Sunday, August 11, 2013

30 days in Paris {2/4}

It's decided. Big cities are not love at first sight for me. I tend to find peace reading at the apartment, sitting at a café, or shopping in a non-touristy area. This is not to say that I don't enjoy major landmarks, or the inspiration that Paris provides; I just have to take a deep breath every once in a while. (I should note that my husband is the opposite, and his French is decent enough to navigate basic conversations about postage stamps and croissants. And, when it comes to the metro, he's a boss.)

So, without further adieu, the past week in massive, sometimes touristy, beautiful Paris:

Shakespeare and Company
This place has beautiful books. And, you pay for it. Each book you buy gets a Shakespeare and Company stamp on the inside, making them meaningful 'friends' (the way they view books) to add to your shelf. They purchase books that are not only pleasing to the eye, but that also feel good in your hands while you read.

Notre Dame
With a central metro station located right outside, we see this 850-year-old church often. This week, we looked more closely; once during the day, and once during a free evening organ concert. If this wasn't on my bucket list before, it was quickly added and checked off as I sat, eyes closed, listening to the majestic chords.

Tour d'Eiffel
Garrick and I enjoyed the above-ground metro ride to this major landmark. We waited in a short line and began climbing the 674 stairs up the tower. After each flight of stairs, there are informational boards that allow you to catch your breath and also learn a bit while doing it. We walked around the first and second levels taking in the city as far as our eyes could see. Our time was cut a bit short due to a bomb threat causing an evacuation. Whistles, yelling, and sirens serenaded us down the stairs, and I talked to God the whole way down! Apparently these threats are not uncommon, but only evacuate the tower a few times a year. Joys.

Montmartre and Sacre Coeur
Montmartre was touristy. And slightly quaint, sans tourists. Still, I dodged the men grabbing at my arms to make a bracelet and made it inside the Sacre Coeur just in time for mass. Most noteworthy was the domed mosaic of Christ, pictured with a heart of gold burning for mankind.

We explored a few of Paris' markets today, beginning with a book market 20-minutes south of our apartment. I sat and read while Garrick browsed. Next, we stopped at the flower and bird markets near Notre Dame.

Our last stop today was this 800-year-old church that was built in two years. The construction of Notre Dame took 200. Quite impressive for the time. Originally built to house the Crown of Thorns, the cathedral now boasts some of the most beautiful stained glass in the world. I agree.

So, here begins another week in Paris, and Garrick currently sits doing his French homework for class tomorrow morning.

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