I’m just going to go ahead now and apologize for the sheer amount of photographs in this post. I wish I could be a cool, curated blogger. You know, the kind of blogger who teases a glimpse into their charmed life, while still remaining aloof and mysterious. I suck at being this blogger for two reasons:
A) I feel guilty deleting photos. I’m bad at throwing things away – discarding memories or moments in time.
B) I’m not a superb photographer. Some people can take a photo that says 1,000 words. We’ll, my photos say about 30, and therefore I need quite a few to stitch together a cohesive blog post.
And on this occasion, I think the topic is also to blame for the volume of photographs. I mean, it’s Paris! Ah, Paris :) Can you forgive me?
As there are lots of photos to share, I wont waste any more time on words. I’ll pick up where I left off last time. . . .The day was beautiful. We’d spent the morning antique shopping and thrifting, and then explored Le Marais, where we had an epic falafel for lunch.
Following this massive middle eastern feast, we were both groaning and stuffed. So we decided the best plan of action was to keep moving. We headed for the Notre Dame Cathedral, intent on checking out the cathedral’s stunning facade.
I’ve seen some lovely cathedrals in the past year (Lisbon here, Cologne here) but what stood out to me about the Notre-Dame was the detail. It reminded me of a pristine white wedding cake, with immaculate attention to detail. It wasn’t the highest cathedral I’ve ever seen, and it wasn’t the most grand. But every brick, nook, and slightly curved stone looked incredibly intentional. And despite the size, the cathedral still looked fragile, like it was cut out of sugar cubes or fine grains of sand.
A hundred steps away from the Notre-Dame is the Pont de l’Archevêché (in English, the Archbishop’s Bridge). The Pont de l’Archevêchéis crosses over the Seine, and is the narrowest road bridge in Paris.
However, what makes the Pont de l’Archevêchéis truly special is love. Hundreds of thousands of locks are chained to the bridge. Some are engraved, some scribbled upon with a sharpie marker. Others are more ornate and feature a photograph, or a bright floral design. But they all have one thing in common – they were chained to the bridge in a declaration of sweet, sweet love.
Paris is one of the most romantic cities in the world, and it makes my heart flutter fast to think that a small token of my love with B has been left behind, permanently chained to this whimsical city of love.
Our lock was small and discreet. We snapped it to the back side of the bridge, where it would be more visible to the boats floating by. We didn’t write anything on the lock, which felt more special, as if it were a secret between just B and I (and you of course!)
I’ve heard the bridge gets too heavy, and the locks have to be snipped off regularly so they don’t interfere with the walkway or weigh down the bridge. So as safe measure we threw our lock’s key into the Seine. Paris, you cannot get rid of us ;) I’ll be honest, B wasn’t really into the whole love-lock thing. He’s not one to declare his love, or do something because everyone else does it. He tolerates my blog (although in reality he’s a much more private person) and the idea of a romantic weekend in Paris was not his dream trip. BUT there was this one moment on the bridge, where B said something along the lines of ‘this is totally cool!’
OK, so maybe he wasn’t that enthusiastic. But he did admit that it wasn’t as corny as he thought, and looking back, I think he genuinely enjoyed himself on the trip as well. Win for team romance! Yar! :)
Following our love lock adventure, we wandered through a sunny park, towards Shakespeare and Company.
Shakespeare and Company is a bookstore and reading library that opened in 1919. During the 1920s, it was a retreat for writers such as Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce and Ford Madox Ford. Today you can browse the shop’s books, or climb upstairs and find a quiet reading nook to enjoy your favorite book, or perhaps even pen your own!
There are ‘no photograph’ signs throughout the shop, so I was respectful of the writers working in silence, and did not distract them with the loud snap of my DSLR. But we did wander through the hallways, which boasted of typewriters, sleeping tourists, and avid readers. I almost bought a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, but they only had a soft cover which I don’t think would fare to well in my kitchen. Around 4pm the day started to get hot. As in, we need to drink iced coffee and put on our shorts hot. This was the first really warm day of the year, and I think B and I were both a bit overwhelmed – it completely unexpected, and still the first weekend in March!! We walked along the Seine for a bit, and finally decided to hit up a museum for some shade. We debated going to the Louvre . . . .
