It was my last full day in Paris, I had a very small list of things I wanted to do while I visited and I hadn’t exactly done any of them. I wasn’t sad about it, I just had decided not to rush it. I wanted to climb to the very top of the Eiffel tower but it was so bitterly cold and I really just wanted to experience it on a nice day, or with a friend… Like I said, I wasn’t disappointed, I just decided to change my course as it seemed fit. There was, however, one experience I was still intent on having this trip. It’s cold and so my desire for Hot Chocolate on a cold day seemed rather appropriate! I started my day at Tulleries garden which had been closed a few days earlier due to some police closure of the station so I arrived there in the morning and wander for a short while only to decide that a garden is best experienced in bloom. Another situation of live and learn! I walked my way down the central path all the way to the ferris wheel and overlooked the traffic passing by before heading back to the main street that runs alongside the gardens. I was earnestly seeking the chic little stop known as “Angelina” an expensive little restaurant with what I’d heard was the best “Chocolate chaud a l’ancienne” meaning it was a little jug of melted chocolate, a pot of creme and a round little mug with which to blend them in! Oh my goodness! I took off my many layers and sat there at my little table, rosy cheeked and wide eyed ready to take in a chocoholics dream – something I may or may not be growing into.
Side Note – I don’t know when it started but I’m starting to LOVE chocolate. I mean I liked chocolate but it has suddenly been bumped to the blissful category. I always liked being able to say it was “okay but not a craving” What happened?! I walk past the chocolate aisle and mentally slap my wrist to tell myself to just move along… most of the time that still works…
Eventually my feet landed back on the ground from the cloud they’d been walking on. I’m not sure it was that my stomach was just choc-full (pun only half intended) and unable to take in any more or maybe it was the 7 Euro’s out of my wallet that was lightening my load, it remains a subject for debate. I walked down the street and found a lovely little book shop! It was so beautiful! There were so many ladders and the selection was phenomenal. I considered buying a French children’s book but when I saw an English copy of Goodnight Moon I decided if I couldn’t find a French copy of our family favorite then I’d let the moment pass. The moment passed…
I had downloaded a small audio tour for free that started at Notre Dame cathedral so I made my way back to Ile-de-la-cite and stared once again at all the sculptures adorning the building. I had already listened to everything about the inside to I walked around the building hoping to go to the war memorial but sadly it’s closed on Mondays (darn!) from there I walked to the latin quarter and took in the view of St. Julien le pauvre church on the other side of the river. I picked up a snack from the Carrefour grocery and looked for Shakespeare and company books which was unfortunately closed for a vacation they were on. Too bad again but at least I’d already been to one shop earlier! I then found myself in a little shopping district where I picked up a thinner pair of angora gloves so I could more easily work my camera in the cold weather and while the sales were still in effect (did I mention that France only has two sales a year as is law and they run for very specific dates… if I didn’t – it’s crazy!)
The area was littered with students from the famed Sorbonne. You always know you’re near a university in Paris when all of a sudden the sidewalks are flooded with scooters all locked up – it’s a tell tale sign!
I refuelled with a coffee and broke every French rule and took it to go so I could visit another language book store to find myself a pocket dictionary for those emergency cases where I didn’t have wireless on my phone! Success!
I continued on my audio tour to Saint Chapelle cathedral which is tucked inside the walls of a federal building where you must pass through scanners just like at the airport. It was a beautiful chapel with two levels. The downstairs was for the commoners and was regal itself but at the corners of the room were tiny spiral staircases leading to the upper chapel reserved for invited guests and nobles. This was where the crown of thorns was said to be stored and cost nearly 3 times more than the building itself! Each stained glass window reads as a narrative from the Bible. I recommend reading about it. It’s a stunning and most opulent display of craftsmanship! I finished the evening off with a sugar lemon crepe and made my way back to the train only to make a split second decision that I’d like to see the Eiffel tower at night! As I walked down the streets I noticed the ground below me flickering only to look up and see the stunning sparkling lights on the tower showing off! I loved it. It truly is beautiful at night! I didn’t rush a moment. I enjoyed the cold, enjoyed the show, the awe on all the faces of the crowd. When I’d taken all the photos I could on site I walked across the river, past the carousel and saw the view from the other side of the Seine was even more beautiful. You’ll just have to suffer through a few of the photos even if they seem like repeats. It’s such a great monument!
I wandered the streets for some time to try and make my way back on the opposite side of the river from most of the trains.
This city is lovely. I ended it in the Marais for dinner (which actually was more of a flop as I ended up with an American meal I was less than thrilled by and the waiter was a bit of a jerk but so it goes some days. It can’t be perfect all the time!)
Thank you Paris, you’ve been lovely company.
See you again soon I hope!