Category Archives: Paris

Paris Day 3: Walking is for the birds

Paris day three is a lot of pictures, and not so many words.

On day three we decided to have a picnic. On the way we stopped by the other side of the Notre Dame and noticed it was just as beautiful as the front! Cool! Then we walked over to the park at Pont Neuf, sat and had a great lunch! We had a french baguette, some dutch cheese (that we got while we were in Volendam), and ate it with some prosciutto. We were planning on drinking some french wine we picked up, but drinking at lunch time with a bunch of kids around didn’t feel right. But it was fine, we’ll be drinking the wine on the rhine.

After lunch, we strolled over to Sainte Chappelle and experienced its amazing windows first hand. Thanks for the tip, Don!

Then we had a coffee break followed by a river tour, and finally we got to meet up with Luli (a friend of Lucia’s friend from Mt. Holyoke) for dinner, drinks, and dessert.

That’s it mostly! The pictures are really what you want to see.

Paris Day 2: A Coke With My Name On It

This was a big day! Even though we decided to use the subway, we still walked about the same amount as our epic trek the day before.

The day started out with a coke. We put our 2 euros into the machine and out it came — with my name on it! We couldn’t believe it. A coke bottle that says “Anthony,” what are the odds? So we knew it was going to be a good day.

With the coke in hand, we hopped on the metro and zoomed over to the Louvre to try to get in. Upon seeing the enormous line, and on advice from a few different people that Musee D’Orsay is actually a better experience, we opted to go there (later on we learned that if you were to stand in front of each piece in the Louvre for just 5 seconds, it would take you literally days of non-stop viewing). The Musee D’Orsay was a delight, and plenty large (we were there for about 4 or 5 hours). We saw some beautiful work by Monet, Manet, Cesan, Van Gogh, Renoir…the list goes on. My favorites were Monet’s paintings of cathedrals (they had 3 I think). It was amazing how he captured the details and structure of the rose windows even in the impressionist style. Very cool stuff. The museum also had everything from sculptures to furniture on display. The best was definitely the collection of paintings.

After being cooped up inside, we decided to head over to the Jardin du Luxembourg (the park behind the the Luxembourg palace — the home of the French Senate). I was surprised by how active it was. It was filled with tennis courts, children’s playgrounds, and open space for people to play games like bocce. We saw one group of diverse people (africans, french, and one american) play this unidentifiable game. I sat and watched for about 15 min trying to figure out the rules, but I only got as far as understanding how to play — not the points. The Game involved several wooden blocks about 6″ tall, and several wooden dowels about a foot long, all of which you use to toss and knock down the blocks on the opposing team’s side…I think. Anyway — if any of you know this game, let me know! it looked fun.

After some serious people watching, we walked over to a fountain area surrounded by flowers. There were children playing with sailboats, and other folks picnicking or just sunbathing. The scenery was great, so we sat down by the fountain, and watched the boats for a bit. The relaxation was definitely in order after walking all over a giant museum for 4 hours.

The next stop was something Lucia’s been looking forward to this entire week — the Galleries Lafayette. This is basically the Harrods of Paris, and Lucia “needed” some shoes =p. A long story short, Lucia got her shoes, and they’re adorable, and they’re made in France to boot…hahaha “to boot”. We had a great time walking around the store, and to my delight I got to stop by the counters for JLC, IWC, and even Blancpain (they had an Omega shop, but I completely forgot about it when I got sidetracked by the other counters).

By the time I finished drooling over some beautiful watches it was starting to get late, so it was time for another metro ride. This time it was to re-visit the Eiffel Tower, and this time we actually went to the top! I know I said this before, but I really wasn’t expecting to be impressed by the Eiffel Tower…but I definitely was, and am. It is beautiful, and the views are amazing. This is definitely a must see.

Stay tuned for an update on our final day in Paris!

Paris Day 1: Paris is not a “walking” city

Today we learned a very important fact; Paris is huge (a little googling and some wolfram alpha tells me Paris is about 7 square miles larger than Manhattan). We ended up walking really far today because everything looks so close on the damn tourist map lol. In fact things are not that close and we are pretty exhausted and hopefully a little wiser. It wasn’t a wasted day though, and we saw a lot — but not as much as we could have.

First off we walked down to the Notre Dame Cathedral to check out the famed rose window. The entire building was just amazing to see from the outside: beautiful statues, quintessential gothic architecture, and stained glass windows that were impressive from the outside. The long line to get in moved swiftly (hearing the bells chime while we waited was kinda neat) and we were presented with the really impressive stuff once we were inside. The windows were glowing with light, and the chandeliers were all lit up with “candles” (now electric). The entire place is hard to describe, especially when you take into consideration it’s 850 years old. It’s just impressive…I don’t want to spoil it with words — I think I have some photos that came out, but even those won’t do it justice.

Outside of the Cathedral we heard a thunderous noise as several military jets flew over head. They were followed by a procession of military planes including jets, bombers, and helicopters — for hours. I took a bunch of photos of these and I’m hoping a few of them came out, because it was quite the site to see the dichotomy of a twelfth century cathedral and 21st century military planes.

Anyway, after my boyish awe wore off we started walking towards the louvre. It was pretty late by the time we got there (around 5) so we couldn’t go in — they had just stopped selling tickets. We walked around the building, dipped our feet in the water at the entrance to stay cool, and really just took in the area. We’ll be heading back first thing tomorrow to see the museum.

From the Louvre, it was on to the Arch de Triomphe. On the way we passed a bunch of things, many of which we couldn’t even identify — but they were awesome. One thing that was pretty cool was actually the Obelisk in the Place de la Concorde. It’s a monolith which is covered in Egyptian hieroglyphics which was donated to the French, from Egypt in the 19th Centry. Pretty cool stuff.

Anyway — we ultimately made it to the Arch de Triomphe. We were tired, battered, covered in sand, and a little over the whole walking thing. The sand thing is actually interesting. In the states walking paths in parks are mostly paved or heavy gravel — here it seems to be fine sand/dirt which kicks up VERY easily in the wind. As a result, we were covered, and my brown Sperrys (sperry’s? sperries??) turned into fashionable white Sperrys.

Anyway the Arch is cool — but definitely not the highlight of the day (at no fault of it’s own though, it was a pretty amazing day).

Time to hit the sack, so good night, and again there will be plenty of photos when the internet’s good again.