)
After Sacre Coeur and Montmartre, we headed over to the Luxembourg Gardens and Palace where we saw kids sailing boats on a pond, listened to a brass band, saw a big giant head (?) and just enjoyed the cloudy and cool, but lovely, day in Paris.
(kids sailing boats – this was really cool. The kids put their sailboats on the pond, pushed them out in the water with a stick, and then ran around the pond following their boat.)
After the gardens, Rob and Sue headed back for nap and Bob and I decided (NO SLEEPING!), so we headed off to the Louvre!
We got there about 2 hours before it closed – on FREE MUSEUM SUNDAY. It was CRAZY! Funny story: Once we got in, we decided to head to the bathrooms and then decide which wing we wanted to see. We KNEW we would only be able to see just one wing because the museum is so huge! So, we start heading to what we THINK is the bathrooms. Little did we know that when the sign said “Sortie”, which means exit, that we would actually be exiting the museum! We thought that the sign just meant “this way to the exit” not “you are exiting now”. So, we walked in the Louvre, then we walked right back out! Luckily, the museum people were nice enough to let us back in without having to stand in line again. Bob and I joked that we could say “Yes, we were in The Louvre….but we didn’t see anything!”. :-) We were pretty loopy at this point from being so tired.
Once we were back in again, we chose the Denon Wing, that houses the Italian and Spanish Paintings, including The Mona Lisa. At the top of the stairs to this wing is the famous “Winged Victory”
We didn’t get to see very much – I pooped out pretty quickly. But trying to get to the Sortie (for real this time) we saw some beautifully old paintings and even an Easter Island Head. Definitely a place I would love to try and actually spend time at next time.
After our quick tour through the Louvre, we headed back to our hotel for our nightly aperitif and dinner. We met up with a friend from home, Jon D’hondt, who had been working in Paris for two weeks. We walked to Rob and Sue’s favorite crepe stand in Rue Claire and enjoyed a nice evening of crepe’s for dinner and crepe’s for dessert. I have to say, the Nutella and Banana crepe was super yummy!
Whew! Day 2 was a busy day. I think I’ll stop my blog post here for now, and blog Day 3 (Versailles!) on a different post.