01 Feb Notre Dame and More Gal Pal Favorites!
Corrie and I woke up and enjoyed our last breakfast in Paris – we leave tomorrow at o’dark thirty as my husband and I have called super early mornings since our Navy days. Lisa was snug as a bug in bed enjoying a little extra sleep since she was spending the day with gal pal Catherine while Corrie and I head off to Notre Dame and Île Saint-Louis.
The comparisons between Sacre Coeur (see my earlier blog for a description) and Notre Dame are limited. Both are impressive in magnitude with incredible architectural feats, and both have beautiful stained glass mosaics, but that is where the similarities end. Notre Dame is the more somber of the two with its gothic figures watching your every move. It’s serious, dark and very haunting. I would not say haunting in a scary way; I would say haunting in a way where your mind focuses intensely on the sights, sounds and smells so much that you forget that other people are around. Your thoughts conjure up images of the mysteries that lie beneath the floors and behind the private walls. The mystique of this famous church is solidified when you hear the organs play during mass and listen to the Gregorian hymns being sung by its parishioners while smelling the same incense burning that ties you to all the people who have entered through these doors for hundreds of years. We lit candles in this holy place for our private intentions hoping that all the saints are looking over us and interceding on our behalf! When in a French speaking place, I always think of Miss Johnson my French teacher at Notre Dame Academy who taught us to pray in French beginning with the sign of the cross: Un nom du Père, du fils, et du Saint Esprit Amen. Thank you Miss Johnson for giving me the ability to pray all over the world!
Sundays are great days to spend in Paris strolling from Notre Dame over one of the bridges to Île Saint-Louis which is a naturally shaped island in the middle of the Seine River. There is one main street down the middle called Rue St. Louis which has a few shops, restaurants, cafes and ice cream parlors.
No visit to Paris would be complete for the gal pals without a stop at our favorite place to buy unique scarves. Bamyan Galerie is more than just a scarf shop; it sells textiles and some furniture, but we think their scarves are divine! Check out their selection in the photo! The couple that runs this shop will show you many different ways to tie your scarves which shows them off and makes your outfit distinct. The scarves are stiff in their natural state and can do amazing things when tied in interesting ways. If you don’t like the stiffness they will instruct you on how to wash them and then turn them back to their original texture. I purchased two – one for me and one for gal pal Lisa who was unable to join us today. If she saw mine and wanted it, she might just pack it “by accident” in her suitcase so really this was just to ensure I get to go home with one of these gems! It is located on at 72, Rue St. Louis en l’Isle, 75004.
Oliviers & Co. or O & Co. for short, is a specialty gourmet shop that has a its roots in the French countryside of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. There are a few locations in Paris and even some in the US, but, our favorite location is 28, Rue Buci, 75006. That location is currently under construction so we stopped at their shop located at 81, Rue St Louis en l’Isle, 75004. Their love affair with natural ingredients shines through in all of their products. They have staple pantry items to help season all of your homemade cooking which they gather from all parts of Europe. I look forward all year to purchasing my favorite salt (Fleur de Sel sea salt from Portugal) from their imaginative beautifully displayed store! I have included their link in my favorite places and hope you enjoy shopping there too.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for Berthillon ice cream! Maison Berthillon has been serving the best ice cream and sorbets in Europe since 1954 from its wonderful location at 31, Rue St Louis en l’Isle, 75004. They have a wonderful tea room where you can sit and sample all their delicious treats. They also sell some fabulous sweets such as flavored honey, fruity lollipops and decadent chocolate sauce which Corrie and I stocked up on for gifts to bring back home. Have I used the word amazing too much in my blog? Probably, but I have to use it again here folks because Berthillon is just amazing!!!