Paris, day 7

It’s hard to believe that my trip is at its end! I’ve done nothing but museum-hop and eat for the past week. Yesterday morning, I went to the Musee de l’Orangerie to catch a glimpse of Monet’s famous Waterlilies, although the museum contains an impressive collection of Impressionist works as well. Enough to compensate for the fact that I couldn’t get to Giverny this trip, as it’s not open at this time of year.

I walked through the Tuileries gardens (thanks to the automated announcer in the Paris Metro, I now know the correct pronunciation of “Tuileries!”). I went back to the Louvre to check out the medieval sculptures and Northern European art, and ate a croque monsieur sandwich at the cafe there. Although it was my second visit on this trip, I definitely didn’t think I’d seen enough of the Louvre!

I walked across the street to the gardens of the Palais Royale and the shops in the colonnade. One of the end scenes of the 1963 movie Charade (with Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, and Walter Mathau) took place in the colonnade, and I will definitely be re-watching the movie when I get back to Philly (that chase scene in the Metro station!).


In the late afternoon, I went to the Musee de Arts et Metier, an industrial design museum near my apartment that showcases various inventions throughout the ages. On display, especially, is Faucault’s Pendulum. Half of the museum is a converted church, and the museum was definitely one of the more interesting museums I visited in Paris!

For dinner, I went back to my favorite crepe place and then it was back to the studio to pack. I’m flying back to the land of the lady pictured above today!



Paris, day 6

Yesterday, I found a little cafe I like: Loustic, which is in my neighborhood in the Marais. It’s decorated in this bohemian style, with an eclectic mix of chairs and tables. I had a latte glace and read my book for a while. Then, I took the Metro to the Musee d’Orsay, and spent the rest of my morning there among the Impressionists and Post-impressionists.

I went back to Shakespeare and Company to buy a book I’d been thinking about since my last visit and had lunch in the cafe next door.

In the afternoon, I went to Pere Lachaise cemetery, looking for the tombs of Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde, two of Pere Lachaise’s most famous residents. Other people buried there include the singer Edith Pfiaf, Gertrude Stein, Moliere, Modigliani, Chopin, Abelard and Heloise, and Marcel Proust, among many, many others. The only requirement to be buried in Pere Lachaise is to be a resident of Paris or die here, although, with anywhere from 300,000 to 1 million people buried here, space is at a premium. Often, it’s not uncommon to reopen tombs to put another coffin inside it. I did find Oscar Wilde’s tomb, but got lost looking for Jim Morrison’s. But getting lost was half the fun of the cemetery.

Until next time!


Paris, day 5

This morning, I walked up to Montmartre to have a look around the Basilica of Sacre-Coeur. Built in 1870 as a form of penance for the defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian war, Sacre-Coeur towers over the rest of Paris, giving panoramic views of the city. I walked around Montmartre for about 20 minutes, took the funicular back down the hill, and took the Metro to the Moulin Rouge to gaze at its famous exterior.

I walked around Montmartre cemetery as the rain began to fall. I found the tombs of Emile Zola, Edgar Degas, and Alexandre Dumas, fils.

Then, I took the Metro up to the Basilica of Saint Denis. It was one of the first Gothic cathedrals in Europe and the burial place of the kings and queens of France.

Until next time…



Yesterday, I took the regional train to Versailles early, in the hopes of getting there before the crowds got to be too much. The chateau seems to be a bit of a tourist trap, but I wanted to see it just so I could say I have. It was, after all, the center of royal power in the 17th and 18th centuries.

When I arrived, however, the tour groups were pouring in by the busload. Still, the palace is large enough that the hordes of people didn’t become too overwhelming. I walked around the palace (I didn’t do the audio-guided tour) and gardens, which are a labyrinth in and of themselves. I wanted to visit the Estate of Trianon and le Petit Hameau (a village Marie Antoinette built so that she could live like a peasant, never mind that the real peasants were starving), but they weren’t open yet and I was getting cold from spending a lot of time out in the gardens. Because it was Sunday, local people were out running, walking their dogs, and bicycling.

