Any good soldier will tell you, however, that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We had heard from many that the best place to get our day’s ration was world-famous patisserie and tea room, Angelina. Founded in 1903 by a very serious Austrian baker, the tea room quickly became famous for its rich hot chocolate and even more so for its out-of-this-world Mont Blanc cake. Throughout its many years in business it has been frequented by Coco Chanel, visiting dignitaries, and has become the destination for just about everybody who’s anybody.
While Will went for the tamer fare of cafe au lait and a baguette, I had to order the hot chocolate and the Mont Blanc cake.
Drool-inducing goodies for sale at Angelina's store front preceding the tea room.
Finally, the Arc de Triomphe. It is so much bigger in person than I ever expected!
One quick Metro ride later, we found ourselves in another “it” destination, Les Halles, site of Paris’s former main market place, now home to many unique little shops and cafes.
Also highly recommended by my cousin was a stop in La Drougerie, a smaller, cooler marriage of San Francisco’s Britex (minus the fabric) and the fabulous ImaginKnit. Jill, I’m sorry to say I more or less got thrown out of La Drougerie by a very angry Frenchman for taking a picture of their buttons.... I knew I shouldn’t have done it, but I saw the whole wall of jars and before I knew it I had snapped a shot! It’s just as well because if I had stayed, I would have bought the ridiculously cute elephant knit set pattern for babies, and it’s very likely I wouldn’t complete it ‘til all the babies I know are seventeen.
Sufficiently deflated by my Franco-scold, we sought the comfort of ham and cheese baguette sandwiches and apple pastries. All better.
I'm so jealous.
Another beautiful church nearby, St-Eustache.
But it was time to get on to the bigg-un, Notre Dame. We made our way to the massive cathedral, but found that the lines to get in were positively insane. Having seen the inside of quite a few churches already in our days here, we settled for admiring the beauty of its exterior, spires, gargoyles, and all.
Just beyond Notre Dame lies Ile St. Louis, an island within the Siene. I instantly fell in love with this old, quaint, cute, trendy-without-pretension section of Paris. We stopped in a number of the amazing shops down Rue Saint Luis En L’Ile, including the famous ice cream shop, Berthillon, for a refresher cone of framboise and praline ice cream.
Not yet ready to let our feet cry uncle, we made our way back towards the hotel on foot through the Latin Quarter, one of the oldest parts of Paris, so named for its universities and the Latin spoken there in the Middle Ages. I loved its old, gritty, somewhat medieval quality mixed with quaint cafes, bars, and cute shops, like the famous Shakespeare & Co. Antiquarian Books. The many book-loving ladies in my life would love it.
On the Pont des Arts bridge, it is a tradition for couples to carve their names in a lock, attach it to the railings, and throw the keys in the Seine to ensure their everlasting love. Not being the superstitious type, we didn't participate, but they really were admittedly kind of sweet and a nice site.
After a quick freshen up at the hotel and another delicious dinner, it was time to go big or go home. It’s Eiffel Tower photo shoot time, folks. As many know, there was a period of about ten years when I only decorated with Paris-themed objects. Many of them have drifted off to the thrift store over time, but some I just can’t part with, like my Eiffel Tower lamp. If you saw my room ten years ago, you know what a big deal getting to see the real thing is for me. So, naturally, I forgot my camera. Fortunately, we didn’t actually make it on a train before I realized.
We can do this.
Coming out of the Metro station, I spotted it immediately, and was off at a dead sprint, Will hollering behind me.
Gratuitous Eiffel Tower shoot begins in 10, 9, ....
They had already closed to the doors to climb up, but I’d rather just stare at it from the outside anyway. I thought it was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen when it was all lit up; imagine the squealing that occurred when suddenly, at 11pm, it exploded in a burst of flashing white lights. It really was the most beautiful, joyous thing I’ve ever seen. Apparently Parisians - who frankly aren’t impressed by anything - thinks it’s a monstrosity. But I’m not Parisian.
Eventually, Will pulled me away, and we enjoyed a beautiful walk home down the right bank of the Seine. It’s not difficult to see why it’s called the City of Lights.
More pictures: https://picasaweb.google.com/nicoleachapman/ParisApril82011?authkey=Gv1sRgCI_i_5as78_-ugE#