We woke up early and wandered out to a café in the neighborhood for some coffee and breakfast. We each got a café au lait. N had a croissant and I had a pain au chocolat. Tasty (er, duh!).
Croissants hurt my stomach when I eat them in America, even at high-quality bakeries, so I avoid them. N had a theory that in France I wouldn’t have a problem. He was right about that, though I can’t tell you why.
After breakfast we went back to the hotel for N to shower. I watched some tv while waiting for him — one of the morning shows was doing a demonstration of how to apply bits of bright eyeshadow for fun effect. Once N was done, we wandered out.
We planned to go to d’Orsay, but took a long walk there to do some sightseeing. I was over my camera shyness, so I stopped to take a number of photos along the walk.
across the Seine
I love boats:
A neat Voltaire statute:
While in St Germain des Prés, we happened across Ladurée and I saw stacks of macarons in the window and a short line. Everything in the shop looked delicious, but I really wanted a macaron. We went in and ordered two dark chocolate macarons and two pistachio macarons. They were completely and totally fantastic. The texture was unlike even the best macarons I’ve had here in the US and they were just … perfect. I’m not sure how else to describe it. I’ve since read that some people think Ladurée make the best macarons in the world.
We continued our scenic walk to d’Orsay and I enjoyed textured buildings:
I love that everything has a pattern or texture, even air vents:
love the pattern
Signs and ornate balconies:
sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Cute cars and signs about bikes being an exception to the do not enter:
We finally arrived at d’Orsay after our wandering.
Tuesdays the Louvre is closed, so d’Orsay is very, very packed. When we arrived to the entrances, we were shocked at how long the lines were! Hundreds of people waiting to get inside.
I had pre-purchased our 2-day Paris museum passes and I had my copy of Rick Steves in my bag, which indicated where the pass entrance was. We wandered over to the pass entrance — facing the museum, it’s to the left of the regular entrance, but on the same wall — where there was a much shorter line and we got inside fairly quickly. Buy a museum pass!
I’m getting ahead of myself, but I will say that we enjoyed d’Orsay the most of the three main art museums we visited (Louvre, d’Orsay, Pompidou). The most popular thing at d’Orsay was probably one of Van Gogh’s self portraits.
It took us a few hours to see just about everything at d’Orsay, and I was starting to get cranky and hungry. We left the musée and wandered back across the Seine on one of the pedestrian bridges, Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor (formerly pont de Solférino).
We continued our way back to the Marais walking along the side of the Seine. I had the first “gold ring” scam experience. Did you have any idea there were so many gold rings on the streets of Paris?! Amazing. A person walking in the opposite direction would bend down and pretend to find a gold ring (you could see the ring move from their folded hand into their finger) and they would hold it out to you as you walked towards them to ask for money. They were not persistent, we just continued walking and ignored them. We had FOUR people do this all one right after the other on the walk between Tuilleries garden and the Louvre.
neat the pompidou
We finally cut up a street looking for a late lunch and ended up at a café where N ordered a pichet of water and a pichet of wine– of course we actually wanted tap water and I started kicking myself mentally for not remembering how to phrase that and being too self-conscious to look it up in my phrasebook. We ended up with a huge bottle of decent spring water that I drank the ^!*& out of, for €10 or something ridiculous. We also each had a mediocre croque monsieur with salad and started to feel a bit less cranky.
Afterwards we checked out a few shops on the way and went back to the hotel for a mid-afternoon break. We wandered back out to the Pompidou but I neglected to remember that it was also closed on Tuesday. Then we walked to the Musée d’art et d’historie du Judiaïsme, but they had just closed. Drats! So we focused on dinner
For dinner we decided (a bit too late) to picnic and we wandered around to a fromagerie, an Italian place with delicious meats, a wine place. The boulangerie were all closed at this point or didn’t have any baguette left, so N went back into the Italian place to get some bread, which ended up working out just fine. We neglected to get any butter [!] but frankly, we didn’t need it.
Both wines were quite good.
After dinner it was still early and a little hot and N talked me into taking one of the boat tours on the Seine. Our hotel recommended it over doing any of the nighttime bus tours. I was supremely cranky and really just wanted to go to sleep, and instead we walked and walked and walked and walked to some tourist building that directed us all the way back to Pont Neuf to catch the boat. My feet were killing me but I was looking forward to being on the water and getting photos of things from the water. I splurged on a diet coke while N carried a couple of beers on.
I really liked seeing many of the different bridges across the Seine and the buildings.
Each bridge is different and decorated differently.
This one is really ornate:
I think my favorite is all of the different faces on Pont Neuf, though.
Pont Neuf bridge
The Eiffel tower is a lot larger — and uglier — than I expected. I still appreciate it as an icon and engineering marvel.
la tour eiffel
We saw colorful boats.
I continued my obsession with signs:
We waved at lots of people hanging out:
tons and tons of people
I spied some people making out on the side of the river:
ohh la la
People chatting with their leg hanging over the side freaked me out:
Notre Dame, from a different perspective than before.
Overall, we had a nice time on the tour boat. The tour was in French but we knew what the big items were and it was really just worth it to be on the river, a different vantage point.
We walked back to our hotel and I crashed hard while N watched a movie on his laptop.