Monday, April 29, 2013

Paris, day 4: ring around the rosie, pocket full of crepes

Our fourth day in Paris was a Friday.
We only had two days left, and we wanted to make them count!
The great thing about this part of the trip was that we had already done all of the major sight seeing. We were down to the last dregs, and could wing it, for the most part.
Not that there isn't a wealth of sight seeing in Paris, but we only had a few big things left on our list:

- St. Chappelle
- Notre Dame again, to go up to the top
- Buy a painting along the Seine
- Versailles

With these things in mind, we headed off into day 4!


We started the day by getting ready, and spending a little time on the sunny balcony. We had a mini photo shoot before heading out the door to our first destination!





La Creperie de Josselin was another recommendation from my dad.
We were so glad we took the chance that morning to go there for breakfast!
We arrived a little before 11, which is when they opened. We took the time to walk down the street a little bit, which was covered in crepe shops. Literally side by side, dozens of them.
How on earth could you choose!?
We were glad we had one to go to already, otherwise we would've been at a loss.




We even stopped by a little card/book shop and bought some super cute Parisian themed postcards. Can't wait to pin them up somewhere! Maybe in the guest room.

Once the clock struck 11, we headed back to Josselin, hungry and ready for an extraordinary crepe experience.











It was completely amazing!
The staff was so friendly, and they were making fresh crepes right behind us. The smell was tantalizing.
Everything was so warm and the decorations were so quaint, hanging china and lace and dark wood.
It's apparently the crepe place to go to.






Now you can see why!

Dusty ordered a breakfast crepe which was unbelievable. It had spinach inside, and was topped with eggs and bacon. It melted in your mouth, savory and delicious.
I had the Martiniquaise, which was banana, chocolate, and coconut ice cream, flambeed with rum.
Hey, ya'll, when I go somewhere, I go all out. 

All I know is that the rest of the day was really, really good.
Totally un-rum related.
It had more to do with the fact that they were the best crepes we'd ever tasted, and I wish we could have them for breakfast every day of the week.


After we were full and happy, we decided to go take a peek at Luxembourg Gardens. It was one of the things on our "if we have time" list.
While it was winter and things weren't all in bloom, it was still beautiful!


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The entire environment reminded me heavily of Pride and Prejudice, most specifically of Pemberly.




I was a little bit tempted to join some of the locals in grabbing a chair, propping up my feet and reading a book in the sunshine. I can only imagine how busy and blooming this place is in the spring/summertime!



After we walked around a little bit, we went around the back way to continue with our journey.
Dusty happened to notice that another one of my "if we have time" things on the list was nearby! A restaurant featured in Midnight in Paris, called Polidor.
In the movie, it's where Owen Wilson's character meets Ernest Hemingway for the first time.
In real life, Polidor actually was patroned by Ernest Hemingway. It was originally founded in 1845, and the interior of the restaurant has remained basically unchanged for 100 years.
I was really excited we'd get a chance to see it!






From Midnight in Paris.
Woody Allen, a picture during the filming of the movie.

As you can probably already tell from all of our trips, I am a total sucker for movie locations.
I'm not sure what it is exactly, but there's something so exciting about visiting a place you've seen in a favorite movie, because it's attached to a story that you love.

After we left Polidor, we made our way back toward Notre Dame.

When we went to Notre Dame on our second day, we weren't able to go up to the top because it was closed. They told us it would be open for visitors on Friday, so we decided to make that a priority.
We also decided to take advantage of the sunshine, and try and find some local artists along the Seine by the church!
And what better way to art shop than with a crepe in hand?






On the wall along the river, there was man that had set up shop.
He had pens and paints sprawled out along the wall, working on a drawing, and with a little stand behind him full of his work.
We definitely couldn't pass it by.
I absolutely cherish the little print we got, and all the detail of it! We chose one of the Notre Dame, which is fitting. :) I hope to have it on display soon, once I find the right frame to fit it.




 Living in a city like this, how could you not be inspired?




As you can see, on the right side of the river there are little stands set up.
The first day we came to Notre Dame, they were all shut down and there was hardly a soul around this area.
On this day, we were pleased to see booths of paintings and trinkets and people swarming around, laughing and browsing and pointing at their favorites.

There were prints as well as canvases hanging on display, and it was so hard to choose! Is getting a canvas of the Eiffel Tower too cliche?
We decided that no, it's not - we decided to go fully tourist and embrace our love of Paris with a beautiful Eiffel-y painting.





Buying a painting together was so exhilarating.
The woman who was selling them was really friendly, and really funny - she kept teasing us and helping us choose which one we liked the best.
It was almost too much for me to bear. I'minParisandbuyingpaintingswithacrepeandtheNotreDameisrightthereand...and...

Anyway.
It was a really special moment for me. Definitely in my top 10 of life living.
Hm. That would be a hard list to make, I think.

After we bought our painting, we made the short walk over to Notre Dame.
We started out in the catacombs, to check those out. They weren't quite as interesting as I had hoped (no dead bodies or anything), but it was still cool to see the foundations.






When we got inside, we realized they were in the middle of a service.
An amazing voice was echoing across the candle-lit stone, singing some kind of hymn chant that was so beautiful, it was goosebumpy.
I wish I would have recorded the entire song.

