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    Paris: Notre Dame, Lock Bridge, and More!

    Spring Break Day Three: Our last day in Paris
    We packed in the sights again on our last day. Fortunately, the skies were clear! It made a HUGE difference in getting around town.

    First stop: Notre Dame during the morning this time. I was a little skeptical about seeing it again. When we saw Notre Dame our first night, we walked right in the doors. This time there was a long line out front. However, the line moved really quickly, and it was so worth seeing the stained glass windows during the day time. They were stunning.


    Notre Dame


    Notre Dame gargoyles


    Notre Dame Entry


    Notre Dame chandeliers and windows


    Notre Dame window


    Notre Dame stained glass


    Notre Dame candles


    Even though it was on our list of things to see, we didn’t realize the lock bridge was right behind Notre Dame! We ran into it on accident. We did not leave our own lock. We contemplated writing on someone else’s lock, but it just didn’t feel right. Oh well! We ran into a wedding shoot while we were there.


    Lock bridge with Notre Dame in back


    Lock Bridge in Paris


    Paris lock bridge


    Wedding at lock bridge


    After that, we hopped on the metro to see the Eiffel again:


    Us with the Eiffel Tower


    Next, we took the metro to see the Moulin Rouge. It was in a sketchy part of town. We got off the metro, took a photo, then got back on the metro. We went back across town to get some dinner.


    Moulin Rouge


    We ate an incredible cheese fondue and followed it up with crème brûlée. And since we had never had them before, we stopped in a shop for some macaroons. (Chocolate was our favorite. It was like a brownie!)




    We had hoped to find a cheap river cruise to take us back over by the Eiffel, but none were to be had.


    Paris river at night


    So it was back on the metro to see the Eiffel Tower lit up at night. Did you know it twinkles on the hour? That was a fun surprise.


    Eiffel Tower at night


    Eiffel Tower twinkling


    Looking back on the day, I still can’t believe how much we saw. We really made the most of our time in the City of Light!

    We left France early the next morning for Italy. Next up – Venice!



    Paris: Monuments

    Spring Break Day Two: Paris Part Two
    After our morning in the Louvre, we set out to check the monuments off our list. But first things first, it was time for a snack. I read a few blogs before our trip, and heard that a stop at Angelina was a must. We stood in line for a hot second before we saw the restaurant prices, then realized we could go to the pastry counter for a cup of their coveted hot chocolate. You guys. Best. Hot. Chocolate. Ever. In the world of hot chocolates.




    From there, we walked to the Arc de Triomphe. (This was not the wisest decision. I killed my feet during this trip.) We also went inside and up to the top of the arc. The monument honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars. It was cold and windy, but the view of Paris was well worth the walk up the 284 winding steps. The arc stands over 160 feet tall! We also got our first clear view of the Eiffel Tower.


    David and Leah by Arc de Triomphe


    Arc de Triomphe street view


    Arc de Triomphe arcs


    Arc de Triomphe detail


    Arc de Triomphe winding stairs


    Paris street


    Eiffel tower from the Arc de Triomphe


    On top of the Arc de Triomphe


    After the arc, we took the metro to see the Eiffel Tower up close. Honestly, we tried to fit too much into one day. By this point, our feet were so tired, we were hungry and grumpy (hangry), and it was getting colder and rainier. We decided to come back the next day. (We actually ended up going twice – once in the day time and once at night. Yes, we are crazy.) Our first time under the Eiffel? Not so romantic. However, it is a beautiful, massive structure.


    David with the Eiffel Tower


    Eiffel Tower from below


    Eiffel Tower through flowers


    Eiffel Tower Details


    Eiffel Tower Leg


    Rainy Eiffel Tower



    Paris: Musée du Louvre

    Spring Break Day Two: Paris Part One
    We woke up to a wet and rainy Parisian morning. Fortunately I had packed an umbrella and our AirBnB host had left us another. We had chocolate croissants and coffee at a cafe, then headed straight to the Louvre.


    Paris building


    Paris red chairs


    Our friend gave us a Louvre tip and we felt like we were cheating. Most people want to enter the Louvre through the pyramid. Even with all the rain, the line was long and winding. However, there is a back entrance. There was no line at all and we walked right up to the counter to purchase tickets. (Go outside the courtyard and find the lion statues to get to the other entrance.) We walked through the Denon wing and exited the museum through the pyramid.

    The Louvre is amazing! Everywhere you look… left, right, up, down, there is something to see.


    David outside the Louvre


    Louvre: Pyramid


    Head statue


    Arcimbolodo painting


    It was crazy around the Mona Lisa (structured, personal-space-honoring European crazy). It was exciting to see her in person. I would have loved to have been able to sit down and hang out with her for a while.


    Louvre: Leah with the Mona Lisa


    Louvre: Mona Lisa


    Louvre: Elaborate ceiling


    Louvre: Leah with Winged Vicotry in background


    Louvre: Winged Victory


    Louvre: Venus


    We brought a small container of Benedict Family Maple on our trip and got a little silly with a marketing idea. You’re welcome to join our #wheredoyoumaple movement. (Check out the Benedict Family Maple Instagram, too!) Our caption for the photo below: She may have a heart of stone, but she can’t resist the all natural taste of Benedict Family Maple syrup.


    Louvre: Statue with Benedict Family Maple


    David inside the Louvre pyramid


    Inside the Louvre pyramid


    After the Louvre, we visited the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower. Photos from that soon!



    Paris: Our First Evening

    Spring Break Day One: Paris 
    As we planned for this spring break, we knew it would be our last Europe trip for a while. We considered several options, but decided to travel to France and Italy. (It’s been one of my dream trips!) Over nine days, we explored Paris, Venice, Florence, and Rome.


    Flying over land


    We left Ankara early Saturday morning, and landed in Paris around 5:30 pm. We used the metro to get to our “hotel”, then dropped our bags and headed out to explore. We were a 15 minute walk from Hôtel de Ville, Paris’ city hall. (Every time we passed it, the Cruella de Vil song came to mind.)

    We weren’t planning on it, but Notre Dame was open and there was a free organ concert inside. We didn’t stay long and visited again on Monday during the day time.

    More of our trip to come soon!


    Hotel de Ville


    Notre Dame at night


    Notre Dame doors


    Notre Dame Cathedral


    Notre Dame - Jesus on Cross


    I am the way which seeks travelers


    Leah and David outside Notre Dame


    Paris lights over the river


    Where we ate
    We grabbed dinner at La Taverne de la Huchette. They had a fantastic €14 menu including an appetizer, main dish, and dessert. David ordered mussels that were coated in the most amazing cream sauce. We thought the food was very good for the price.

    Where we stayed
    We used AirBnB and spent three nights at KOKO Maris, a tiny studio apartment in the wholesale district. We liked the location, and I’d recommend it for a short stay in Paris. It was very basic, but worked for us. It was originally an office space that was converted into apartments. Know that the bathroom had little ventilation and there was some black mold. Other than the bathroom, it was a clean, efficient little space.

    We love using AirBnB, and highly recommend it. People list their rental homes all over the world. Sign up at this link and you’ll get $25 off of your first AirBnB stay!