After a sight-seeing packing first day in Paris, Luke and I were pretty exhausted. We sat down on Thursday evening and discussed our plan for Friday. We planned to take the Metro (or else we would have to walk 2.3 miles) to the Catacombs. And then from there, we would make our way north toward the Cathedral of Notre-Dame walking through the 14th, 5th, 4th arrondissements.
Paris Metro Map
Since we have never lived anywhere with a subway, understanding this map was difficult at first.
Source of photo map: http://www.aparisguide.com/maps/metro.htmDue to me thinking Luke had set an alarm and Luke thinking I had set an alarm, we had a late start and arrived at the Catacombs at 10:45am which was too late for our liking. We decided to move forward with our plans and head north toward the city...
Panthéon - Originally built as a church but is now a mausoleum for some famous French folks such as Voltaire, Rousseau and Victor Hugo. Inside the Panthéon is a 67 meter long pendulum (if you LOVE physics, you've got to click on that link) hung from the center of the dome that demonstrates the rotation of the earth. The original was hung in 1851, but this is actually a copy. While we were watching, a worker came and grabbed the string and let it go, but it still continued to display the correct time.
(click video below)
Left: Voltaire's tomb
Right: a hallway in the CryptLatin Quarter - This is a pretty neat little area of town that I wish we would have had time to go back to.
Pont de l'Archevêché - the southeastern most bridge going to Île de la Cité (island in the city of Paris) which is the land of some of the most touristy spots in Paris. I have never seen so many love locks on a bridge! And it was at this point that we had a young boy come ask us if we speak English, I said yes, and he proceeded to point to a paper that said "Association for the Deaf and Blind" and right away Luke practically yelled "NO!" and the look on that boys face was priceless. I cracked up about it for a couple of minutes. Sounds cruel? Well we ain't falling for no scam! And if it wasn't a scam, well then...
Notre Dame de Paris - Do you know what Notre Dame stands for? It means Our Lady. Entry into the cathedral is free, but there is still a line to get in but it isn't too bad of wait. I'll be honest, it isn't the most beautiful church I have seen, but I have also seen a very long list of churches in my day. Don't get me wrong - it is for sure a beautiful church. I love going into cathedrals because they are all so unique in their own way. The stained glass and decoration is always so intricate and you can literally feel the history when inside. There is an option to climb one of the towers in Notre Dame but we declined because there was a wait, it was €8.50, it wasn't the clearest day and we still had other things to do.
Left: looking toward the altar
Right: looking toward the back of the cathedral
entrance door - beautiful sculpting!Conciergerie - A former palace and prison. Reviews online convinced us that the wait and price of admission wouldn't make it worth it.
Sainte Chapelle - Talk about BEAUTIFUL! This is one of those things that pictures don't do it justice! For our visit, we waited a pretty good amount of time to get it but this is mostly due to a security check upon entrance. The chapel has THE MOST amazing stained glass I have ever seen. As I entered the room, I turned around to Luke and said "WOW" before even realizing I was speaking. The chapel provides a description of each window which you are supposed to read from bottom to top, left to right but it is pretty difficult to make clear of what is going on. But it was so pretty to look at! Definitely a highlight of the trip!
bottom floor of the chapel - this was the less impressive level
Rue Montorgueil - This is a pretty neat little street. We stopped to have our first crepe at Deliziefollie. We also stopped for a glass of wine to wait for the sun to go down to take pictures of the pretty street lights. Speaking of which, multiple streets of Paris are lit up with lights. "City of Light"??
Rue Saint-Denis - another street full of shops and restaurants. This was where the younger (like high school) crowd was hanging out. And apparently there is a high amount of prostitution that takes place here. No pictures though because that's a little awkward.
Hôtel de Ville - city hall. The way they shined lights on it at night was just gorgeous! It also sparkled at night!
Pizza Vesuvio - Our spot for dinner before making our way back home for the night.
There's nothing like having Italian food in France! hahaLike I said in my previous blog, it it impossible to walk the streets of Paris without coming across something that makes you pull the camera back out. This is the opposite side of the Invalides where Napoleon Bonaparte's tomb is located. Very pretty building at night!
Picture by Luke, the great photographer!
We arrived back at the apartment around 7:30pm, and we were exhausted. We had a really big day one, and even though it doesn't sound like we did much, we still ended up walking around 10 miles on day two. We were lucky with no rain, but we didn't have sunny skies either but that's okay! We wanted to be up bright and early on day three for two important attractions - The Catacombs and The Palace of Versailles. Stay tuned for two separate blogs of day three!
The Paris Metro which is short for metropolitan (subway system) has 14 lines with the longest being 15 miles. RER Trains are not included in this count.