Ever have those days where everything just seems to fall into place? Day three in Paris was one of those magical days where you half-expect a confetti canon to shoot you in the face. I awoke slightly better-rested (still fighting a cold after all these weeks) and we lazed about and had a leisurely breakfast of omelettes and Nutella crepes to start the day off right. I was eager to see more of the “village-y” areas, so we hoped on the Metro and made our first stop in Bercy Village.
So adorable, that Bercy. Cobblestone and pedestrian-only streets lined with (pricey) restaurants and cafes and some pretty nifty boutiques. I was tempted to purchase two gorgeous bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar that probably would’ve made the best salad dressings ever but they were quite heavy and I already had concerns about the lack of real estate in my pack. I just can’t get over how good food items are in France. I mean I knew it was a culinary mecca, much like Italy, but man alive the herbs and spices alone are killing me. Everything is so fresh and simple, and I think I would be a pretty nifty cook if I lived here and/or had access to these goods. Lucky ducks.
We wandered the boutiques before eating lunch at an appropriate lunching hour, and got mildly drunk (at perhaps not such an appropriate getting-drunk hour, but whatever) before mulling over options for the rest of the day. Montmartre? Let’s go!
Montmartre was awesome. Given that my previous glimpses into what it would be like consisted of Amélie (perhaps a bit far-fetched) and Moulin Rouge (totally far-fetched) it lived up to my high expectations. We began at the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur, partially so Megan could add to her collection of “falling down famous stairs” photos but also because it’s the Sacré Cœur, and one must visit it.
The stairs leading up to the church are impressive on their own, and afford spectacular views of the city when you’re not “falling” down them. We were there on a particularly toasty afternoon and there were lots of people hanging out, napping or eating lunch. I was envious of the nappers after climbing those stairs – they were probably tuckered out from the hike up there.
We huffed and puffed our way to the last set of stairs, and joined the queue to enter. A word about the French and queues. I had been informed while in Asia that the French…simply don’t “do” queues. I had a laugh at this but didn’t really think there could be a national epidemic of people refusing to line up but let me assure you – it EXISTS. Three people attempted to cut in front of us to get into the church. They’re super non-chalant about it too: sauntering up beside you, checking out the surroundings, perhaps even sending a sly smile in your direction before BAM, you’ve been cut. Mercy.
You forget about the fact that you were unwittingly saving a place in line for a stranger when you get inside, however. It was simply breath-taking. Unfortunately photos aren’t allowed inside the Sacré-Cœur, so you’ll just have to take my word for it when I say that it was pretty amazing.
We wandered Montmartre, pausing in front of the famed Moulin Rouge so we could do a little can-can, before heading to Notre Dame Cathedral. Now I can also add “crashing Sunday mass at an uber-famous cathedral” to my bucket list. I also need to tweak my previous statement – the Sacré-Cœur was amazing, yes, but Notre Dame was RIDICULOUS. We walked in right as the choir was singing, with the sunset pouring through the stained glass and casting the congregation in soft light. My goodness.
So, how to cap off the perfect day? Why the Eiffel Tower at night, of course!
“Hey, I think the cast of Jersey Shore just rolled in!”*
*They didn’t. It was just a tricked-out blimo (bus-limo) with heavy techno beats