We headed to Paris on Monday and Tuesday last week, after making a quick overnight trip to stay at our friend Jodi's apartment in Brussels (more on Brussels later).
Paris was incredibly beautiful and so overwhelming. The city is oozing with culture, charm and character everywhere you turn. We did our best to see the big sites and totally tired ourselves out after two days of walking everywhere. Next time we go, we'll vacation in the European way and savor our time in the city!
After checking in at our hotel, we walked over to the Eiffel Tower to begin our tour of the city and then took a city bus to Notre Dame to start our sightseeing.
The church is even more impressive from the back.
Isn't the Rose window gorgeous?
Lighting a candle in remembrance of my grandma who passed away earlier this year. I know that she would have loved to attend Mass here.
We spent most of the morning doing Rick Steves historic Paris walking tour. We were both a little confused about the directions, but were able to see most of the stops that he highlighted. We took a little break in the afternoon to have our first Parisian croissant and pan du chocolat at a boulangerie in the Latin Quarter. Both were excellent and now I know why everyone raves about them! Seriously, they were so delicious!
After finishing the walking tour, we headed to the Louvre. We had debated whether or not to go to this museum as it's pretty intimidating. In the end, we made a quick trip to see the Mona Lisa and were in and out of the museum in about 45 minutes. We had purchased the Paris Museum Pass beforehand, so we were able to see lots of museums at one set price, with no waiting in lines.
The Mona Lisa is that tiny painting on the wall on the right. Can you see it?
Tourists taking pictures with the Mona Lisa
Jon and I doing the same.
After the Louvre, we got our first baguette and headed off to the Centre Pompideau. This modern and contemporary art museum is considered an eyesore by many Parisians (it definitely doesn't blend in with the city), but Jon and I liked it because it was a great visual break from the rest of the city. There are great views of the city from the outside and lots of fun art inside. Our friend, Jodi, begged us to go and visit and we were so glad that we did!
On Monday night, we took the Metro to the Trocadero and saw the Eiffel Tower lit up at night and the stunning light show that happens every hour. It was gorgeous.
After viewing the light show, we headed back to our hotel and miraculously ran into my friend, Erica, in the Paris metro. She and her friend had stopped in Paris on their way back to the States after a Mediterranean cruise. I still can't believe that we bumped into each other like that! What are the odds?
On Tuesday morning, we trekked up to Sacre Coeur to see the beautiful cathedral and climb the tower. The church was gorgeous and the views from the tower were amazing. Jon and I are both slightly claustrophobic and slightly afraid of heights, but the cramped and narrow spiraling stairs (300 steps) up to the top of the tower was totally worth it for the view.
Nothing beats an ivy covered building in the fall!
We were very tired at this point in time from all of the sightseeing!
After lunch, we headed back into the city and saw the Rodin Museum:
In front of "The Gates of Hell"
Les Invalides and Napoleon's tomb:
We got in trouble with the Police for taking this photo. Apparently tripod tourist pictures are not allowed!
Napolean's Tomb...so huge for such a tiny guy!
We finished up our museum hopping by stopping at the Musee d'Orsay.
This and the Centre Pompideau were our favorite museums in Paris. The Musee d'Orsay is a train station converted into a museum and is such a great space. The museum houses lots of famous impressionist works and it was fun to finally get to see them in person.
We ended our time in Paris with a trip to Laduree for French macaroons and a dinner at a caf√© on the Champs Elysees. I am exhausted just writing this post...I can't believe we actually saw all of this in less than 48 hours! See the rest of the photos on flickr: here.