Get this– we walk into the nearest eatery, and there are two security guards checking our bags. The interior is exceptionally modern, with dozens of “order yourself” interactive screens. There is a bakery to my left, with coffee, macaroons, croissants; and stairs to my right, leading up to second-floor window seating. Luxurious? Maybe.
Turns out, it’s just the local McDonalds.
It’s actually hilarious. All the McDonalds are like gourmet here. $10 for a BigMac. Parisians would go crazy for McDonalds in the states.
Today was another full day in Paris. We started off our day with a simple hotel breakfast–similar to all European breakfasts, apparently: various cheeses, deli meats, boiled eggs, baguettes and several other forms of breads.
We fueled up for a long, hot day for walking and sightseeing. It was about 90 degrees out and sunny. So you can imagine the heat we felt standing outside our first destination: The Notre Dame. If you’re like me, you know this name for two reasons: One as being the home of the Fighting Irish, and another as being the home to a Disney animated hunchback.
But this was unlike the Notre Dame I remember from the disney movie, this real-life Notre Dame cathedral was gorgeous inside. Probably the most beautiful building I have seen thus far, and that is quite the statement. The high ceilings and corridors tower all around you, and the architecture is intricate and grand. The windows are beautifully stained and the elegant chandeliers are dimmed just enough to provide a sacred aura. And again, here, like at Vatican City, they were having some kind of service in session when we visited. The Archbishop was singing French hymns in opera–and frankly, opera kind of weirds me out, but this was quite fitting in the atmosphere–soothing, in a sense.
From lovely Notre Dame we walked alongside the Seine River, happened to stumble alongside a very well-known ice cream shop, and just had to try some. So I asked the Parisian lady what the most popular flavor was, and accidentally overpaid her for my mango and peach ice cream. Note to self: Euros in coin form are so difficult to tell apart. They all look the same! Do not overpay your ice cream tender. They will just assume the extra as tip…
Our next point of interest was Sainte-Chappelle–not too far of a walk from Notre Dame. Normally there is a long wait to buy tickets, but our wait only took about 10 minutes! And speaking of beautiful stained windows: this was incredible. Notre Dame’s colorful stain-glass windows were on one level, but this was a whole different playing field. The entirety of the gothic chapel was covered by colorful stained glass designs. The most extensive 13th century stained glass collection in the world. Unreal.
Okay, munch time. Daniel had talked about this place he loved called La Creperie de Josselin. So we hopped on the subway (most of our transportation in Paris is done via subway, which is cake to figure out–it’s even easier than South Korea’s subway system!) and checked out his recommendation. We both ordered the smoked salmon crepes, (no surprise there) and while the crepes themselves were very well made, the salmon was a bit salty. But overall, pretty good.
P.S. All this walking literally made my feet bleed. Check out this fab look
fora chic comfort solution. Yep– I walked around like this. Bring COMFORTABLE shoes to Europe.
And our last sites consisted of the Lourve Museum, The Arc de Triomphe, and Rue Cremieux:
The Lourve is the world’s largest museum and home to many famous art pieces including the Mona Lisa. You can see in the picture that 1, it is symbolized by the glass pyramid and 2, Mom has suboptimal camera shooting skills. See my hand? Do me a favor and pretend that is is touching the top of the pyramid!
The Arc de Triomphe was a monument constructed at the peak of Napoleon’s victories in the Napoleonic wars. It was the entrance for Napoleon and his French army to enter triumphantly through, as heroes. Unfortunately, the massive monument wasn’t completed until 1836, 15 years after Napoleon’s death. Also, France’s tomb of unknown soldiers lie beneath the arch.
Rue Cremieux is one of those hidden gems of Paris. It is the cutest, most colorful little street in Paris. And the best part? NO tourists!!! We found it through another travel blog, and I thought it was worth the visit 🙂
After this jam-packed day, we went back home and took our first *gasp* REST in a week! After resting our legs and spending valuable time in the air conditioning, we searched up on seafood restaurants and found Leon de Bruxelles: an all you can eat mussel place. YES. This definitely was not a tourist place. No one spoke english. Even basic words like “water” could not be understood. But luckily I had my handy dandy translator to order ourselves a phenomenal meal.
There is so much to do in Paris. So far, I am very, very, impressed with this city.
Last day tomorrow 😦
See you then,