After a day in Brussels, on August 31st, we hopped a train, and then another train, and then another train and eight hours later, ended up in Paris.
Yeah, I’ll never wait until the last minute to book a train again. Lesson learned. It was a two-hour trip that took almost eight. However, when you end the day with that view, how can you complain?
The only other thing on our agenda was stopping at the grocery store around the corner and raiding their wine section. After two weeks of hotels, I was SO excited to be able to have an apartment, and dinner was a charcuterie board we put together and a few bottles of cheap french wine (my fave!) on the balcony watching the fattest of the fat doves play in the trees.
We woke the next morning after a nice long sleep feeling refreshed, so it was time to go play! After a lovely brunch of a croque monsieur, cappuccino, and part of a Nutella crepe, we ventured out on two feet to take a better look at my favorite landmark (le Tour Eiffel) from all sides and then ended up at the museum of French Architecture for an hour or two.
We worked our way up to the Arc d’Triomphe and watched the traffic go around it for a while – not sure I’ve ever seen a four-lane roundabout before, but the Parisians seemed to handle it okay.
We were told Champs-Élysées was not to be missed – and I’m glad we walked down it for the spectacle. However, since we are not exactly shop-o-holics, we just marveled at the giant Dior store, noted the giant line outside the Louis Vitton store, and wandered down a side street back towards home base.
We stopped at the second of two museums for the day (I found this trip that I have a maximum of two, three is right out), the Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac. The exhibit they were showing had art from around the world – everything from very early (BC) sculptures and carvings to costumes and masks – I can’t really describe it besides it was wonderfully eclectic. We wandered and snapped photos until they kicked us out at closing. We split a lovely sausage and arugula pizza and pancetta spaghetti on the way home and crashed.
The next morning, it was time to climb! We had tickets for le Tour Eiffel and we checked out the view from the first and second etages. Maybe next time we’ll go to the top, but it was an extra ticket so we decided to skip it this time. The views were just fine where we were at. 🙂
We stopped at this adorable French cafe for lunch, which unfortunately had the most mediocre French Onion soup for lunch (but the atmosphere and people watching made up for it). Then, we had an appointment with death, that is, The Catacombs. After descending hundreds of feet underground (where it was blessedly much much cooler than the heat wave in the city), we spent an hour walking among really interesting and macabre art.
For Joel, it was the highlight of the trip, and I can’t disagree that it was one of the most interesting and unique experiences. When I think of it, I can remember the cold on my previously sweaty skin, the musty humid odor of the caverns, and the quiet reverence in which we walked through the meticulously arranged bones. I’ll remember that forever.
We returned to the apartment for wine and charcuterie for dinner, as per usual. 🙂 And as per usual, fat freaking birds joined the party. I said I couldn’t pick a favorite thing we did when we were in Paris, but upon editing photos, I could see I lied, as I took so many on the sunset cruise.
But, like, look at this. How could you not? The city of lights, indeed.
The next day, we slept late and grabbed a bahn mi for lunch. It was on my Paris bucket list to get somewhere. It did not disappoint. I’m just sad I didn’t get a chance to eat a second one.
Our first museum of the day was a Picasso Museum – while it had his art, most of it was focused on his family and his life. Speaking of eclectic, he was an… interesting dude. I’ll just put it this way, he had a collection of toenail clippings. I guess to make out-there art you have to be a bit out-there yourself.
For our second museum/exhibit of the day, we stopped at the Pantheon.
Gorgeous, awe-inspiring, and overwhelming art. At that point of the rainy afternoon, we realized we were a bit full up on sightseeing, so we retired back to the apartment after a feast at the Mediterranean place down the street. I caught up on work, lost a Bloodbowl match, and we relaxed as the next two days would be big ones!
The next morning, an incident with an e-bike – running out of charge way before it said it would – left us too late to catch our walking tour. Now, you’d think an e-bike without a battery would just be a bike. You’re not wrong, but in the heat wave chugging up and down those hills, it felt like pedaling a battle cruiser.
Instead, we decided to wander on our own, checking out the famous Moulin Rouge, and randomly stopping for lunch at the Cafe de Deux Moulins, where Amelie worked. The food was decent, the atmosphere was adorable. Then, we meandered more and wondered why it was recommended as a must-see as there were just a bunch of risqué shops. Just before we gave up and left, I hit up google and found that we needed to travel further up the hill.
We checked out Sacre Couer, some of the best views of the city, and the Monmarte Artists District. This was why we were supposed to be here. The Artists District was adorable, and we made plans to come back the last day to get some souvenirs.
Then we walked down the hill again to see the monument, the obelisk, and wandered around some very pretty gardens and fountains. Then, we went to the Musée de l’Armée and looked at tons of cool weapons.
And, of course, some of the things that weapons do…
After that, we had reached the limits of our time on feet, and we ducked into an Asian restaurant and had some delicious garlic pepper chicken thingee and then we called it a night as the next day was… THE LOUVE… and we’ll pick up there next time (or in about 6 months when I edit those photos haha).