Friday, June 29, 2012

Paris - Day 4

April 5th, 2012
We had breakfast at a Paul Cafe in Latin Quarter before heading to Ile Cite to go to Notre Dame.  We took the #4 Metro and got off at Cite stop.  It was around 10:30am and drizzling.  Actually, it was quite cold compared to the other days we'd been in Paris (around 45F).  The climb to the top of the tower was included with our Paris Musuem Passes, but unforunately there were no benefits to get ahead in line.  We waited for about an hour, freezing.
About half way up the climb, there's a nice break of a gift shop.  If you see anything you like in the gift shop, buy it then because you don't go through there on the way out.  Continuing up the stairs, we were finally greeted by the famous gargoyles.
The view was hazy, but it was still really cool.
After spending a decent amount of time (maybe an hour?) up top, we descended.  Going up I didn't really have any issues with stairs (other than getting slightly winded), but going down I had to occassionally stop because I got dizzy with the spiral staircase.  Once on the ground, we found the line to go into Notre Dame, and were told it was a two hour wait.  We (unfortunately!) decided not to stand in line for this, especially since it was a cloudy day, we figured the stained glass windows wouldn't be gleaming.  If there's one thing I regret not seeing in Paris, it'd be the inside of Notre Dame.  (It's funny because when we told our families this, they all said what line?  Between all of them, they'd been there on three occassions and never experienced a line. I guess it was our unlucky day). We also poked into the Crypt with our passes, but we weren't that amused.

We walked around Ile Cite and found another long line for Sainte Chapelle.  We decided we weren't interested in standing in lines our last day in Paris, so we went to St. Louis Island for lunch.  Ben's mom had been really disappointed that his sister didn't go to her favorite restaurant in Paris on St. Louis, so we tried to make it a priority.  The problem was, she hadn't known the name and just described the location.

So, we went into this restaurant, thinking it was her restaurant.  It turns out it wasn't, but that's okay because I had a fabulous quiche and amazing salted caramel crepe. I'm sorry.  I can't remember the name, but the picture is below. If your at the intersection of Pont Marie and Rue Saint-Louis with Notre dame to your left, you'd turn left and it's about three store fronts down on the right hand side.

Even though we had crepe, one cannot go to Paris and not visit the famous Berthillion ice cream shop.  We were there around 3pm on a Thursday and the line actually wasn't bad.  We were maybe 5th in line?  Get the salted caramel.  You won't regret it.
There's a lot of fun jewelry, home and clothing shops on Ile Saint Louis that we went into. From there, we went to Musee D'Orsay, which is open late on Thursday nights.  It's in an old train station and it worth going for the Architecture alone.  With our museum passes, we didn't have to pay anything and there was no wait.  Even though it says no pictures, a lot of people were taking them so I snuck this:
One disappointment is that the restaurant was not open while we were there.  My family had said it was their favorite meal in Paris and was worth the marked up tourist prices.  Oh well.
Afterwards, we went back into the Latin Quarter.  I hopped into a boutique and bought my only non-t-shirt clothing item of the trip.  In the meantime, Ben stopped in a liquor store and got Absinthe and a raspberry liquor. After finding each other, we visited Les Etages (at the intersection of Rue de Buci and Rue de Gregiore de Tours) for their happy hour.  Delicious mojitos (but a word to the wise, they're not part of the happy hour special and cost 11E a piece. Whoops).
Upset that happy hour drinks were 5E and ours weren't on the list

 We decided to drop our bags at home and freshen up for dinner.  We came across Laduree (on Bonaparte/Rue Jacob; two blocks from our apt!) just as it was closing.  I managed to sneak in (they locked the door after me) to get our first taste of macaroons, yum!!

We went back to the Latin Quarter for dinner and Ben choose a fondue spot.  It was crowded, but smelled amazing.  It was the typically European wait, as in about twenty minutes before anyone brought us water, but I'm glad we stayed.  The food was awesome. (I can't tell the name from the picture and don't remember, but it's on Rue de Gregiore de Tours, just south of Rue de Baci on the west side of the street)
After dinner, the last stop for my Paris list was Pont des Arts bridge.  It's a pedastrian only bridge across the Siene west of Ile City (right in front of France Institute), for years, couples have attached a padlock to the bridge and tossed the key into the river to "lock up their love forever".  I had bought mini-locks at Target and painted them with nail polish prior to the trip. We found a spot and locked it up!
It was seriously the perfect, romantic end to Paris.  We even saw our last Eiffel Tower from the bridge.

From Paris, already having been in Amsterdam, we moved on to the third city of our trip, Barcelona.

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