The original forecast for today had called for rain, so I was
originally planning to hit the museums today. However, as Paris
weather is notoriously fickle and doesn’t really care much about
forecasts, the day turned out to be beautiful instead. And who wants
to spend a beautiful 70 degree day indoors? Certainly, not me! So I
re-worked my loose itinerary and decided to explore the two islands
today, Ile de la Cite and Ile St. Louis.
The first thing I noticed when out and about today was that there were
a lot of armed military at the Gare de Lyon station that is near my
apartment. I am still not sure what that’s about. I don’t know if that
is normal or what, but hey, I felt extremely safe. I wandered around
Gare de Lyon for awhile, in search of the Tourism Office so I could
buy a Paris Museum Pass. I eventually found it and got a 6-day pass.
The pass saves money, but it also helps you bypass some of the long
lines when sightseeing. Definitely a must!
With pass in hand, I hopped on the Metro and went to Ile de la Cite.
My first stop was Saint Chappelle. Saint Chappelle lies within the
Palais de Justice here in Paris. This is basically Paris’ courthouse.
So to get inside, you had to have your bag scanned and go through a
metal detector. Saint Chappelle is known for its beautiful stained
glass windows and I found them impressive. It’s pretty small (at least
compared to Notre Dame), but another good example of gothic
architecture, which I adore. I love flying buttresses, what can I say?
Next up was a visit to the Conciergerie. Apparently, in the 6th
century, this was a royal residence of a king of france, but also
includes a prison. Here, I learned a little bit about the French
revolution (which I am clueless about, I will admit) and saw the
prison cell that Marie Antoinette was held in before she was sent to
the guilliotine. Yes, “let them eat cake,” indeed.
I walked around Notre Dame, but did not go inside as I had done that
last time (and stayed for quite a while, too). And it was around
lunchtime, so I thought I would head over to the next island, the Ile
St. Louis. The Lonely Planet guide had a few restaurant
recommendations that I’d noted and so this is how I found myself at a
cafe called Le Flore en L’Isle. I watched a few people to see exactly
what the protocol is because I had no idea if you wait for a table or
if you just sit down. Apparently, at a cafe, you just pick a table and
sit down. So I did. And the waiter came up and handed me a menu. I
perused it while he served other customers and then he came back. I
ordered something that I knew was salmon and cod. However, I
apparently missed that it was “tartare,” which means raw. Oops! I knew
that, too, so not sure how I missed it. But it arrived and I knew I
might as well give it a chance and it was not half bad. And I did not
die of food poisoning! LOL It came with salad and the obligatory
bread, so all in all, I ended up with a decent meal. I decided on the
cafe gourmand for dessert, which is a cup of espresso and five or six
little desserts. I had some dark chocolate cookies that were to die
for, a rose macaron (which was really interesting and good), a creme
brulee which was to die for and a pistachio and something petit four
that I devoured, along with something else that resembled divinity
Now armed with a sugar and espresso energy, I left the cafe and
wandered over to Saint Severin. I didn’t go outside due to the gypsy
woman sleeping in front of the door, but architecturally, it’s very
similar to Notre Dame. I took a few photos of the exterior and
wandered some more.
Of course, in my wandering, I had to suddenly pee! It was the
espresso, I think. But I could not find the darn toilets anywhere! I
was back on the other island, where there were no public toilets, or
at least no signs pointing me to them. I thought I could go back to
the Conciergerie and use those since I had the pass, but when I went
back, there was actually a line. So I decided to screw it and go back
to the apartment and rest my weary legs for a bit. Because honestly
they were killing me.
I eventually arrived back to the apartment, where I called my Mom and
updated her on the events of my day. I also asked about the cats
(Maggie is all depressed because I’m gone and apparently, Snug has
been lonely, too… awwww). We chatted for awhile and then I decided I
was finally ready to get back out there because there was one more
church I wanted to see today.
Saint Sulpice is known mostly because it was featured in The DaVinci
Code. Yes, I know the book (and the movie) is a work of fiction, but
it still fascinates me, as do the locations (I can’t wait to stand
inside The Louvre Pyramid!). And it’s also close to a Pierre Herme,
which I had already had and decided I loved. So why not? It was an
easy Metro ride (as almost everything in Paris is) and once I arrived,
I fell in love with the church. In fact, I think it has officially
replaced Notre Dame as my favorite. It’s very similar architecturally,
but a tad bit smaller. And it’s just gorgeous, inside and out. Outside
its doors is this beautiful massive fountain, where I sat and just
people watched for awhile. Inside, though, I went in search of The
Rose Line from The DaVinci Code. Having forgotten what it was supposed
to look like, I wikipedia’d it and eventually found it that way
(seriously, how did we ever survive without the internet? LOL). I took
some photos and followed the line to the obelisk at the end and took
I’ve visited quite a few churches today, so I think I should be good
with God for quite some time.
After I was done there, I fired up Google Maps to find Pierre Herme,
which turned out to be almost right across the street from the church.
Having already tried the macarons, I opted for a pastry called
Plenitude. This is the description:
“Macaron chocolat noir, éclats de chocolat noir à la fleur de sel,
mousse au chocolat amer et ganache au chocolat, caramel croquant” –
dark chocolate macaron, shards of dark chocolate with fleur de sel,
bitter chocolate mousse, chocolate ganache, crunchy caramel.
Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.
I carefully brought my pastry back home and picked up a ham and some
sort of cheese sandwich on a baguette (basically, the traditional
Paris sandwich) for dinner. I ate that with some more of that
wonderful Bordeaux I had left from last night.
And now, I am sitting in my apartment, typing this, staring at my
pastry. If I die and go to heaven tonight, you’ll know why.