Paris Diaries I

Monday, August 5, 2013

Finally, as promised, here is our Paris trip. We we did, what we saw and even a little of what we ate.

 I've mentioned this before, but our trip got off to a rough start; we contracted the norovirus from a wedding guest! We made it with both us- and our stomachs- intact to Europe, but took the first few days easy. We explored Ile de la Cite, Paris' geographic center, by touring Notre Dame and the Sainte Chapelle. Notre Dame is now 750 years old. Its famous gargoyles are a relatively new addition, when Victor Hugo (he wrote a book about an ugly guy and a gypsy, maybe you've heard of it?) campaigned to have this, and other historic buildings, restored. On the other hand, its Rose Window is has its original glass!
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Sainte Chapelle is a much smaller church, built to house relics King Louis brought back from the Crusades- what was supposedly Christ's Crown of Thorns! You guys, he became a saint for this. Just sayin'. The stunning stained glass here is practically floor to ceiling on three sides. Most of the glass has been recently restored, and staring at it, you can imagine how transcendental the experience must have seemed to those medieval Parisians who spent most of their lives is small, dark homes. The other wall opens to a balcony where the most amazing statuary was. Sadly, it is no longer actively used as church.

Our first evening in Paris ended with us wandering hand in hand along the Seine.

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We booked a walking tour for our second day. Unfortunately, illness forced us to duck out early, but we saw the Eiffel Tower along a gorgeous grassy area called Champs Du Mars. Not pictured is the Ecole de Militaire, which is on the opposite end of the Champs Du Mars. If you know that ecole is French for school, you can probably figure out what kind of building it was! On the Champ du Mars with us where lots of school children and picnickers. With school so close to getting out, many classes seemed to be having a field day. The military school was built by Louis the fifteenth after he realized he ought to do something worth being remembered for (apparently he wasn't sure quite what to do, and the idea of the school was suggested to him by his much smarter mistress, the infamous Madame Pompadour). Afterward, we walked to Le Hotel Des Invalides which Louis the fourteenth (the famous Sun King who also owned a little place called Versailles) built to take care of wounded soldiers and their families. It has a glorious golden dome. We visited it again, and got quite the surprise, but for that you'll have to wait till another post!
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Paris is a city of art and museums. So on our third day (and the first time we both felt truly well!), we set out to explore them. Before taking on the biggest museum of them all, I decided we should tackle a slightly less overwhelming one. So we travelled from our apartment near the Arc De Triomphe through the Tuilerie Gardens (where little children like to push toy boats around the fountains) to the Musee D'Orsay.  The Musee D'Orsay focusses on art from the 1800s, mostly, including the Impressionist movement. Growing up, impressionism was one of my favorite art movements, and one of my father's also. The building itself if quite the amazing thing to look at too! The building was converted into a museum from a train station built in the late 1800s. Since it sits across the river from the imposing Louvre, there was much fuss at the time that it not be too modern, but an Art Nouveau influence is still very much present on the facade. Inside, the hall of Statues (bottom right) looks very modern indeed!  Below, you can also see Paris out of  a clock face that is part of the museum. Amos also insisted on a very romantic (if cheesy) pose on top of the roof of the building. This was perhaps my favorite spot from which  to see Paris from above. In the distance, Sacre Coeur glowed white atop a hill, and inspired our afternoon adventures.
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Sacre Coeur turned out to be my favorite church we visited. Though it is relatively a new building (building started in the late 1870s after it was argued France's century of political turmoil was due to a decline in religious feeling), it inspired a lot of awe. It sits at the highest point in the city, and its white walls catch the light, drawing the eye upwards. Inside is the most beautiful stained glass. There is a palpable sense that this is a hallowed, venerable place, possibly because there has been Perpetual Admiration of the Sacred Heart there since the church was built. (that means someone is always praying and praising there, continually. They sign up in shifts and everything. Even through World War II and bombings, there was Perpetual Admiration.)

Outside, we got a taste of the fashion world when we spied a Dolce and Gabbana photoshoot. Later, we wandered into the neighborhoods of Montemare so I could shop. Check back in later this week for more of our Parisian escapades.

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See more of our Paris trip here. Or you can see a peek into our trips to San Francisco or Portland.

14 comments

  1. Lovely pictures, congrats :)


    www.vindiebaby.com
    Vintage Inspired Girls

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  2. Wow! glad you weren't sick for the whole trip
    Amazing photos- the stain glass is my favorite.

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  3. Great pics. So glad you were able to share them with us.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  4. Ah, Paris. My most favoritest city, ever.
    Your pictures were wonderful. I love the full Notre Dame one. How were you able to photograph it in its entirety?? I don't remember there being benches or stands of any kind to get so high up there. Perhaps I just didn't look hard enough, since it had just started to rain that day and I was concerned about my camera getting wet.
    Love the kissing picture! So cute!!

    -Nathy @ Earnestyle

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    1. They had erected these stands for the 750 anniversary of Notre Dame. I think they are temporary, but you can't miss them right now because they take up the entire square.

      Thanks!

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    2. Awesome!! It's so hard to believe the thing is still standing so perfectly. Takes you right back to medieval France.

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  5. Really stunning photos. Looks like a lovely trip and thanks for sharing the history of the places you visited. I'll have to make notes of some of these places for my future trip to Europe :)

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  6. I'm SO excited you shared these!! It's so much fun getting to see what you saw, and you guys took such pretty photos. I had no idea that the notre dame was *that old*, and how amazing that it still has it's original glass. those stained glass windows are just mesmerizing. and that's awfuuul you got sick while first there. you're total troopers for still exploring while feeling under the weather!

    xo marlen
    Messages on a Napkin

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  7. These are delightful - thanks for sharing your trip! You got some great photos. Musee D'Orsay? Yes, please! I love the Impressionists too!

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  8. Gorgeous, glorious, gayety, glamour!!! I am pea green with envy! When you go to Paris, I imagine it stays with you forever. I'm hoping Hemingway is right about Paris being a moveable feast! Bookmarking this post for when I finally get to go myself. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. Great photos, Paris is so beautiful and you saw some great things!
    So romantic :-)


    Sky High Style

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  10. Wonderful photos! Love this! <3

    - Anna

    www.melodicthriftychic.com

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  11. Makes me want to go to Paris SO badly! You must be having so much fun <3 Alex

    tobebeautifulingodseyes.blogspot.com

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  12. that photo of you and amos where he is holding you is amazing. like. i would frame that. it's so darn cute.

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