Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Day 2 - Where did all these people come from?

I did not sleep well the first night in Paris thanks to the incredibly rich dinner the night before. In the lead up to the wedding, I was not eating a lot thanks to stress, and what I did eat was light and healthy. So my body was definitely not used to the richness of the food. Jeeves went out and got us some pastries for breakfast from Poilane. It seems impossible to find a protein based breakfast in France, although you can get an omelette from time to time. But they don't seem as into yogurt as we are. Anyway, this is all to say that we ate a lot of pastries for breakfast while there.

Our first stop that morning was Notre Dame cathedral. It was late morning by this point, and we very briefly considered getting in line to go to the top of the cathedral until we learned the line was 2+ hours long. No thank you. So instead we settled for just going into the cathedral, which is free. And lovely. Also crowded. Very very crowded. The fact that it's so crowded and there are people snapping flash photos and yacking away takes away from the general feelings I get in churches. I'm not a religious person by any stretch, but I like the beauty and solitude of churches. I think they are a great place for meditation. While ND was beautiful, it was definitely not a place for meditation.

We walked around the cathedral and went onto the bridge behind it for a lovely view of the cathedral and the Seine.

We walked over to a smaller island in the river to see if this famous ice cream place was open. Sadly, it was one of the August closures. Le Sigh.

We thought we'd check out St. Chappelle, which many friends had recommended to us, but the line was incredibly long and I was starting the get cranky with all these tourists about. So we opted to go for what turned into a very long walk for lunch. We passed the impressive Pompidou Center, and ultimately arrived at Chez Prune, which had been recommended by a friend of Jeeves. It was certainly packed with locals, but for the most part the food was just okay. Jeeves had a pork dish and I had swordfish (I thought I was ordering steak, but it turned out it was a steak of swordfish... which is fine). We continued to walk for a bit along the canals in the neighborhood where we watched a momma duck and her babies. We both worried about one little baby who kept falling behind. I hope he's okay!

Next up, we metro to Sacre Coeur, which is high on a hill in the Montmartre neighborhood. It's a long walk up the hill to the church, which was consecrated in 1919. The place is mobbed with tourists and the area outside the church is a freaking carnival, complete with Bob Marley music blasting. But inside the church, it is quiet and there is no photography permitted. Also men cannot wear hats in doors. All of this is strictly enforced, and I found Sacre Coeur had a much more meditative quality than Notre Dame. It's really quite beautiful. And although the outside area is a bit of a shit show, it does offer an incredible view of the city. Le view:

Jeeves and I walked around Montmartre a bit, which I understand has become much more touristy in recent years. We stopped at Cafe Le Sancerre and had this lovely cheese plate for a snack.

The cheeses were a camembert, St. Nectair, bleu d'Avergne, and Cantal. Yummy. We headed back to the hotel after that, where I took a much needed nap. Dinner was to be at Spring, which I will post in a separate entry, because I have a lot to say about it and lots of food pictures.

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