Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Charm of Paris

September 28, 2011

We decided to devote the following day in Paris to seeing some of the sites.  After walking up and up and up some stairs, and then even further up we found ourselves at Sacre Coeur.  This gigantic basilica is located on top of a hill overlooking Paris.  The exterior is stunning and the inside is also quite beautiful.  But seriously, coin souvenirs in the church???  You know the machines I'm talking about, it looks like a vending machine, you put your penny in and about a dollar in change and you get a pressed penny.  Kind of cool... but in the house of God?  Not appropriate.  Oh well.  The views of Paris would have been pretty amazing if the fog, or maybe it was smog, was not so bad.

After fighting with a particularly obnoxious scammer who wanted to braid a bracelet on my arm, we continued to walk through the Montmartre area.  We finally located the market and it proved to be one of the most fearful moments ever.  The sidewalks were completely packed with people attempting to sell every possession you could ever imagine - baby formula, beaten up shoes, you name it!  It was very difficult to maneuver through the crowd and I was very worried that we would be pick pocketed; however, we carefully made our way to the produce section and began purchasing our picnic lunch.  

Scammer at work

Once we had enough food, well actually enough to feed an army, we began walking towards Parc des Buttes Chaumont.  This park was also recommended by our bike tour guide.  We learned a very important lesson while walking.  Everything on the map is actually a million more miles away than you think.  We ended up walking for about an hour before we got to the park.  Between the two of us, the baguette was demolished and we ate a whole wheel of cheese.  I'm not ashamed, I'm actually impressed.  It turned out to be a wonderful picnic lunch in a beautiful  park.

Notre Dame was next on our list and we learned our lesson and took the metro.  We walked through a beautiful flower market and made a detour to Sainte Chapelle.  This chapel definitely takes the cake on all of the 100's of churches we visited on this trip.  The stained glass windows were out of this world!!

It was wonderful seeing Notre Dame in person after studying it in many an art class.  The architecture is incredible and I got a bunch of awesome shots while inside!

While walking to find dinner, we stumbled upon this wonderful little bookshop called Shakespeare and Company.  It was remarkably charming and literally filled floor to ceiling with books.  We got extremely lucky and showed up just in time for a concert!  Two bands out of the UK performed, The Magic Lantern and This is the Kit.  Both were exceptional and it was one of those magical unplanned moments where we just happened to be in the right place at the right time!  They even asked us to be their photographers for the evening.

After a delicious French meal, with plenty of French onion soup, this wonderful day came to a close. Thanks for the magic Paris!

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