Wednesday was our final, full day in Paris. If we hadn’t done it, seen it, or eaten it yet, today was the day.
Our day began with more flaky pastries and petite espressos. When in France! In all honesty, I was already missing my healthier and heartier nutrient-dense breakfasts. Sugar, white flour, and butter makes poor fuel for an active day of sightseeing.
From our studio, we headed over to the islands to visit Notre Dame. We obviously didn’t do much museum-hopping this trip, yet all of the architecture is history in itself, and something to appreciate; we have nothing of the sorts in the States. It is mind-blowing how these detailed cathedrals/structures were built, and that they still stand hundreds of years later. Religion aside, anyone can appreciate the magnificence of Notre Dame — a Gothic-style church, so ginormous that I couldn’t capture it all in my camera lens.
From Notre Dame, we walked to Luxembourg Gardens. Something that sets Paris (France… Europe?) a part from the United States: people read here; they sit in solitude; they date/hold hands; they draw/paint, they chat over long meals… they have it all right. In America, we might be in a beautiful park, but are glued to technology. In Paris, life is lived differenlty. Romantic, communicative, personal, formal, charming, respectful…
Adorable old man building a ship out of… junk?
Kids play, moms gossip.
Now later in the afternoon, we finally needed a break from said self-guided walking tour through Saint-Germain-des-Prés in the 6th arrondissement, so we snagged an outside table at Cafe de Flore (recommend by my childhood friend who lived in Paris for a year). Certainly a busy cafe for a Wednesday afternoon, but understandable with its prime corner street location for all the people watching in a classy neighborhood.
Nearly every block, we’d stop to peer in the windows of another patisserie
Since we were in the area, we walked to oldest bridge in Paris, Pont Neuf — love locks are everywhere! After crossing the bridge, we revisted the Louvre. Again, we didn’t go inside, but explored the grounds. I find it fascinating that there is more than 11 miles of artwork inside. Maybe next time we will say hi to Mona ;)
I will never forget walking through one of the courtyards at the Louvre where a young man was singing acapella. His voice was like nothing we had ever heard before. We stopped in awe, listened, and then Mom put a handful of Euro coins in his open guitar case.
It was getting late in the day and we had plans to meet up with my mom’s college girlfriend (who just happened to be in Paris) and go on an evening Seine River Cruise (free to us courtesy of Cobblestone Paris Rentals). We scurried back to Le Marais via the metro. Mom got a bottle of wine; I got a seedy baguette, grapes, fresh figs, and a lovely round of chèvre with apricot preserves from a fromagerie (where I was scolded – in French – to dare not touch the cheese!).
Back on the metro we go: public transportation isn’t so difficult after all, even in a foreign language. We met my mom’s girlfriend and her boyfriend at the boat near the Eiffel Tower (for location comparison). I wasn’t completely impressed with the cruise (a boat with an upper deck for viewing would have been preferred); nonetheless, I was still in dreamland as I stuffed my face with said figs, chevre, and bread – with tourist chatter and French music in the background – while we floated down the Seine.
The highlight of course was seeing the Eiffel Tower light up at night (now every time I listen to “Die a Happy Man” by Thomas Rhett, I can’t help but smile).
That sunset — be still my heart!
We finished our final day in Paris with a late dinner (just as the Parisians do) with my mom’s college girlfriend and her boyfriend at yet another cafe in Place Sainte Catherine. We laughed all throughout dinner, treasuring the special evening — especially for my mom and her college best friend.
Paris, je t’aime!