The closest I have ever been to Paris was in Las Vegas at the Hotel Paris.
When booking our return flight home from London, Hubby found out that British Airways offered a less expensive flight home with a stopover in Paris, so we decided to go for two days rather than not at all.
The flight is less than an hour from London. We hopped in a taxi to get to our hotel. It was raining but I was ready with an umbrella and comfortable boots. About ten minutes later I looked to the right and there it was-
The Eiffel Tower!
It seemed so much shorter than I expected but still was exciting to see.
To make our trip easier, my friend Kathy, who is from France made us a terrific itinerary complete with photos, street names, and metro lines. She really nailed it!
She suggested we stay near the “Latin Quarter” which is an historic area with lots of beautiful architecture, quaint shops and close to Notre Dame. We stayed at the boutique Melia Colbert, 7 Rue del’Hotel 75005 Paris.
It was across the street from the cathedral and all of the staff was courteous and multi-lingual as was everyone we encountered.
This was the view from the room
We got there at 8 a.m., dropped off our bags and started our day of walking.
One block away was the main street . We stopped in a cafe to have “American” coffee, ( a shot of espresso in a coffee cup with a little pitcher of milk to dilute it) and croissants, (the best!)
Sitting in the cafe, we could see the Notre Dame Cathedral.
Architecturally, it is a spectacular example of Gothic style with wonderful detail. The inside was not as elaborate as I expected but still had beautiful examples of craftsmanship including the world famous stained glass windows.
Inside, as expected, were oversize paintings, statuary, chandeliers and relics
Upon leaving the Cathedral, we came upon these magnificent gates.
They turned out to be the entrance to the complex of the Sainte-Chappelle, an unexpected but very interesting destination. As quoted on their website; http://saintechapelle.monuments-nationaux.fr/
“a masterpiece of Flamboyant Gothic architecture built by Saint Louis in the heart of the Palais de la Cité on the Ile de la Cité in Paris. Discover its unique stained glass windows rendering the air iridescent with light and colour, symbols of the Heavenly Jerusalem”
Such inspiration of color and Gothic motifs! Enter through a very old and narrow stairway..
and step back in time to this-
Look up to the ceilings hand painted with fleur de lis
Gothic columns and arches everywhere!
The same motifs continue throughout on the windows
and the exterior stone.
If I had stayed a Textile Designer, I would have had a whole collection made by now!
These are details of the hardware on the entry doors.
Next to the chapel is a museum of paintings from the life of Saint Louis.
We walked back to the hotel to check in, had more coffee and croissants, then to the metro Line 1 and got off at the entrance to the Champs De Elysee. That night began a Christmas festival with tents lining both sides of the entire avenue.
A large Ferris Wheel was erected for the festivities and the night sky was all aglow.
This is my money shot of the Eiffel Tower rain, fog and all-
We hadn’t had dinner yet because we didn’t want to waste time in a restaurant.This was the perfect place to eat but to make a decision was not easy. We would walk the entire thing and then decide what to have.
First up was oysters, one of my favorites
Cheese and more cheese!
What is cheese without wine and champagne?
True smoked salmon
and grilled sausage…
What would France be without crepes?
or macaroons? They weren’t from Laduree but still looked yummy!
There really is a Chocolate Heaven!
The Santa of Liberty and Beer
A Human Snow Globe
While crossing the street I spotted this building which was an art gallery.
I could live here.
a skating rink was still under construction but was looking like fun
Dinner turned out to be the grilled sausage with sauteed onions on a baguette.
We got back onto the metro to the Hotel Deville and walked back to our hotel. Day one was already a memory. Tomorrow would be the Marche aux Puces, the world renowned flea/antique market and the town of. Montmarte.
It was a tiring but fun first day in Paris. That night I was going through my photos and starting to plan my blog and remembered this-
I almost forgot I was in Paris and felt like I was back in New York.
I flew all the way to Paris to see Hermes, Chanel, Dior, Louboutin and St. Laurent…. NOT Michael Kors. He is everywhere. Europeans LOVE their Michael. Instead of Louis Vuitton, even the street vendors sell Michael Kors knock offs! Very ironic…
But I must have my say.
First of all, Michael, save the advertising for media, not beautiful buildings. Second, Michael, stick to fashion. We already have someone who drapes buildings in fabric.
And if you are going to drape a building at least do the whole thing..
Michael should hire Christos to do this to him-
Check back for 48 hours in Paris, part deux!