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We were so mesmerized by the singing that we sat in a pew for the whole song, before moving on around and outside to where the line was.
It was absolutely frigid in the cold shade, waiting to get into the stairway that went to the top.
Dusty went and got some coffee for us and we breathed it in, trying to bring feeling back into our faces.
After a while, it was finally our turn!



I love the Eiffel Tower in this shot.

The way up was long and winding, but there was a little break in the middle by a large room with vaulted ceilings that served as a little gift shop. We browsed around in there for a little bit, before we emerged onto the infamous home of the gargoyles.

I kind of fell in love with these guys. I wanted to take them all home with me.


Sacre Coeur in the distance, in Montmartre.
Don't you know it's rude to stick out your tongue?


The long line below made a lot more sense once we got up there -- there really wasn't much room! In some places we could barely squeeze through.





Our gargoyle faces.
They're making new Notre Dame statues in our image as we speak.



The bell tower was closed for renovation, but there were little slats that Dusty was able to put the camera up to. They were just barely high enough to where we couldn't really see ourselves.


I'm sure if it wasn't under construction, Quasi would've invited us over for tea and grapes to show us his grand assortment of wooden figures and buildings. He's quite the craftsman.



Before the sun began to set, we were determined to get over to St. Chapelle.
It was right around the corner, which we hadn't known when we were there before. It's a little tricky to find, but was well worth it.

It honestly may be the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in my short existence.
These trip posts are full of history and splendor, but I don't think I've ever been full out blown away by beauty before. So much so that I gasp and tear up and clutch my chest like an elderly man.
Well, that's basically what I did when I walked into St. Chapelle.


Looks pretty cool, sure.
And when you walk in, you're greeted by legit wallpaper, a little gift shop and lots of cool details and you think, "Wow. This is nice. Lookit, there are lil crosses on the ceiling."






But then you go up the stairs.



AND THEN YOU SEE THIS.




Seriously, my heart hurts when I look at these pictures.
It's almost upsetting, it makes me a little angry, that I can't accurately portray this exquisite structure with pictures or words.
It's actually a pretty small chapel, but is made so much bigger by all the stained-glass light and the high ceilings.
We walked up a small closed-in staircase and emerged in this elongated chapel covered in stained glass and absolute magnificence.



Golden stars scattered across the blue ceiling.










I think there's something very real, very spiritual, about experiencing beauty like this.
To me, it brings to mind Ecclesiastes 3:11.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart...

Eternity. There's a sense of eternity, an aching in the soul, a longing of sorts.
Looking at these pictures, that heartache returns. I can almost touch it, it's so real.
















Sorry about all those pictures.
I'm not really sorry.



I do hope you all get the immense blessing of walking up those stairs and allowing the setting sun to permeate the myriad of stained glass and take your very breath away.
And if not, I hope you have a really nice day just the same.



After our St. Chappelle experience, we went back towards the Eiffel Tower.
We were feeling like finding some baguettes, and heading back to the apartment to relax for a little bit and maybe change before dinner.



Beware of oncoming French kissy pictures.




We walked along this side of the Eiffel Tower, which we hadn't been to before.
We always cross the bridge on the opposite side, which leads to our apartment.
So we enjoyed walking along the park side and taking pictures and enjoying the view.

Probably one of my favorite pictures in the world.


We saw a couple of crazies at the base of the Eiffel Tower holding giant baguettes, so we trotted over to them and demanded they tell us where they got them.
They pointed us in the direction of the cafe, and we hopped on over and grabbed two!
Dusty asked for one and I said, "Oh, no no. I will not be sharing."





At the base of the Eiffel Tower, when you looked across the bridge, this is the neighborhood where our apartment is:



Our little place is buried somewhere in those streets.
It's absolutely lovely at night!

Right across the bridge is a carousel, which makes for a picturesque spot to sit down and eat loads of bread.


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I was completely unaware of this, but as we crossed the bridge to hang out by the carousel and eat our baguettes, there were two men that were leaning against the bridge that watched us walk by and then followed after us.
Dusty said that as he was sitting on the bench and I was walking around taking pictures, they were pacing back and forth, sometimes walking away and then returning a few minutes later, just watching.
They finally left, but Dusty was pretty convinced they were scoping us out to follow us home. Not sure to what end, but I'm going to just go out on a limb and say they thought we were a dashing young couple and wanted to take us to dinner to celebrate being young and alive.
Probably true.

Also, as I was taking pictures, we witnessed a horrific car accident in that intersection.
It was actually a motorcycle/car accident, which is even worse. Both the car and the bike were pretty much destroyed, but both drivers seemed to be fine! I was amazed at how the motorcyclist jumped up, as if embarrassed about being hurled through the air.
Oh, don't worry, I'm fine! I'm just going to go do some push-ups or something...totally regular evening!

So all in all this wasn't the best spot, and I know it all sounds kind of frightening and strange, but I was totally unfazed. Partly because of ignorance and partly because the view was absolute magic.



Definitely one of my favorite pictures that I took on the trip!
I want to get it framed.


After we found it safe to go back home (although once Dusty told me I was constantly looking behind my shoulder), we decided to call it a night.
We felt a little bit sheepish for turning in so early, but we had had such a marvelous week and were full from our baguettes! So we took the night to rest our feet, enjoy the warmth and talk happily about all we had seen.

Only one day left on our magical time in Paris.
Hopefully coming soon to a blog near you!

In love,
Cait