Alright, another travelogue post. Pictures from Paris. The last time I went to Paris was 19 years ago while I was living in London as a student. And I totally loved it. As excited as I was to go back again, I was slightly worried that I had romanticized it in my adolescent mind and that it wouldn’t be quite as wonderful as I remembered it. Well I’m happy to say that I was wrong. Paris really is all that and a bag of chips. I loved it just as much as an adult and it was that much better being with my Italian lover (aka: my husband.)
I loved the big icons of Paris: Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, even the classic French Onion soup and escargots (snails – I didn’t try them.)
But the small details of Paris are equally charming and wonderful: book sellers along the Seine, historical monuments, grabbing sorbet on the go, etc. Above left are ‘love-locks’ on one of the bridges where couples put a lock on the bridge and throw the key into the Seine as a symbol of their undying love.
We only had a day and a half in Paris, but is was enough to see almost everything we’d hoped to see. We’d seen weather reports that our day 2 would be cold and windy, so we saved the museums for that day and tried to cover as much territory outside that we could on day 1. It was a spectacularly gorgeous fall day and we walked from Ile de la Cite (the oldest part of Paris where Notre Dame is located), through the Latin Quarter, up the Seine past the Louvre, through the Tuileries gardens to Place de la Concorde (above with the obelisk), rode the bus up the Champs Elysees, climbed to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, walked down to the Trocedero, across the bridge and under the Eiffel Tower, ate some food, and took a night boat ride on the Seine. I was so pooped I almost fell asleep multiple times on the boat (not super-romantic.)
It was such beautiful weather that I really wished we could have just sat in chairs around the fountains at the Tuileries and soaked in the sun and people-watched, but there was not a minute to spare.
Notre Dame cathedral (top) and Sainte Chappelle (bottom). Notre Dame is impressive – especially it’s size considering how and when it was built 800+ years ago, but I’m especially particular to Sainte Chappelle known for it’s incredible stained glass walls. I was equally charmed by the tile floors.
Day 2 we hit the Museums starting with the Musee d’Orsay, dedicated to art from the 19th century and housed in a beautiful old Beaux-Arts train station. (It’s the building on the left in the picture above, across the river from the Louvre.) This one is my favorite – particularly the Impressionists and most specifically, the Van Gogh’s. I’ve always loved his vibrant, primary colors and realized those are the colors that I’m most drawn to when creating for myself. So me and Vincent must be kindred spirits. Good old Whistler’s Mother and her shades of gray would fit right into current popular color palettes.
From there we went to the Orangerie to see Monet’s massive Water-lily murals (no pics) and then to Les Invalides (RIP Napoleon) and the Rodin gardens. Those gardens were wonderful – I had never been there before. Another place I could have just sat and soaked up the Parisien ambiance had there been more time.
Our last stop of the whole trip was the Louvre – the grand-daddy of art museums. My husband was such a trooper. Art museums are not his ‘thing’, but he was so supportive of me going to all of them. I was a Humanities major in college and loved studying art history and literature and all that fun stuff. But I will admit, even I had my fill of art and culture by the end of the day. I did find some nice quilty-inspiration in the parquet floor of the Louvre though…
I loved just taking in the ambiance of that city. We stayed on Rue Cler (between Les Invalides and the Eiffel Tower) in a not fancy, but totally great little hotel – Grand Hotel Leveque. The location was so central and I loved all the cafes and vendors along Rue Cler – a pedestrian-only street. I studied French and was quasi-fluent years ago, and very rusty now, but by the end of our trip I was feeling more comfortable and confident. I even ordered and transacted everything in French (neanderthal version, I’m sure) at a bakery one morning and was quite pleased with myself.
So there you go. Paris in a nutshell.
When I got home I was excited to see these Paris fat quarters had arrived from Poppy Seed Fabrics while I was gone. I hadn’t done much shopping (other than an museum gift shop here or there) in Paris, so now I can make my own little memorable souvenirs of a happy trip.
Post edit: And of course I found out about quilt shops in Paris after I came home. Here is the info thanks to reader Mariana Nortje: Le Rouvray, 6 Ru des Grandes Degres, off the Quai de la Tournelle. On the left Bank, 5th Arr. The road is almost exactly opposite the bridge, the Pont de l”Archeche that connects the Ille de la Citie to the left bank where the Museum for the Deportation of the Jews and it is also very close to where Boulevard Saint Germaine run into the Quai de la Tournelle. There is also one in the 11th Arr., La Boutique du Patchwork, 37 Rue Saint Ambroise.
If you’re looking for other travel tips and insights to Paris, or just more pretty pictures of France, visit Stephmodo for lots of suggestions and eye-candy.