After much anticipation we landed in Paris, spent after a very long night, with just our adrenaline to keep us moving. We hopped on the Easy Bus at Charles de Gaulle airport and, after Elan (our driver) traversed the side streets to avoid rush-hour traffic, we arrived at the apartment we had rented.
In five days we know we will barely scratch the surface here in the City of Lights, the most dense city in all of Europe, (with 20x’s more density than New York City) but we are planning to give it our best shot. Since we will be on the go so much I have decided to write “mini-posts” while in Europe, then go back and add more detail when we return to the states.
Our first two days in Paris began with a leisurely breakfast at a local boulangerie, where I was able to practice a little of the French language – emphasis on little. Once fortified we walked along the Seine River to tour Sainte-Chapelle, a royal Gothic-styled chapel, built around 1238, once the residence of the Kings of France. It houses some of the most extensive stained glass of the 13th century anywhere in the world.
From there it was a short walk to Notre Dame (Our Lady of Paris), a medieval Catholic Cathedral. It is among the largest and well-known churches in the world. We had hoped to climb to the top of the tower but the lines were too long and we had much yet to see.
Lunch was in the Latin Quarter at LouLou’s, a must-top for this Lulu…délicieux.
Since we were enjoying the local fare so much, we agreed that walking was needed to burn off the calories so off we strolled to the Louvre Museum. Crossing over the Pont Neuf, the oldest standing bridge across the Seine, we stopped to take a few photos of some Locks of Love before continuing on our journey.
Although we had purchased a 4-day Museum Pass, which allowed us to skip some of the longest lines, once inside the Louvre it is impossible to avoid the crowds. You’ve got to just shoulder your way through the massive surge. We all agreed that for that reason alone, some of the smaller museums were more to our liking, but the architecture, the paintings, and sculptures were magnifique!
We rounded out our first day with an evening reservation at the Eiffel Tower where the views from above are breathtaking.
Day two took us to the Orsay Museum, which we all agreed was incredible. Build around 1900 and housed in an old railway station, the architecture and the clock towers are impressive. It holds the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces in the world, including artists such as Monet, Degas, Van Gogh, Renoir, and Cézanne.
A walk to the Trocadéro for another view of the Eiffel Tower and a stroll through the Rue Cler market and day two was a success.