We woke up at the crack of dawn, as my boyfriend had to catch a flight back home for work; leaving me on what would become my first semi-solo trip ever. After grabbing coffee and McGriddles (just the syrup filled bread guys. As in, no sausage sold at this McDonalds) and bidding adieu to him at the RER line, which he’d take over to Charles de Gaulle Airport, I figured there was no better time than the present to head over to the Lourve.
The way I’d describe the courtyard surrounding the Louvre early in the morning, is mid-day at a block party, mid-summer. There were lines of impatient children and some impatient parents in every direction. Children were jumping barefoot in the fountain. And I even some one family that did the unimaginable in Paris…yes, wear matching Family Reunion 2016 tees.
Though I had planned every other day perfectly, I didn’t get into the Louvre. Not that I couldn’t have, but 98 degree weather is not the place to wait in these lines. Top of my list for my next trip to Paris: skip-the-line or pre-booked tickets. I did get offered a discount skip-the-line ticket but what seemed to be a sweet couple whose friend couldn’t make the trip, but being from New York, I’m very weary when it comes to buying tickets off of people. But the Louvre is still magnificent from the outside.
After stopping at the local Franprix and G20 for a few small groceries and toiletries for the apartment, I made the mistake of laying down for a minute. I’m not sure if it was the heat or the days prior finally catching up to me, but I ended up falling asleep for about an hour.
Finally I re-collected myself and hopped aboard the metro to Cite. If only the New York subway had such specific stops, I wouldn’t encounter so many lost tourists per commute.
Let me start by saying that the Île de la Cité ended up being one of my favorite parts of Paris and I could’ve spent at least two days there, just strolling along the streets.
First stop on my agenda: Notre Dame de Paris
For most, it may be the Eiffel Tower, but for me when I think of quintessential Paris, I think of Notre Dame. I was also the only child who obsessed over the Disney adaption of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which I feel was such a ridiculously underrated film within the franchise. But most fifth graders probably weren’t heartbroken watching Quasimodo harassed by society for a flaw that he had no control over. But that’s for another rant. Notre Dame de Paris really is one of those sites that just make you feel very “Wow, I’m really here” and I actually sat down, even in the heat, and just enjoyed being in the presence of such a structure for a few minutes.
I strolled across the small island, taking in sites of the Concierge and Sainte-Chapelle Cathedral before crossing the Pont St.-Louis to the Île Saint-Louis. The heat was finally getting to me and I had a destination in mind: Berthillon. Unlike what I’d heard about lines, there was only one family in front of me to order the famous ice cream I’d seen numerous Instagram photos of. Though I was leaning towards chocolate, I made a last second decision to try the apricot sorbet in a cone. You guys, if my eyes were closed I would’ve sworn I was biting into an apricot. If I ever went back, I might even consider missing out on a new flavor, just to have another scoop (or two) this.
After regretfully finishing my sorbet, I took short walk to Shakespeare & Co. It was hard to not start humming the opening song from Beauty & the Beast, because that’s exactly the vibe this bookstore gave off. Little tidbit on myself: I will literally never not walk into a bookstore that I pass. I also can’t leave without buying a book; which is why I ended up leaving with Asylum by Moriz Scheyer, The Drone Eats with Me: A Gaza Diary by Atef Abu Saif and a nicely covered version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
I may have hit all my destinations but I wasn’t through with this beautiful part of Paris just yet. I spent the next hour strolling along the River Seine admiring all the various artwork and used books being sold; and, as an avid people watcher, admiring all the different people as they admired Paris. There were families, and couples of various stages and even some solo travelers, similar to myself.
Hands down, one of my favorite days in Paris.
The remainder of the night was spent munching on salami and fresh cheese and baguettes in my apartment and watching re-runs of Skins on Netflix.
A relaxing end to an amazing day.
Read about the rest of our Paris escapade:
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