France Trip – Day 3
September 10, 2019
One of my absolute favorite things about waking up in Paris is getting to walk, half asleep, to buy a still warm from the oven baguette from the neighborhood Boulangerie (bakery). There is nothing quite as delightful as coffee and a toasted baguette with beurre salé (salted butter). Yum! After breakfast, we gathered the troops, and headed toward the 20th arrondissement for a surprise family event (courtesy of my parents). The surprise was an art exhibit called L’Atelier des Lumières (workshop of lights), featuring artwork from Van Gogh and Japanese artists. Words and pictures can not do it justice. It was in immersive experience of light and music.
After the show we walked to nearby Cimetière du Père Lachaise. A place I had been a couple times, but continues to be magical. As we walked I reminisced about my first time visiting the cemetery. I was 19, exploring Paris on my own, and had woken up early from the youth hostel to check it out. I arrived right when it opened and was the only one around. The fog was still lingering and the sun was starting to peak through; a very creepy and mystical experience. However, on this trip it was a beautiful sunny day, perfect for exploring. We checked out a couple famous folks’ tombs: Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, and Edith Piaf to name a few. [TIP: you can use google maps to help you navigate to the famous tombs.]
Next stop was lunch – we were all very hungry after walking up and down the hills of Père Lachaise. We stopped at a place nearby, L’Ami de Justin, which we do not recommend (no thanks to google). Google has been great for many things on this trip, but selecting restaurants has not been one of them. My theory is that less discerning tourists are leaving the positive reviews. So fellow travelers, if you are a foodie, consider yourselves warned.
After lunch, we hopped on the metro straight to La Tour Eiffel. I have seen the tower many times, but there is nothing quite like coming up from the Trocadero metro stop, turning the corner, and being greeted by this beautiful symbol of Paris. It takes my breath away each and every time. The first time I ever saw it, emotion overwhelmed me and tears came to my eyes as I realized that I had made it; I was traveling on my own for the first time and here I was fulfilling a dream. Some of those same emotions return each time I see the majestic Tour Eiffel. But the moment fades and I return to reality as the relentless vendors try to sell you 5 little Eiffel Towers for 1€ and the tourists fight for the best spot for a selfie.
We then walked through Champ de Mars park to a metro stop to return to our little apartment to get ready for dinner. Our good friends from Mendocino are also in Paris and we were able to share a wonderfully delicious dinner together at Le P’tit Troquet (highly recommended).
The restaurant is located just blocks from La Tour Eiffel. After dinner we walked back to La Tour Eiffel to experience it at night. If you think that it’s amazing during the day, wait until you experience it at night. So magical! Every hour on the hour, the tower starts to glimmer with lights for five minutes! We just made it to the 10 pm show after dinner. And since the security lines were short, we decided to go inside and walk around underneath it. The perfect way to end a great day! A bientôt!
Photo credit: Carina, Chris, and Carina’s dad.