We arrived in Paris Wednesday morning, to beautiful blue skies and spring weather. I had been traveling since Monday evening. It felt so good to finally reach our destination!
It took time to make it out of the airport and to the hotel...at 11:30am, we were graciously allowed to use our room and get showered and refreshed. After that, feeling clean but bleary-eyed (jet-lag!), we walked 15 minutes to the remarkable Père-Lachaise Cemetery . There, we saw Chopin's grave, among other famous notables!
Walking back to our hotel, we happened across a charming little pastry shop which provided our dinner- a quiche for each of us, and the pastry of our choice. Mara and I went for chocolate crossiants.
Then, it was to bed at 5pm! We probably should have tried to stay awake a little longer-we awoke at 10:30pm, tossed and turned a bit, and then went back to sleep until morning.
Now we're on Paris time! (6 hours ahead of central)
Feeling bright and ready-to-go, we headed out to Sainte-Chapelle.
King Louis IX of France built this amazing chapel for the royal family and to house treasured relics including what was believed to be "the crown of thorns". Entering into the chapel, Mom was brought to tears by the beauty and grandeur of the stained glass windows which told the Biblical stories from Genesis to Christ. We sat in awe, absorbing the light and history of such a remarkable place.
Next door, we visited the La Conciergerie. Marie Antoinette was imprisoned here before her death, as were many others during the French revolution.
Notre Dame was our next stop. It was hard not to jump up and down, squealing, when we reached this impressive cathedral! I had many, "pinch me, I'm dreaming" moments. While waiting in line to climb the cathedral steps to the towers, we enjoyed crepes from a nearby stand. Ah yes, another reason I love Paris. The food is amazing! The view from the top of the cathedral was breathtaking. Really! So much Paris, as far as the eye could see. It was a gorgeous day and the breeze was wonderful. The steps up and down were exhausting, and we were concerned Mom's knee would give out on her, but she did just fine.
The actual cathedral sanctuary was free to enter, and we spent time just sitting and gazing at the stained glass windows, arches, and intricacies of the sanctuary. This was Mom's first visit to a cathedral! Huge and inspiring are words that come to mind.
After leaving the cathedral, we strolled around a few Paris streets crammed with cafes, shops, bakeries, and our favorite- a gelato parlor! So instead of dinner, we had gelato, each choosing various flavors and sharing samples. Definitely exquisite. :)
Next, we spent several hours at the Musee d'Orsay , where we saw originals of Monet, Renoir, Cassatt, Degas, Van Gogh, and many others. Of particular note was Whistler's Mother! By the time we returned to our hotel, it was 11pm and our poor footsies were quite worn out from the excursions of the day. However, we thoroughly loved our first day in Paris!