Domestic goddess and backyard explorer with a passion for freelance writing!
Published October 24th 2014
A modern experience of Old Europe
Our weekend in Paris continued after our intriguing morning at the Louvre musee. We were fortunate to be blessed with a perfect day, which got rather hot by midday, especially walking in the open sun, past the glass pyramids toward the Seine river, flowing peacefully onward, decorated by its many bridges. A romantic stroll along the river, we noticed many ferries and boats docked along one side, while others carried dozens of people toward various destinations along its banks. We made a mental note to come back and do the hop on, hop off ferry in the afternoon.
For now, many street side cafes and stalls beckoned us for lunch on one side, wafting aromas of mostly French and Italian cuisines, while the other side tempted us with handmade artworks, trinkets to be purchased and numerous other souvenirs; again reminding me of streets of New York near its many tourist attractions. I suppose that is a common theme everywhere to have roadside salesman, trying to make their own living. What struck me about cafes in France, apparently it is particularly common in France, but also can be found in other European cities; the cafes all had seats/chairs facing the street, rather than facing each other; adding to the feeling of an open community and that the streets being for all to enjoy, not to mention the obvious benefits of gazing upon Parisian architecture and lifestyle whilst relishing the gourmet cuisine.
Keen to sample a Parisian crepe, a creperie seemed the obvious choice, also because it offered vegetarian options. It wasn't too long after that I was tucking into a cheesy, tomato and creme crepe, which was crispy and delicious with my mixed fruit juice; whilst my companion chose a croque, which is basically a fancy cheese toast but without the second slice of bread on top; kind of like an open toasted sandwich. He also had a French cappuccino, which is cold by the way, with ice and whipped cream on top. It had enough caffeine to keep the energy up for a beautiful afternoon in Paris! Anyway, feeling satisfied with lunch, and happy in general, we headed for Notre Dame, using our iPhones and the map given to us at the hotel.
Notre Dame is well known for being a symbol of French Gothic architecture as opposed to earlier Romanesque ones, and one of the world's most famous Catholic cathedrals. Its stained glass works and sculptures stand out as well as three enormous doors, each unique in design, at the front of the cathedral. The queue to enter that afternoon was initially discouraging but when we saw it was moving quite quickly, we decided we'd come this far, so it was worth a look in. There was a small entry fee from memory, and we spent a few minutes walking around admiring the sculptures, artwork, and the grandiosity of the structure, which was well elucidated by the scale model presented inside. Notre Dame is well known also for its treasury, which houses the Crown of Thorns, a fragment of the True Cross, and one of the Holy nails.