I said I would blog abroad…and 5 days in to our trip, I suppose it’s about time for an update.
We arrived in Paris early in the morning at the beginning of our week. We had planned to take public transportation to our apartment, which instantly proved to be slightly confusing, but not insurmountable. After checking numerous signs, standing in the middle of a train platform (and several street corners) looking utterly confused, and a brief rest at a cafe, we made it to our home for the week.
We found our apartment on airbnb.com, a great website for house, apartment, and room rentals. The price was really reasonable, and our host was very friendly. We are in a little 6th floor walk-up with access to a washing machine, wifi, and a kitchen. It’s great getting a feel for the neighborhood and its been the perfect base for exploring the city.
Day one was a blur of finding our bearings in our neighborhood- grocery stores, banks, cafes, metro stations- and getting rest from our long day of traveling. We ate at a great pizza place that evening, and called it a night.
Our second day was a full one: early morning, and out to the Louvre. It really was just staggering. Seeing so many legends of classic art, and the vastness of that place was incredible.
We took in a moment sitting around the Grand Bassin Rond and headed over to Musée d’Orsay.
Once there, I made a beeline for the post-impressionist exhibit.
Walking in that room and seeing some of Van Gogh’s work for the first time made me a little weak in the knees. He has been my favorite painter since I was a kid, and the 12-year-old (who am I kidding, and the 27-year-old) Kate in me was just overcome.
Standing there observing every brushstroke and pigment, I was moved to tears. The realization of a dream, as well as the deep beauty and sadness of a man, were enough to keep me standing there for some time.
We walked to “the lock bridge” and found a spot in the middle by a lamppost to secure our lock amongst the thousands. I locked the lock, and Spencer threw away the key.
The next day was a rest day. Aka, I got sick and Spencer sweetly took care of me.
Friday we walked 2 marathons. Almost.
Sacre Coeur Basilica, walking the sweet streets of Montamrte, Creme Brûlée and coffee at Cafe des Deux Moulins (from Amélie), walking the vast grounds of Verasilles, the Eiffel Tower at Sunset, and a night cruise along the river Seine.
Thirteen hours of crazy sightseeing, what felt like 50 metro stations, and powering through some pretty sore feet. Worth it.
Saturday we walked through some lovely markets on Île de la Cité to Sainte-Chappelle (which once housed the Crown of Thorns), and Notre Dame. Notre Dame was huge and beautiful and cold. It is funny to visit these cathedrals and basilicas that have coin-stamping machines and gift shops amongst the stained glass and confessionals.
After Notre Dame, we went to a wonderful coffee place called Télescope. In preparation for this trip, I knew I had to do my duty as a coffee snob and research the best coffee places in Paris. Télescope appeared in nearly every article I read, and now I know why. With no sign in front of this tan-colored building on a small street in a big neighborhood, if you didn’t know Télescope existed, you could easily miss it.
Once inside, it felt like Portland. Minimalist decor (with plenty of owl statuettes for good measure), aero press accessories on the wall and a bearded man behind the counter. Said bearded man was very welcoming and friendly, and made a darn good latte. The espresso was some of the best I’ve had. One of my favorite little moments of the trip for sure.
Today is rest/laundry/writing day. Nothing too exciting on the blog-front!
It’s hard to believe we still have a few days in Paris and a whole week in Ireland left. We now feel like seasoned vets on the Metro, and Spencer is recognized at the bakery he visits every morning for our croissants and baguettes. It has been a beautiful trip.
Our hopeful to-do list for the remainder of our visit:
-have a picnic along the Seine
-visit the Arc de Triomphe
-Kooka Boora and Coutume Café
-more time by the Eiffel Tower
-visiting shops and restaurants in Montmarte
-Macarons and Galettes. Lots.
Until next time!