Day 1,579 of Traveling the World | Paris, France – Part 1 | May 30, 2022

Paris. Paris. Paris. What a wonderful city. We have been wandering around aimlessly, roaming whichever streets catch our fancy. We haven’t yet been to the Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triomphe. Since we are here for 15 nights, for free (on Hilton points), we don’t feel the need to rush to all of the famous landmarks right off.

On Saturday we headed to the Latin Quarter on the Rive Gauche, and just walked along the same cobblestones that people famous and not famous have walked on for centuries. What a thrilling feeling that is, that connection to history, even as we created our own history. We stopped and had fondue, as it is so hard to find, only to discover that the next 15 restaurants also had fondue! Later that day, we read about sights not to miss in the Latin Quarter, which, of course, we had missed. (By the way, regardless of what you may think, the Latin Quarter was named because the Sorbonne is there, and, with a classical curriculum, the students all spoke…Latin!)

However, we were returning the next day to go to Mass at Saint Sulpice, as there was a short organ concert before Mass, and a longer one afterwards (which was amazing and terrific). Then we went out to walk some more, and interestingly, we stumbled upon several of the sights that the article said not to miss! So we were content.

One of the terrible things about being in Paris, with our “everything is packed in a backpack” lifestyle, is that we really can’t buy anything except food. Jan saw a red spring jacket in a shop window that was just beautiful (red being her favorite color), and not a minute later, a woman walked toward us wearing that very jacket. We each have an all-weather coat that can be folded and fits into our backpacks, but a bulky cloth coat is just not in the cards. Every lifestyle has its pros and cons, and we just live with knowing that we can’t have everything we want! In that way (she also saw shoes she coveted!), being in this Capital of Fashion is hard.

Our first view of Notre Dame Cathedral had us remarking, “It looks like a patient in ICU!” There is netting, fencing, scaffolding, and giant cranes attending to it. Sad. It will be another year before its restoration is complete after the devastating fire of 2019.
A side view of Notre Dame Cathedral.
This bridge is the Pont au Change, adjacent to the Palace of Justice. Doesn’t the palace look like something out of the Inquisition? It would be scary to go on trial there!
Walking along the pretty sidewalk adjacent to the Seine, on the left. There were blocks and blocks of vendors selling souvenirs, trinkets, and decades-old magazine covers in these little lean-tos that you see on the left.
The Pont Neuf, the “New Bridge,” which is the oldest bridge across the Seine. Construction on it began in 1578.
A pretty restaurant, decorated with flowers. All of the tables in all of the restaurants are full for lunch, every day!
Eglise Saint-Severin, in the Latin Quarter. In any other city, this would be a major church. Here, in Paris, it is just the neighborhood church.
Just one of the “fondue streets” in the Latin Quarter.
One of the buildings of the Sorbonne, in the Latin Quarter.
Musee de Cluny, museum of the Middle Ages.
Eglise Saint-Etienne-du-Mont, adjacent to the Pantheon.
Paris’ own Pantheon, completed in 1790 in the midst of the French Revolution.
A pretty – and empty – arcade at the Place de la Concorde.
Is that some abundant, and wild, silk flowering???
More silk flowers on this pizza restaurant on an island between two streets.
A cute bakery…Besties.
We don’t know what this sculpture is, or what it represents. It was in front of a small bistro, where a woman was busy moving chairs and tables all around it.
Some of Paris’ metro stations say “Metro,“ while others have the full and longer name of Metropolitain. As you can see, this is the Saint-Michel station.
The Fontaine Saint-Michel, dating to 1860. This was one of the sites that we weren’t supposed to miss in the Latin Quarter, and then the next day we turned the corner and it was there. Everyone was taking photos of it, a very busy place.
A close-up of the ferocious snarling dragon guarding the fountain, quite scary. Notice the claws. Yeah, right, you are looking at the teeth!
The Tuileries Gardens!
Eglise Saint-Sulpice. The sun broke through as the organ started the Gathering Song for Mass, right at 11 am on the nose.
Luxembourg Gardens was something else. First, it is beautiful, with many different areas – this is looking toward the fountain in the center, and you can see the Pantheon on the hill, in the distance. But everyone – and we mean everyone – came in with baguettes under their arms and containers of cheese, cold cuts, spreads, and of course – wine! Groups were having lunch in all parts of the gardens. It was fun to see!
Another part of the gardens, with trees planted in straight lines.
The Galeries Lafayette Coupole – a department store Art Nouveau dome dating to 1912. The glass was removed and numbered for replacement during WWII, as it was feared that glass shards would harm the public if it were bombed. Even though it is iconic, we had never heard of this dome before we got to Paris. We love how each floor is framed by arches. Stunning, isn’t it?
Looking straight up from the first floor. The glass observation walkway you see on the left was closed to the public.
Also in the Galeries Lafayette is this stained glass panorama as you walk up one of the staircases.
And, this department store keeps on giving! There is a free outdoor terrace on top of the building where you can observe all of Paris, and not pay €20 to do so. This was our first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower!
Just another flower-filled restaurant. It is full every time we pass it, so it is quite popular among the locals.
Gambrinus, the legendary king of beer, is featured on this 1894 Alsatian facade directly across the street from the Hilton Paris Opera. It is very quirky, squashed between two modern buildings. The facade was registered as a Historic Monument in 1997 (which means, of course, that it can never be demolished – or at least, it would be very difficult to do so!).
L’Heure de tous, a monument to time for travelers just outside the Gare Saint-Lazare, adjacent to our hotel. 🎶 Does anybody really know what time it is? 🎵
Riding on the metro, we suddenly heard accordion music! We saw that this man had entered and was just playing away. Nobody paid any attention to him, which surprised us. We didn’t see anyone give him any money, and we almost missed our stop because of the music!