Arc de Triomphe
We got up early on Sunday morning for a long day trekking around the city. The sun doesn’t actually go up until 8:30 and apparently things in Paris don’t open until 10. We were walking around at 9:30 and there weren’t a lot of people out and about. The Metro was pretty deserted as was the area around the Arc de Triomphe (except for Asian tourists who apparently had the same type of schedule as us). We considered running across the rotary across several lanes of traffic but found the underground tunnel eventually. I have to say it would have been really funny had we chosen the latter option.
We walked down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, stopping in at a bunch of stores like Nike, the PSG shop, the Disney store, and the Renault car store where my dad felt the need to hop in a tiny car that more resembled a go-cart to me. Continuing on, there were street venders all along the street on the way towards the Jardin des Tuileries with clothes, food (crepes, cheese, chocolate of all varieties), and trinkets. We made our way toward the Madeleine Church, which looked a little like the Acropolis and found Fouchon, a place that my neighbor Alida had recommended we try. They have all types of foods but we tried their macarons and they were so tasty!
Next, I went to try out another recommendation by my friends Jane and Gretchen who told me that they went to this cafe, Angelina’s, when they were in Paris last year and that I had to get the chocolate chaud, a really rich hot chocolate. The cafe was super crowded but luckily they had chocolate chaud to go because it was so good (even though I burnt my tongue). We walked through the Jardin des Tulieries, posed in front of the Louvre and went in. Surprisingly, the museum tickets only cost 12 Euros! My dad has become quite fond of taking selfies with his phone; luckily I forced him to bring our nice Nikon camera as well.
The Louvre was so beautiful that at times I couldn’t tell where the museum ended and the art began. We started by making a beeline to the Mona Lisa just out of curiosity. People got intensely vicious around that particular painting, pushing and shoving as if the painting was going to suddenly vanish or they would die of heart attack before taking a selfie with said work of art. It’s actually appalling how oblivious people are to those around them..backing up into others, obstructing their view, etc. Moving on, we also checked out the Roman, Greek, and Egyptian (my favorite) sculptures and art, including a Michelangelo sculpture!
Crowding around the Mona Lisa
Next, we headed out toward the Seine and crossed the Lock Bridge, which I’ve always wanted to do. It’s famous for couples who write their names on a lock, attach it to the bridge, and throw the key in the water as a symbol. I saw a minor version in Gdansk, Poland but it doesn’t compare to the one in Paris. We made our way to the Notre-Dame Cathedral, which had a festive Christmas tree outside and walked through. After wasting some time in souvenir shops, we ate dinner in a pretty abandoned place near the Seine and took the Metro back. We left when it was dark and got back when it was dark as well!
I have to be honest and say that as great as the ever present bread and chocolate is, I miss my fruits and vegetables! Did I just say that? The French language is beautiful, even if I can’t always understand it. We’ve had no trouble speaking English here and a lot of places include other languages in their menus or signs. Thanks to everyone who gave me tips on exploring Paris! More to come tomorrow.
*Rêvons Plus Grand is the PSG slogan, “Let’s dream bigger.”