Sunday, December 7, 2014

Le Flâneur for a Day

What a first day. We took a red eye flight into Paris that left Toronto around 7pm. Red eye flights are such a toss up... if you can sleep through the flight, then you're ready to go for the day on arrival, but if you can't, it's a huge struggle to get through the day without wanting to take a nap. I'm getting older and am finding that the former is becoming more elusive.

Upon landing in Charles de Gaulle, we take the metro into the main city and locate our "base camp" for the week. We're staying in the Latin Quarter where many tourists and young people reside. So far, it's a nice area of the city that we haven't had much opportunity to truly explore; that, and the fact that none of these darn roads are oriented in any formal fashion! Paris is basically built on a strange informal snail shape.

What we did get up to today (after a much needed nap) was heading out to the Marche Bastille. Unfortunately for us, it was closing by the time we arrived :( But, we have another Sunday to visit so plenty of time for that. The location we're at is SO close to everything... the walk to the River Seine is just minutes away and we can see Notre Dame upon arrival at Ile de la cite.

Night time Notre Dame and River Seine
Wandering the city also led us to visit a sweets shoppe (Maison George Larnicol) that makes chocolate (figures), candies, macarons and kouignettes (a french pastry made of (you guessed it!) butter). They have so many of these things on display that I couldn't help but snap a bunch of photos of the beautiful works of edible art.

A rainbow of macaroons!

Kouignettes--I haven't tried these yet but they say they melt in your mouth

Chocolate figures *mew*
We spent the day wandering around like locals do (they call them le flâneur) and walk around with our smart phones and a guide book in our pockets. We ended up visiting Museum Carnavalet, which is the museum of Paris' history from the prehistoric to modern day which is eye opening to see the way the people of the area changed and progressed. In addition, we visited the La Marais area Victor Hugo (author of Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame) had lived during the 1800s, in the 3rd arrondisement. Within, we also visited the square Place de Vosges

Place de Vosges is beautiful in green in the summers but still beautiful in the winter
La Marais is meant to bring visitors back to a medieval Paris where the wealthy lived before Napoleon came to power. The area is lively and home to some of the most stunning architecture I've ever seen. Having done so much during an unplanned day, we found ourselves completely exhausted by the time we returned to base camp and are glad that we called it a short night. Onwards to the Louvre tomorrow!

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