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July 25, 2015 / Jim Fenton

Europe Day 18: Paris Sightseeing

Saturday, June 20, 2015

A few of the Sainte Chapelle windows

A few of the Sainte Chapelle windows

We planned today as a touristy day, and fortunately it didn’t have the drama of yesterday. We began at the venerable Notre Dame cathedral, arriving during a mass that limited our movements but gave us an opportunity to hear the organ and other music. I particularly enjoyed an exhibit showing the stages of construction of the cathedral over hundreds of years. After walking around the inside and part of the outside, we ventures to Sainte Chapelle, about a block away, where we were rewarded with a short line to get into this wonderful chapel that seems like it’s entirely composed of stained glass windows.

We walked to the former location of the Bastille just to take a look at the monument, then back along the Rue du Rivoli to the Louvre, stopping for lunch along the way. We really didn’t have time for the Louvre, so we passed through it and the Tuileries Gardens on the way to the Orsay Museum. We had visited the Orsay several years ago for an IETF social event, and were delighted to return. Right away we found ourselves at the Monet paintings of his garden and water lilies, which had special meaning for us having just been to Giverny.

Celeste admiring the Paris Opera House model

Celeste admiring the Paris Opera House model

With Celeste’s recent work on drama productions, some of the Degas paintings depicting backstage life were her favorites. She also marveled at a detailed model of the Paris Opera House that was on display.

We still hadn’t found an appropriate place for crèpes. While there were some stands around that had sweet (dessert) crèpes, we hadn’t found a place with savory crèpes. We walked into one of the neighborhoods that had been recommended to us and eventually found a restaurant on Rue de Seine that served galettes, which were the buckwheat crèpes we had back in Normandy. It was a small family-run restaurant, and we had a pleasant dinner (although some of us weren’t as keen on the buckwheat as others).

We caught the Métro back over to the Eiffel Tower, ran the gauntlet of street vendors and scams, and encountered a long line. It was getting late, we had packing to do for our departure tomorrow, and we wanted to traverse the neighborhood near our hotel before dark. So we bid au revoir to the Eiffel Tower, took some pictures, and returned via the Métro, sharing a dessert crèpe along the way.

This article is part of a series about our recent vacation in Europe. To see the introductory article in the series, click here.

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