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Honeymoon in London: Paris for the day

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Hey guys, it’s kind of hard to write this post as we’ve been glued to the television for the last few hours watching deadly tornadoes travel our way this evening. Joplin, Missouri, is only an hour north of us and seeing the damage has been devastating. Anywho, in an effort to distract myself and maybe you from the storms, here’s Paris!

Before we left for our honeymoon we booked train tickets for Paris through a company called  Viator. It was relatively cheap and they gave you a metro ticket so you can use the subway system for the day.

We had to wake up super early to catch the train. Our ticket confirmation said we had to arrive at the train station no later than 7 in the morning. Yikes. We left the hotel around 6 and took the tube to the St. Pancras Station. Our train left at 8 and we sped through the Chunnel, the Channel Tunnel. We arrived into Paris Gare du Nord in 2 and a half hours and found ourselves with a rainy muggy Paris that was ours to explore.

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We stopped at an ATM to get some Euros (we only had British pounds) and walked to our first stop of the day, the Cathedral de Notre Dame. We were happy to discover that Paris was significantly cheaper than London.

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It was easy to see why Notre Dame is one of the most singular and beautiful cathedrals of Europe

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Notre Dame is HUGE.
We could have spent hours there if we would have had time.

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notre dame_candle

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Once the heartbeat of medieval Paris, Notre Dame took over 100 years to build.

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There was even a mass going on while we walked around the massive inner chambers.  notre dame_mass notre dame_men   notre dame_stained glass notre dame_tomb

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We decided not to climb the North tower for lack of time, so we didn’t get to see Paris from the hunchback Quasimodo’s viewpoint.

As we left the cathedral they had a large section of the front courtyard blocked off for a movie set. All of those people in the center are extras and the boy on the right was the star of the scene.notre dame_movie1

We watched them shoot a few scenes and moved on to our next stop.

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Not far from Notre Dame we came to another pinnacle of gothic architecture, Sainte-Chapelle. 

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La Sainte-Chapelle was built in the mid-13th century by King Louis IX. Colorful wall paintings and elaborate carvings emphasize the stunning medieval beauty of Sainte-Chapelle.

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Each of the sixteen stained glass windows (over 1000 scenes) tells stories from the Bible, starting with Genesis/Adam and Eve and concluding with the Apocalypse in the magnificent rose window.

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It was interesting to go straight from Notre Dame to Sainte-Chapelle because they were so completely different in style and architecture.

We left Sainte-Chapelle famished and walked towards the Seine river to look for a suitable cafe.

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We walked over a bridge and caught our first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower.

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 street flowers

We settled on a little cafe with outdoor seating and a view of the river and Eiffel Tower. IMG_4298

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See the Eiffel Tower to to the right?eiffel tower_lunch

My French may be lacking, but at least I can manage to order a beer.

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While we were eating the sun came out!

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Then we proceeded to order one of the best meals either of us has ever eaten.

I ordered the Croque Monsieur au pain Poilâne which is a cheese and ham toasted sandwich in Poilâne bread.

Oh. My. God. So good that I’m still talking about it.

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Another shot just because it was that good.

lunch

Jacob ordered the Francfort avec Pommes Frites which is a Frankfurter sausage with french fries. Again, fantastic. It may not look like anything special, but those were the best damn fries I’ve ever had in my life.

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And shortly after.

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Happy and full, we took a cab to the Arc de Triomphe down the Avenue des Champs-Elysées. The cab was a great choice because we got to save some time and the driver pointed out cool shops and landmarks on the Champs-Elysées as we drove.

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The 164-foot Arc de Triomphe was commissioned by Emperor Napoléon.

Arc de Triomphe 

Those little dots along the top are people.

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Next we took the Metro to the Louvre.

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We got lucky and the lower entrance to the Louvre was barely crowded. We grabbed some headphones for an audio tour and started to explore the massive wings.

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We quickly realized that it would take years to fully experience the Louvre. We chose a few sections to highlight and made our way through the crowds.

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If you’re claustrophobic, the Louvre (at least during popular hours) is probably not for you. It was so hot and muggy inside that it seemed like it would be detrimental to all of the unprotected paintings.

painting_jacob         
The site of the world’s largest and most diverse collection of pre-20th century painting, sculpture, and decorative objects, The Louvre is definitely one of Paris’ best attractions.

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Soon we came to a familiar albeit tiny face.

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mona lisa

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Venus de Milo

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After an hour or two we made our way to the courtyard and  Tuileries gardens just outside of the Museum.

 

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We kept waiting for Tom Hanks and the rest of the Da Vinci Code cast to swoop in and save the day.

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jacob_pyramid    lourve_garden_eiffel lourve_gardens             

After a stroll through the gardens, we hopped on the Metro to our last stop of the day, the Eiffel Tower. 

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The iron tower, which was built for the 1889 World Exposition, was wildly unpopular with Parisians when it was unveiled, and was nearly torn down.

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We hung out and took the obligatory mushy pictures.

eiffel tower_kissWe opted not to climb to the top and just walked around the base instead. 

jacob_eiffel tower   jessi_eiffel tower   

Soon it was time to return to the Paris Gare du Nord station. We were so worried about missing our train that we actually got there about an hour early. We ate dinner and grabbed a drink at the station before hopping back on our plane around 8:30 p.m. We made it back to London just after 10 p.m. (there’s an hour time difference), took the tube back to our hotel and crashed for the night.

We really enjoyed Paris and will definitely go back when we have more time.  It was, however, a lot dirtier than London and was the only place where we felt unsafe during our whole honeymoon. When we were on the Metro a man opened Jacob’s backpack and was going through it. Luckily, a woman grabbed Jacob’s attention and stopped the man before he took anything. Paris was cool, but we were able to see almost everything we wanted in one day and we liked London much better overall.

Whew! Another long one. Thanks for putting up with me and these monster posts I’ve been writing so far. Still want to hear more about Paris? Our friends that live in Switzerland just went just went there for the weekend and blogged about it. Happy Anniversary guys!

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  • randy May 25, 2011, 2:56 pm

    thanks for the plug!! amazing pictures as usual, and we are definitely stealing your idea of the walking tour podcasts next time we go somewhere.

    omg what kind of camera do you have and what is the lens?

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    • Jessi May 27, 2011, 11:39 pm

      Thanks dude! I have the same ol Canon 40D that I got in college. I have a kit lens and in London also had a 50mm/1.8 but recently met an untimely death :(

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