27 Jan Day Two: One of the best ever!
Gal pals woke up at eight o’clock in the morning to shower and be ready to have our first breakfast in Paris and hit the road by ten o’clock. We loaded up on ham and cheese croissants and excellent freshly brewed coffee with warm cream. We downed a few glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice and then made our way to the train station headed for Sacre Coeur.
Corrie and I navigated the Métro easily and jumped off at the bottom of the hill for Montmartre. We climbed each and every one of the 225+ steps to reach the entrance to the basilica. I am drawn to this church each year for reasons I am not exactly sure of, but my best guess is that this church seems to celebrate the life of Jesus and is inclusive of women like no other Catholic church I have been in. Usually churches show the death and resurrection of Jesus with Mary and the disciples around. Sacre Coeur shows a vibrant Jesus and looking down on us with a human yet angelic face of peace. Around him are the disciples and Mary, but there are also many other religious women and men. It’s a very inclusive mosaic on the domed ceiling that is uniquely bright and cheerful. We stopped to light candles in front of the tribute to St. Theresa and sat in a pew to pray for a bit before leaving this magnificent monument to the love of the Sacred Heart. No matter your religion this special place must included in your Paris itinerary!
Another great thing about heading to Monmartre is that other than the Eiffel Tower this is the highest point in Paris with an incredible view. This gives you a sense of the just how beautiful the city is, but also how densely populated it is.
We walked back down the hill and headed for the Métro off to the Place de la Concorde. We popped out of the station into the wonders of the old world Paris. Corrie was amazed to be able to see the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, The Musée D’Orsay and Place de la Concorde all before her. Which photos do we take first? We made our way to each of the areas of this octagon and rested a bit in between in the gardens by the fountains.
Since we had toured the Louvre the day before we decided to walk over to the D’Orsay. Corrie was particularly interested in Degas’ paintings of the ballerinas. She had a calendar as a child of his work and was a ballerina so it was fantastic to see her eyes become large like saucers looking at everything. We went into each exhibition and left no piece un-adored. The contemporary furniture was particularly enjoyable to gander at, but even my gal pal Mary who collects modern art would pass on a few of the more risqué pieces on display.
Our senses were a bit overwhelmed between the stair climbing, outdoor sight-seeing in the bright but cold winter day and the viewing of so many important pieces of art so we decided it was time for lunch and to get off our feet for a bit to re-group. We walked back to the St. Germain area via the back streets and headed straight for the Café de Flores. Gal pal Corrie loved her meal which included the Quiche of the day, salad and hot chocolate. I had the same, but some Bordeaux as well – because I could! We visited the gift shop at the café and headed back out feeling rested and full.
Don’t you know we walked right past Gerard Darel – it won’t hurt to take a peek now will it? No it won’t, we decided. Some of the spring collection was in and this spring the colors will be a “mauvey” pink, a navy blue and a lighter blue. Yeah – my colors! Winter items were on sale – big time sale! And guess what? The “du du” as they call them that I had been wanting since last year was on sale and in my size!!! You bet I bought it and wore it out of the store, putting my rain coat in the shopping bag. It’s black with a removable fur collar and cool belt. What a day the gal pals were having and it’s not even close to being over!
Corrie reminded me that we needed to walk past a restaurant I like to make a reservation for dinner for Saturday so we head over there. It’s right across the street from Hotel Belloy and for the life of me I cannot remember the name of the joint so we are going to walk past and make sure we get it correct. Last year this gal pal almost died there – seriously, I had to do the Heimlich maneuver on myself just in time. Ahem…my gal pals did not know how to perform this last year and sat hopelessly discussing how they did not know how to help me while I was dying. One is now requiring that all gal pals read up on this before attending any future Paris trips. Anyway, I digress…
After we walked past and grabbed a business card for the Bouillon des Colonies, we headed over to check out the French equivalent of the Gap called Naf Naf. Corrie and I went to town looking for bargains where virtually everything in the store on sale at 60-70% off. Woo hoo! We came away with a few staple wool items that were cute and ready to wear and since it’s cold outside we will definitely have a chance to break them in right away.
Lisa was due to meet us around 4:00pm at Café de Paris so it was time to head over there. We had just a few minutes for us to pop into a great little shoe shop where Corrie found a pair of boots that she is in complete and utter love with. One problem – they do not have them in her size in the color she wants. Poor Corrie – but have no fear, there are at least another 500 shoe shops we have not been to yet and we plan to shop all day Saturday with the very talented shoe expert Lisa. She can smell the leather of a good boot a mile away. How many more days until Saturday? One!!!
Yes, Lisa was at the café and she was very pleased with our purchases thus far. I ordered Bordeaux, Lisa had a Kir (yuk) and Corrie another hot chocolate and made our introductions of the newest gal pal to the oldest gal pal – whoops, I mean the most seasoned gal pal. We were laughing and enjoying each other so much but finally it was time to change and head for dinner at a restaurant I have never been to before – L’Epi Dupin. We are meeting gal pal Catherine, who lives in Paris, at the restaurant so we don’t want to be late. Plus, from what we have heard about this busy place, we cannot be late or we won’t be seated. I have very high expectations for this restaurant since it came highly recommended. It was cold, but we walked anyway. For the record, I was weakening as my legs were killing me from the stairs this morning and the subsequent walking, but I agreed to walk because Lisa is so assertive. Soooo, to get her back I decided to ask every few steps, “Are we there yet?” until we arrived.
Amazing – this restaurant L’Epi Dupin! I won’t go into it here as I have already written about it on it’s own page under my blog’s favorite restaurants. Loved it and gal pals all gave it the thumbs up so it must be fab!
Walking, walking, walking back to the Café de Paris with all four of us was actually very fun. Not sure if it was all the good food and wine at dinner or just the combination of the company that made the walk much shorter on the way back. I was just thankful to get off my tired feet. Corrie and I lasted until after two o’clock in the morning, but as usual Lisa was no where ready for bed so she and Catherine hung out down in the parlor of the hotel chatting until three I think.
Loyal blog readers I can tell you this – hands down this was the best complete day/night ever in Paris. I have had many a great day and good night or vice versa, but never a complete “A” rated experience from waking moment to sleep like this. Fabulous really and not sure I could ever outdo this one but I will try!!!