9.10.12

travel recap - paris (days 5 and 6)

Hubby describes our fifth day in Europe as "the best day ever".  I have to agree; it was a pretty fantastic day. 

medieval walls of the Louvre


It all started with an early-morning trip to le Louvre.  We knew that we could spend an entire day exploring the museum, but we decided instead to pick out some highlights that we wanted to see and then go and do some shopping followed by a nice, relaxing lunch.

Winged Victory of Samothcrace

Armed with a map of the enormous museum, we set out to visit our selected sights: the Winged Victory of Samothrace, Venus de Milo, the Mona Lisa (of course), some of our favourite paintings from the Romantic era, some of the ancient Egyptian collection, paintings by Vermeer, the medieval Louvre, and the Napoleon Apartments.  I'm surprised that we only spent four hours in the museum and managed to see everything that we wanted.  I'd definitely go back to this museum and see more of the things that we skipped this time around.


The Coronation of Napoleon


After we toured the Napoleon Apartments, Hubby suggested we take a little break and have a coffee and a dessert in one of the cafes located next to the apartments.  I'm so glad that we did this, even if we paid a little more than we would have at a street-side cafe, the food, location, and view couldn't be beat.  We sat outside on the terrace (literally on top of the Louvre), with a view of the iconic glass pyramid and the Eiffel Tower in the distance; it was definitely a "pinch me" moment.

coffee and dessert on top of the Louvre


After our coffees and desserts were finished, we headed back into the museum to finish exploring.  After we had visited all our "must sees" we headed to the Carrousel du Louvre to do some shopping.  We hit up Pylones, Mariage Frères, and Ladurée.

tea shop


With our wallets a little lighter and our tummies a little "grumble-y", we decided it was time for some lunch.  One of my co-workers said that we HAD to try the French Onion Soup and the creme brulee at le Pied de Cochon, so we decided to lunch here since we were in the neighbourhood.  We're so glad that we took her advice.  I will only ever have French Onion Soup at this restaurant, as no other will ever compare.  Warning though, the portions are HUGE, we almost couldn't move after we were finished because we were so full.

After lunch, we walked back to the apartment to rest up a bit and get changed for a fancy dinner out. Hubby's cousin suggested that we try the discovery menu at Kitchen Galleries Bis (KGB for short). It was a little pricey (60 euros each), but well worth the expense and it was a nice treat for a special night out. If you order the discovery menu, the server asks if you have any food allergies, and then the chef prepares a meal (consisting of a number of small appetizers, a fish dish, a meat dish, and a dessert) using the freshest food of the day. I was a little nervous as there were a number of foods that I've never tried before that were presented in front of me: rabbit, duck, and veal. I have to say though, all the food was amazing. With every single bite, Hubby and I both couldn't get over just how good the food tasted, and almost melted in your mouth. If you're in Paris, please go - I'm confident that you won't be disappointed.

After probably the best meal we've both ever eaten, we strolled back through the neighbourhood to the apartment.  A perfect ending to the best day ever.

Day six, and our last real day in Paris, was a quiet one as I was feeling a bit under the weather.  We slept in and took it easy in the morning, and then ventured over to Notre Dame in the afternoon.  The cathedral was magnificent; the amount of detail on the outside was unbelievable and the stained glass was astounding.  What also took me aback about Notre Dame was how quiet the cathedral was, despite the hundreds of people that were inside; it was nice to see everybody respecting the holiness of cathedral.  Unfortunately, we arrived too late in the day to make a trip up to the bell towers, but I guess we do have to save some things for our subsequent trips to Paris.

Notre Dame


After visiting the cathedral, we were a little hungry so we decided to stop at a cafe for a quick crepe, with an unbeatable view of the cathedral.  It was nice to sit side-by-side in the cool shade and study all the little details of the cathedral - details that we didn't notice at first.



Once we finished our crepes, we took a walk to the small garden behind the cathedral and then visited the Deportation Memorial; a memorial to the 200,000 people deported from France to the Nazi concentration camps during WWII.  If you've read the book Sarah's Key, you'll be familiar with this memorial.

inside Notre Dame


We then ended our day with a leisurely stroll back to the apartment, and assembled everything we would need for our early departure to Versailles the next morning.