. . . . and hum’d and ha’d and twirled about outside. But in the end we decided on the Musee d’Orsay, which was only a short walk away.
While we waited in line to buy our tickets, a security guard came over and told us we could sneak in for free. The museum was only open for another hour, and the exhibit rooms would start to close in the next 45 minutes. Thankful and renewed by a bout of shade, we made a b-line for the popular top floor featuring work from Renoir, Monet, and my personal favorite, Degas. You’re not supposed to photograph the art, but I did take one cheeky iPhone snap of a Monet beauty. In addition to the artwork, there were some stunning views of the city scape.
The museum is housed in the former Gare d’Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railway station built in 1898. A lot of the original architecture, including the large roman numeral time clocks, has been preserved.We were soon kicked out of the museum, as it was closing for the day. Luckily the crepe cart outside was still open, so we were able to load up on sweet Parisian delights.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen such big Nutella jars in my entire life!!B got a dreamy Nutella crepe. I was just going in for a large, molten chocolate bite, when I remembered that I had given up chocolate for lent :( So I watched B eat his delicious crepe, and bought an apple from a nearby corner store for myself. Boo.
Our last stop of the day was the Arc de Triomphe. I’d heard the views were stunning at sunset, so we decided to say goodbye to the sun from the top of the monument. We high-tailed it through the Tuileries Garden and up the Champs-Élysées, racing against mother nature. Although two sunny chairs called to us in the park, we kept up a speedy pace.We made it to the Arc de Triomphe with minutes to spare.We whirled up the long, twisting staircase . . . And made it to the top just in time. Goodnight sun, see you tomorrow! After the sun set, the air started to cool. To be honest, this was a relief, as the day had been long and hot.We did a quick scan for the nearest metro, and rode the train back to the flat in exhausted silence. I’m sure we walked at least 20 miles that day, and had we been in Amsterdam, it would have been a pizza and a movie night for sure. But it was our last evening in Paris, and we had a dinner reservation to attend. So after a quick shower and shoe change, we set out once more, headed towards Mollard. Mollard is an over-the-top French restaurant, dishing up all the Parisian classicsThe decor is swanky and very not-timeless – at one point in time Mollard was considered one of the most beautiful establishments in Paris. Today it’s a blast from the past, with ornate tiled ceilings, tall pillars and long, floor-length table cloths. The waiters all wear tuxedos and bow ties, and scuttle around to ensure you barely have to lift a fork. We started with crab and asparagus salad, and foie gras. I’m a foodie, but this was my first time eating foie gras. To be honest, I wasn’t even 100% sure what it was, but I knew it was a coveted French delicacy, and when I saw it on the menu I just went for it. A google search after would churn my stomach, but in the interim, I really, really enjoyed this starter. Our waiter didn’t speak a word of English, so our entire meal was a bit of a mystery. I went for the fish of the day, and was delightfully surprised by a light, white fish, a large pile of french lentils, some delicate greens, and a beautiful flower garnish.
B went for the duck, inspired by my meal from the night before.We ordered one bottle of wine, and then another. It was one of those sleepy-tipsy dinners, where the night feels dreamlike and surreal.
This dream-like state was proved true when desert arrived. I have never tasted a more delicious sweet, and am pretty sure this creme brulee was a fictitious product of my imagination!!
B ordered the puff pastry with vanilla ice cream and warm dark chocolate sauce. I hate him, and his delicious chocolate.By the end of our second bottle of wine, the restaurant had emptied and we were the only guests.We splurged on a cab home, and fell into bed, weighed down by our creme brulee bellies.
I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but we woke up the next day completely sunburnt!! I don’t think I could have asked for better weather, better food, or better company.
One more Paris post to come!