As if our first day in Paris wasn’t busy enough, I think Day Two topped it… at least in terms of walking steps — it was a 25,000+ step day. (I wore a pedometer throughout our trip.)
Mom and I didn’t have any set plans on Tuesday, as we did Monday with the bike tour. We wanted to try to get inside a museum and cross a few things off of our Paris bucket list. Turns out, we crossed off a lot more than we expected in a single day.
First stop, pastries and cappuccinos of course. This time at Manon: again on Rue de Rivoli, a less than 3-minute walk from our studio.
It was a cold, drizzly day (thankfully, the only day we got rained on our whole trip); after said light breakfast, we walked down Rue de Rivoli to Hotel de Ville. This is when it really started raining, but nonetheless, we got out our cameras and marveled at this masterpiece of architecture in the blustery rain, as would any first-time-to-Paris tourists.
We continued walking through the narrow streets of Le Marais district, directing our umbrella left to right, up and down, as to not whack a passing Parisian on the cobblestone streets. We passed the absurd site that is modern Centre Pompidou on our way to an outdoor farmer’s market, Le Marché des Enfants Rogue. To our dismay, the market wasn’t the attraction we read it to be, so we continued our walk towards our studio.
Nearing lunchtime (croissants and coffee don’t have much staying power), we found our way to L’As du Fallafel. Despite the rain, there was a long line outside for the to-go walk-up window orders; not in a hurry, we opted for a small table inside the crowded, vibrant, energetic Mediterranean cafe. It didn’t matter that we had eaten falafel plates the previous night, I needed one of these infamous falafels. Best falafel of my life… and friendly service as a bonus. I will remember that warm pita bulging at the seams with more than a half-dozen fried balls of chickpea batter, cabbage slaw, spicy red onion, tomatoes, and tahini that drizzled down each of my fingers. #mostmemorablemeal
We ventured into a free museum in the same vicinity — I can’t remember its name, or frankly what it highlighted. Everything was in French, and therefore difficult to appreciate. It did have pretty gardens, I can tell you that much.
We hopped on the metro and got off at Tuileries Gardens, where we had lunch the day before. The sun decided to come out for a little while here. From the gardens, we walked to the Musée d’Orsay Museum to discover that is was closed that day due to a strike (supposedly Parisians are known for their frequent strikes).
Plan B: keep walking.
Crossing a bridge on the Seine, we discovered Love Locks!
From the general area of the d’Orsay, we walked “up” through Tuileries Gardens, past the Place de la Concorde, and onto the Champs de Elysee. Not exactly our cup of tea, with overpriced designer stores lining the overcrowded street; we dodged through the masses of people, finally making our way to the Arc de Triomph.
While we hadn’t gone to the top of the Eiffel Tower, I wanted to go to the top of something. My claustrophobia was put to the test as we climbed the 284 spiral stairs inside the cement arc. Albeit windy and drizzling rain, I felt all the feelings while standing there admiring Paris from above — the Eiffel Tower, the Champs, Sacré Coeur, you can see it all with the 360 degree view.
Champs de Elysee
Rainbow over Sacre Coeur – wow!
Now late in the afternoon, nearly evening actually, we stopped at Ladurée on Champs de Elysee for famous macaroons and the richest hot chocolate with chantilly whipped cream.
The metro got us back our lovely neighborhood where it was time to start thinking about dinner. Walk, eat, walk, eat, repeat. The theme in Paris, no?
We picked L’Epouvantail just outside Place Sainte Catherine. While reviewing the menu, we met the friendliest American couple who was making a reservation, in person, with the host/owner. We did the same, and then chatted outside on the cobblestone street with the East Coast couple. Restaurants open relatively late in France, so we sauntered across the square to freshen up in our studio before our reservation.
Inside the dimly lit restaurant, we sat at a petite table near our new American friends and chatted with them throughout our meal, asking advice on entrée selections. I had an incredible bowl of sweet potato soup, bread (naturally), and shared a salad with Mom. While the food was above average, the experience was far more memorable. The young host/server/owner was a gem; the single gay man at the adjacent table had us smiling and laughing all night; and the middle-aged couple were delightful and genuine.
Flower Shop on Rue de Rivoli
‘Twas a great way to end Day Two in Paris.