We woke up early, energetic and ready to see all the sights and eat all the good food. If you missed day one, you can read it here.
The morning was sunny and warm, and walking seemed like a good plan, since I wanted to see EVERYTHING. My husband wasn't quite as enthusiastic, considering we were miles away from our first destination. But he's a good sport, and it was all downhill, so he put the route into his phone and off we went.
The first order of business was purchasing a Pain au Chocolat, which is basically a chocolate filled croissant. They are flaky and buttery and chewy and chocolaty and oh so yummy. Thank goodness for all the walking. There was a lovely patisserie just down from our apartment, and we stopped every morning, where we attempted to order in French. The sweet owner was very patient with us, and never let on that we were butchering her language. Je suis desole, Madame!
Deliciousness in hand, we continued on. Our walk took us straight through Pigalle, and past the famed Moulin Rouge. It was early on a Saturday morning, but there were still certain....activities going on. The streets were lined with sex shops, peep shows, cabarets, bars, and very interesting people. I think we were propositioned at least once.
Moving on, we made our way downhill. I was mesmerized by the beautiful architecture, cobblestone streets, and quaint cafes on every corner. Eventually we reached the Seine and crossed over the Pont D'Arcole onto Ile de la Cite.
And finally, Notre Dame. We arrived just as it opened, and quickly got in line before the crowds arrived.
Stepping into a cathedral over six centuries old gave me chills. Knowing that it took almost 200 years to build, and imagining the backbreaking work that went into construction, was humbling. The interior arches and stained glass windows were breathtaking.
We wanted to see the view from the top of the towers, so we joined the very slow moving line and eventually began the 400 step climb. If you visit Paris, be prepared to go up and down hundreds of stairs. Not so good for the knees, but it does help with burning off croissant calories.
In the end, it was worth it to see the city of Paris laid out before us.
There's Sacre-Coeur, and our little apartment somewhere to the left, where we started our walk.
My husband went up even further, and visited with the man in the bell tower, who he reported did not have a hunch back. I thought it was a reasonable question. He sits there all day and monitors the electric motors that control the hourly ringing. The stairs were wooden and gave me vertigo, so I had to settle for a picture. Although there is nothing for perspective, the four bells are the size of small cars.
Hungry from stair climbing, we were ready for lunch, so we headed for Place Dauphine, a small "village" on Ile de la Cite.
I had roasted buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and fresh pesto. So good.
Several friends told us to visit the park-like Square du Vert-Galant, on the very tip of the island. We relaxed in the sunshine with our feet dangling over the edge, and watched the boats go by on the Seine.
And then it was time to start walking again. We chose a route along the river and meandered the three miles to the Eiffel Tower.
It's even more beautiful up close, and there were tears, again. But I have a confession. We didn't go to the top. I know, I know. The smart thing to do is make a reservation in advance, before you leave home. But because I only had two weeks to plan our trip, all the spots were taken for the dates we were there. The entry line was over two hours long, and then there were more lines to climb the tower. It was a Saturday, and it was a zoo. And now I have a reason to go back to Paris!
By this point we had lost our mojo and jet lag had returned. The thought of walking back uphill to Montmarte was not appealing, so we did a crash course on the Metro and headed for home.
Come back next week for day three, where we mingle with the locals and I spy French fashion!