We're halfway through our time in Paris and I truly think I could stay here forever. I didn't realize how excited I was to be back until we stepped off the plane and everything around me just seemed to fall into place. Paris, I've missed you so much.
After we landed, we made our way to our apartment--we're staying with some family friends and they rent out their lovely studio for anyone who's looking for a place to stay outside Paris--and were so tired from traveling that we just crashed for the afternoon. Lots of dozing, watching the French Open, and wandering around the village.
There's a little kitchen in our apartment and we've been making dinner each night. We all feel so domestic and have been taking turns cooking and doing the dishes. :)
The next day, we went to collect Trudy from the airport--she's just meeting us for our Paris leg--and our metro broke down on the way. It didn't put us much out of our way but it wasn't running back to our stop until 4pm. Poor Trudy had to lug her suitcase all through downtown Paris as we wandered around.
We stopped by Notre Dame, visited Shakespeare and company, got crêpes, and found a Monoprix. (I would move to Paris just for the Monoprix and Carrefour.) We don't have wifi at the apartment, so after dinner, we just visited and caught up after Trudy's semester abroad. It's really nice to be so unplugged, honestly.
After lots of sleep all around, we ventured into Paris the next day. We met Trudy's friend Julia at the Musée d'Orsay and spent several hours there. I think I enjoyed it even more this time around--it's still such an incredible museum.
Just to continue the art theme of the day, we went through the Jardin des Tuleries and into Musée de Orangerie, where Monet's Water Lillies are displayed. Since we still hadn't seen a lot of Paris and it was still pretty early, we wandered between the banks and across the Seine several times.
It was definitely one of the best ways to get reacclimated to the city and to help me dust off my Paris navigation skills. :)
I failed everyone a little bit when we hopped back onto the Métro at rush hour. Our car was PACKED and we were standing. It had been 90 degrees that day and I don't think I've ever sweated so much in my life. We saw four people in our little area pass out. It was quite the introduction to Paris.
On Saturday, we all overslept--somewhat on purpose because we knew we didn't have anywhere to be. When we got into Paris, we hopped in line to go up to the top of Notre Dame. For anyone going, it is a long line and it starts early, so be aware and plan accordingly.
We made it to the top (those stairs are no joke), witnessed another proposal, took about 100 group photos, and set off for Sainte Chapelle. The chapel used to be part of one of the royal palaces and now houses the relics of the Passion of Christ from Saint Louis (King Louis IX). It's also known for it's stained glass which show many of the stories from the Bible. The detail and colors are incredible.
After taking tooons of pictures, we meandered our way to Shakespeare and Company. It's one of my favorite places in Paris. The shop was started by a friend of Hemingway as a sort of haven for American writers in Paris. It eventually became a small publishing company and now is a bookstore and the proprietors rent out rooms above to struggling writers. It's so amazing. (Also: sign me up!)
Sunday was a less hectic day for all of us. My sister would have been turning 17 and I was grieving hard. We usually do something as a family to celebrate her life and it was difficult to be away from that.
We were planning on going to mass at Notre Dame at 10, but because of laundry issues and a slow train, went to the 11:30 instead. Oops.
The Mass itself was very interesting, even when I didn't understand a lot of it--it was all in French and Latin. It was definitely a good experience. After, all of us (our five plus Julia, who has absolutely become one of our group) found lunch at a café before heading to the Champs Élysées. Items were bought. Damage was done. It was a great way to spend our afternoon and an excellent start to our Paris adventures. :)