Monday, September 4
We took the Eurostar high speed train from London to Paris. Train ride was smooth, but we arrived at rush hour in Paris, which caused a bit of a rough start. After figuring out 1) how to use the toilets 2) what tickets we needed and 3) where to go for the Metro, we got to the apartment we were staying at. We had been trying to contact the owner, and when we finally got in touch with him, found out the apartment was not available due to bed bugs! So we had to find a hotel for the night and he was able to get us another place for the remainder of the week. Got settled in and still managed to make it to the Paris by Night Tour. Found a nice little cafe to grab some dinner and a much needed beer after.
Paris by Night Bus Tour
Italian in Paris? Why not?
Tuesday, September 5
HOT day in Paris – 33°C (That’s about 92°F)!
Walked down to Luxembourg Gardens and had a nice breakfast of Parisian pastries and coffee. Walked around the park and looked at a handful of the 106 statues!
Headed back to the French Pantheon and spent a couple hours there. We then grabbed a quick lunch at an Italian style pizza shop, then headed back to the hotel to meet the VRBO owner to go to the other property.
Dropped off stuff and headed back out – first stop Tuileries Gardens. My favorites – the “I forgot my pants!” and “Did I use deordorant?” statues!
Petit Palais (Museum of Fine Arts)
From there we went down the street to Petite Palace (a museum of fine art). By that time, we were melting and the air conditioning of the building was bliss!
Had to stop and buy some expensive pants because we realized they didn’t allow shorts on the Seine River dining cruise we were headed to! The dinner on the River cruise was nice, met some people from California whom we had some nice conversations with, and saw lots of bridges and some of the buildings and museums from the river.
Wednesday, September 6, 2023
Palais Garnier Opera House
Another busy day in Paris yesterday. First, the Palais Garnier (Paris Opera House) – the main auditorium was closed, but the rest of the building was amazing and so beautiful!
Took an Uber over to the the Conciergerie, where they had an augmented reality tour on an iPad showing the many lives of this building, from part of the original palace, to royal courthouse, to prison – which famously held Marie-Antoinette.
Then next door to Sainte-Chapelle with its over 1000 stain glass scenes! This chapel was built to hold King Louis IX’s religious artifacts, including the Crown of Thorns – it was kept there until being moved to Notre Dame after the French Revolution. Thankfully, it was saved during the Notre Dame fire of April 2019.
Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Paris
We then walked to the other end of the island to see the reconstruction of Notre Dame. They’ve done a lot of work, but there is a LOT more to do. It’s depressing to see the soot covering the stained glass windows, but at least it wasn’t all lost.
A couple stops at bars in the Latin Quarter (George’s and the Piano Bar) on the way back to our apartment before dinner at La Poule au Pot – an authenticate French restaurant.
Thursday, September 7, 2023
Last full day in Paris! Started off with the Louvre. We knew it was big, but OMG! Even the rooms themselves were works of art – every room had a different style. After about four hours there we stopped and got some crepes for lunch.
Giant crepes for lunch?
Sacre Coeur Basilica
We then went to Basilica du Sacre-Coeur de Montmatre (Church of the Sacred Heart on top of a mountain! 306 steps to get up there!). When we got to the top, Betsy spotted the escalator coming up the other side of the hillside! Beautiful church with lots of stained glass, paintings and reliefs.
After that we walked around Place du Tertre, a public square that artists setup their booths to sell paintings and do portraits. Going back down the mountain, we found a bar “Le Mayday” (obviously named after our internationally famous band from the 90’s!) where we stopped for a couple drinks before dinner at Petite Fluer. On the way back to the apartment, we walked over a cemetery that spanned both sides of the street and under the bridge – I wish we had time to check it out, it looked really cool.
Friday, September 8, 2023
Paris Gare de Lyon
Up early to head to the train station. It’ll be a nice 7-hour ride and maybe we can get some work done on this blog! (edit: the inconsistent wifi made this a bit of a challenge! 🙂