Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Paris, Day Three - 6/27

To start our third day in Paris with a delicious bang, we came croissants for breakfast. Yum. The trains were (again) running late, but we eventually made it into town. Once we go there, we got off at our trusty Saint Michel/Notre Dame stop and searched for a bolangerie for an early lunch. It's actually more difficult to find them than one might think--not because they're not there, but because they look so much like everything else and it's all squished into the same general area.

Once we'd bought our baguette, we found a good spot at...Notre Dame and ate. Have to say, it was a pretty spectacular view.

After our lunch, we walked across the street (ish; it felt like nothing in France was ever direct) to Sainte Chapelle. We managed to sneak in just before they closed the line for lunch, because in France, most things/some exhibits in museums, close for a few hours in the middle of the afternoon. Awesome if you like long lunches/naps...not so good if you're trying to tour. While we were standing in line, we started talking to the American family in front of us (the family behind us was Portuguese; it was so much fun listening to them talk!); turns out the girl was a senior at UNC! UNC Encounters in France: 2. CRAZY. There was a whole lotta school spirit happening.

Also, we noticed a little pigeon nest in the ledge above the waiting crowd. Mama was across the walkway, calling to them and trying to convince them to fly. Little moments like totally what make trips so special. (:


If you've never been/heard anything about it, Sainte Chapelle is known for their stained glass. As we overheard one of the (British! Squeal.) tour guides saying, "Sainte Chapelle makes Notre Dame look like a tiny little country church". Oh my, was that true.

The ceiling of the Lower Chapel
The Upper Chapel

Closeup of one of the rose windows


Even the floors were gorgeous.
 After Sainte Chapelle, we Métroed (is that a verb?) our way over L'Arc de Triomphe. It's pretty funky--because of the ridiculous traffic around it, you get off on the Arc d'Triomphe Métro stop, venture up from the depths of Paris onto Champs-Élysées...and then go immediately back down again underneath the street and, after buying your ticket in this giant tunnel, emerge in the middle of the Arc. I guess I'd just never thought about how to navigate 100 lanes of traffic.


There are 284 steps, that spiral just like this, to the top.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Paris from the top
After the Arc, we stopped (read: spent three hours) at the Musée d'Orsay on the way home. The museum itself is really cool--it's in a renovated train station. Also cool is the full-scale model of the Opera House they have. Weirdest award definitely goes to their model of Paris though; it's embedded in the floor underneath panes of glass. I saw more than one person walk on the glass floor to get to the Opera model, notice the lights, look down and jump. Too funny.

Graffiti in the Métro station
It definitely seems like there's always something new to discover in Paris; like, you can do so much and see so many things and hear so much history...but there is always something else, some little tidbit you missed. Loving it all.

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