Want to catch up on the previous posts from my trip?
We woke up ready to spend our first full day in Paris! We enjoyed our hotel breakfast – which was literally bread and cheese (no complaining from this girl!), then headed straight to Ile de la Cité to see the Cathédrale Notre Dame.
Notre Dame was every bit as gorgeous as I expected. The architecture was exquisite and the stained glass inside was beautiful.
Especially the south rose window – it’s even more stunning than my pictures depict.
This chandelier was really cool
We made our way to the side of the cathedral to wait for our turn to climb to the top of the tower. It ended up being a pretty long and cold wait, but all 387 of those stairs to the top warmed us right up.
Wheeee more stairs (+ a blurry photo)!! haha
Lance and I somehow managed to be the first to go up the stairs, which left most of the group far behind. We lucked out and found a few spots to look out without anyone else around.
The gargoyles were the coolest thing ever. I couldn’t get over how fascinating they were. All of them were different and some of them were more frightening than others – like this guy.
Unfortunately the Emmanuel Bell was closed for renovation so we didn’t get to see it. However we did get lucky and find a heater they had up at the top for the attendant, so we stood as close as we could to get some heat (we’re sneaky like that).
PS – this gargoyle that appeared to be biting the head off of some creature was our favorite. He was slightly frightening but quite interesting.
La Conciergerie was our next stop. It was at one point a royal palace, but was used as a prison starting in the late 14th century.
It was a little eerie, especially knowing that thousands of people were executed there – the most famous being Marie Antoinette.
The whole place – especially all the old prison cells – reminded me a little of Les Misérables.
We saw some Legos stacked up in the corner…I wonder what they use those for? Haha
They had a mock up of what Marie Antoinette’s cell would have looked like – I snuck a peek through the door..hehe
We crosses back over the Seine to get some lunch and check out the Louvre. We ended up at a place called La Royal. After a little browsing through the menu we decided on a Croque-Monsieur and a Croque-Madame.
Our waitress recommended we try the pommes frites (aka French fries) so Lance and I split an order. They were quite tasty!
We split each sandwich to try it both ways and I ended up being a fan of the Monsieur vs. the Madame – I guess I’m just not a huge egg person. But holy cow, the cheese on these sandwiches was sooo good.
After lunch we went over to the Musée du Louvre and walked around the outside for a bit.
Lance and I aren’t too fond of museums and it was really busy so we decided to skip going in. We did take a picture by the pyramid though…good enough for me!
Jaime recommended that we visit the Opéra Garnier. It is the theatre that was the inspiration behind The Phantom of the Opera – As a Phantom fan I’ve seen the show a couple of times and LOVE the movie (the one with Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum) so I was excited to check this place out.
The grand staircase was beautiful. I could imagine it filled with people heading to their seats for the opera.
It was stunning and elegant. The detail in this opera house was phenomenal – even better than what you see in the movie!
Then we saw the chandelier…
Tell me you aren’t impressed!? It’s so beautiful!
French Macarons were next on the agenda, from none other than Ladurée.
I was completely mesmerized by the selection of beautiful macarons. I have dabbled in macaron making so this was the ultimate foodie experience for me. I decided on a box of 6 in assorted flavors.
The flavor of that blue one was Marie Antoinette. Crazy, right? I couldn’t pinpoint the exact flavors, but it was better than I thought it would be!
With my macs in hand we journeyed to the iconic Arc de Triumph.
Once we got to the top we took in the sights – we had a great view of the Champs-Elysees and the Eiffel Tower.
My second day in Paris and I still couldn’t get over the grandeur of the Eiffel Tower.
Since the Arc de Triumph wasn’t very crowded we spent a little time hanging out up on the top. No rainbows like the previous day – but the view was still wonderful.
We decided to wrap up our full day in Paris with a stroll down the Champs-Élysées. Lance couldn’t for the life of him understand why I wanted to do this so bad haha. In his defense, it is just a street lined with shops…
In my high school French class we learned about the Champs-Élysées and frequently had to make up conversations and stories involving it. Since then, I’ve always felt the desire to make a stroll down and do a little shopping. It always seemed like a very Parisian thing to do.
Our first stop was actually into a McDonalds (I know.. I know..). We were walking by and I saw this poster in the window. I stopped dead in my tracks. Macarons – at McDonalds?! Only in Paris!
I had to go in a buy one (despite the fact that I was carrying a Ladurée bag with a box full of macs). The verdict – they were delicious, as macarons should be, but not quite as awesome at the ones from Ladurée.
After that we popped in and out of a few places and I ended up making only one purchase – a pair of mint colored sunglasses from H &M. There’s no doubt that these will be my favorite summer accessory.
We ended the night with dinner at a random place near the hotel and crashed from a long day of sightseeing.