I walked into the center of town to look for some lunch. I found a patisserie and bought a quiche. There was this roundabout with a small park and benches in it, and I found a seat. Nearby was this older man who said “bon apetit” to me. So, of course, I said “merci” to him. He walked over to me and began babbling in French, to which I replied, “I’m sorry, I don’t speak French.” The old man didn’t appear to know any English, as he kept talking away in rapid, slurred French, repeating the word “allemand” over and over. So I don’t know if he thought I was German or what!

Until next time…


Paris, day 3

Yesterday morning, I went to the Catacombs, an ossuary that home to more than 6 million skeletons that are stacked on top of one another. The stacks of bones (from the 18th and 19th centuries) go on and on for miles. It’s actually a bit creepy down there (you really do have to have a strong stomach, as the guidebook suggests), but in a way, it was extremely cool.


Then, I did a little shopping on the Champs Elysees for my niece…

Followed by a quick stroll through the galleries of the Palais Royale, lunch, and an afternoon in the Louvre Museum. I’ve been here before, but only got to see the Mona Lisa and a few other things, so I really enjoyed taking my time to explore the museum further. Since the museum is so large, however, it’s one of those attractions you have to do in several visits, doing one section of the museum here and another there. I explored the Egyptian galleries and got to see the foundations of the medieval fortress of the Louvre, but I’ll definitely be back later to see more of the museum.

Until next time!


Paris, day 2

Yesterday morning, I explored the Ile de la Cite–starting with Notre Dame Cathedral. Then, I went into the Archeological Crypt, which showcases the archeology of Paris from Roman times (when the city was called Lutetia) until the medieval period. It was a really fascinating display of how this city has transformed over the ages. Then, I went to La Chapelle and the Conciergerie, where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned during the French Revolution.

I crossed the Seine to the Left Bank, where I browsed in Shakespeare and Company, followed by lunch in the cafe next door. I loved the place mat on my tray (shown below). Then, I walked further south, to the Cluny Museum, and spent my afternoon there among the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries, among other treasures of the middle ages, from art to everyday objects.

In the evening, I had a salmon crepe and a bowl of cider at this creperie in the Marais I’d heard about, which was excellent.

Until next time!



So I’m here, and Paris is just wonderful. After a delayed takeoff from Philly, I arrived in Paris at around 9 am. The day was overcast, but from the air, I could see Le Havre shining in the pre-dawn, looking like the head of a dog. In Paris, I took the train from Charles de Gaulle airport to my Airbnb in the haut Marais district.

In researching this trip, I quickly fell in love with the Marais district, with its old cobblestoned streets and medieval buildings. The Marais is composed to two different arondissements: the third and fourth. My apartment (not shown in any of these photos) is in one of these buildings, in the quieter part of the Marais. It’s tucked away at the back of the building it’s in, overlooking a quiet courtyard, and it is right down the street from the (allegedly) oldest stone house in Paris, once owned by Nicholas Flamel (also not shown in any of these photos).

Then, I went for a stroll in the neighborhood, stopping for a chorozo (translation: pepperoni), Emmentaler cheese, and egg galette (a savory buckwheat crepe) along the way. It tasted pretty good. There are so many windey little roads in this part of Paris that it’s easy to get lost–not that I minded, as Paris is a very enjoyable city to get lost in! I love history, medieval history, and I love seeing it personified in the architecture (but then you turn a corner and there’s a Tudor half-timber frame house. The surprises are what make this city so exciting).

Despite my aimlessness, I still had to plans to visit the Victor Hugo house on Place de Vosges. He lived there from 1932 to 1848. The apartment is small, but the permanent collection features a variety of paintings that Hugo amassed in his lifetime, as well as the oriental room shown above. I also did a bit of window shopping at a children’s (and adults’) clothing shop called Petit Bateau. In Paris at this time of year, the shop windows advertise “soldes,” or the winter sales. A lot of the shops seemed to have many customers, so the post-holiday sales seem to have a similar effect as Black Friday in the US does.

After, I went back to my apartment and took a short nap. Right now, there’s a child outside my window, serenading his neighbors with a post-holiday rendition of “Jingle Bells.” Tonight, I’ll head out to find something to eat before going to bed early. It’s been a long day!

Until next time…