April in Paris. This time we have our mothers with us, first time in Paris for Oma and umpteenth time for Nana. After a speedy trip through the chunnel, we checked into our hotel, ate a late lunch, and walked over to Notre Dame.
Oma can’t believe she is seeing Paris now in her old age. The city has such a different character from London. Oma and I will probably focus on the main tourist sites over the next couple of days, while Nana and Michael will visit other places.
We’re back in London now, but had a wonderful day in Paris on Saturday. Michael and I decided to go to Mass at 6:30 pm at Notre Dame, but otherwise we had no definite agenda for the day. Michael especially just wanted to stroll and wander around the romantic streets of the city.
After a breakfast in one of the street joints, we walked down to Trocadero, through the Palais de Chaillot with its magnificent views to the Eiffel Tower. The sun was just behind the top of the Eiffel Tower, so I managed to get this photo.
We wandered past the Tower, then along Rue Dominique, stopping near Les Invalides to watch a group of older gentlemen playing petanque. We meandered a bit further to Saint Sulpice and enjoyed lunch at a nearby restaurant. Dessert was a highlight!
We continued on to Saint Germain des Pres, where the church was getting ready for a wedding, then on to Ile de la Cite. We had hoped to go to Sainte Chapelle, but the line was incredibly long. Instead, the hot day made us thirsty for a cold drink, and we sat at an outdoor cafe to cool off and watch the world go by.
The mass at Notre Dame was said by the Cardinal of Paris, who was joined by about 30 priests and a number of bishops for a special celebration mass for a conference on family and society. We ended the day with dinner on Ile Saint Louis, where we (well, really Michael) had an engaging conversation with 3 French people who sat next to us. They ended up inviting us to their summer house near Mont St. Michel!!
Since Michael had to work on Friday, I decided it would be a good day to explore the Louvre for the first time. It was nothing short of OVERWHELMING!!!
This photo shows one of the large galleries that seem to go on and on forever. The place is HUGE, so it’s easy to get lost. I was able to see the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, and Winged Victory, but missed some of the other highlights. The Napoleon III apartments were interesting, with the most ornate chandeliers I’ve ever seen.
If I had to do this day over again, I think I would have gotten one of the audio tours to help make some sense of the museum. Many of the galleries had some large explanatory tablets for some of the works in a variety of languages, which was helpful for getting more information. There are also some guided tours in English, but I’m not so sure this is the best option given the crowds of people. In any case, I’m glad I had the day to introduce myself to this incredible museum.
After walking to the museum in the morning, touring for about four hours, then walking back to the hotel along the Champs de Elysee to the Arc de Triomphe, my feet were about to fall off!!! To cap off the day, Michael and I had an incredibly delicious fish dinner at a restaurant just steps from our hotel.