Yesterday we arrived in Paris at 7:05am. As we exited the airport we were greeted by a pick up service, First Way. I highly recommend this business if you are needing a driver to and from the airport. Nicolas was very helpful and spoke to us the entire drive into Paris about must see attractions and was even so kind as to take us on a small driving tour to show us the highlights as we made our way to the apartment. For this stay in Paris, I had a friend in Bangkok suggest we rent an apartment for the week instead of paying for a hotel room. What amazing advice that was! Instead of staying in a cramped hotel room we are living like locals in our one bedroom apartment that is fully furnished with all the amenities! I love the fact that I can walk right outside my door and step onto the metro or go to the boulangerie patisserie and have my pan at chocolat in the morning…. C’est Paris! I would highly recommend Paris Attitude if you are looking to book an apartment stay while visiting Paris.
Our fight arrived very early and we could not check in until 2pm but our hosts were very kind and let us drop off our bags and then we were off exploring our neighborhood. I had no idea how close we were to everything when I booked this location. I had looked at a map but you never realize how close you are until you are out walking in it.
First stop: The Pantheon was originally built as a church dedicated to St. Genevieve (who is the patron saint of Paris and the kings of France), but after “many changes now combines liturgical functions with its role as a famous burial place.” In the bottom of the Pantheon lies the crypt that houses the remains of Voltaire, Madame Marie Currie and Victor Hugo just to name a few! The architecture and the detail work at the Pantheon is breathtaking.
Second stop: Le Jardin de Luxembourg was recommended by our driver that morning. He said it was one of the most beautiful places in Paris and boy was he right. After a tiny nap in the stroller Killian was ready to get out and run around and he was able to do just that in the jardin. The Luxembourg Gardens was commissioned by Marie de Medicis in 1612 and covers over 56.81 acres. As we ran, Killi does not walk he only runs, around the garden we saw people having picnics, artists painting (like right out of what you see in a movie), kids playing with boats in the fountain and a cute little stand where we could get a cafe. Below is a picture of a large coffee, cute right? (I think it was the size of a bathroom Dixie cup.)
After a nap time break we decided to go for a walk down to the River Seine. Within ten minutes we were at the river and to our amazement there was Notre Dame! We decided to go check it out since we were so close and had no other plans and I am so glad we did because I was able to catch the last few minutes of a beautiful mass.
Third stop: The Cathedral de Norte Dame is probably one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in my life. I’m a sucker for an old, beautifully ornate Catholic Church. I saw some beautiful churches in Ireland that took my breath away but nothing like what I saw yesterday at Notre Dame. As we entered the church I could smell the incense that they had just used at the alter and it felt like home. We walked in a little further and there were candles lit everywhere and as we continued along the perimeter of the sanctuary I saw a small crowd having evening mass. The mass was in French but I knew every word and responded from the side lines along with the congregation. I thought I would be able to take part in communion as well but they had that section roped off. No matter, I sat and watched the rest of the mass and thanked God for the ability to go anywhere in the world and still have the same experience that I have at home. The catholic mass is truly universal. The architecture was amazing and the photos I have to show you now are from my iPhone and do not do the beauty of this place justice but I will have great pictures to add to the blog in a few weeks when I get home to my computer. There is an option to climb the stairs to the top of the cathedral but when we were visiting yesterday the church was closed directly after mass and Chris and I decided that 423 stairs to the top might be a little hard for us with Killi.
On our way back to the apartment we stopped for dinner at a local cafe. It was expensive, everything in Paris is expensive, but delicious. I have learned a valuable lesson and that is not order water while you are out, it is very expensive and it would be cheaper for you to order a couple glasses of wine and not to mention more fun!