The city of lights, the place of dreams.
On day 3 of our stay at the Disneyland Hotel, we said “a bientot” to Disneyland Paris and hello to Paris proper.
We went back and forth between wanting to ride the train there or just rent a car, and eventually the latter won out. Mostly cause you-know-who really wanted to drive a proper European stick shift. Seriously. Men and their cars. *Shakes head* *Can only understand strange obsessions when they’re Disney-related*
I’m glad we ended up going that route, cause navigating the cobblestone streets was pretty entertaining. Not to mention all the architecture eye candy.
Can we just pause here a second to appreciate how NORMAL-sized the Smart car looks here in France? I mean, damn.
We figured the public parking situation would be a nightmare, so we decided to leave the car at Le Bristol hotel. We had dinner reservations here later on, so they were kind enough to hold our car while we sightsee’d and such. (Can you say swanky, or what?)
The hotel was less than a 5 minute walk from the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, so that’s where we started things off.
Hold onto your hats ‘n glasses, folks. We’re going touristing.
It was crowded and full of vacationers. Everything you’d expect from this part of town. It reminded me of an older, but cleaner and less smelly, 5th avenue in NYC. Especially with all the ritzy shops.
Naturally, it only took me about 3 minutes to locate the macarons. Laduree! Also known as Macaron Nirvana.
We both got a couple cappuccinos, and our own massive macaron: pistachio for me, salted caramel (duh, always) for him. Then we just sat, enjoyed our sugar, and basked in the free wifi. (Not having cell service is like THE WORST EVER. Them Snapchat problems are serious business.)
After maybe 45 minutes of sugar digestion, we bought a box of 8 macarons to go and made our way back onto Champs-Élysées.
Our destination was straight ahead: the Arc de Triomphe.
It was just as beautiful in person as you would expect. I didn’t realize that it was also, in essence, a roundabout of death. I couldn’t see any street lights but somehow nearly 5 (unmarked!) lanes of traffic managed to squeeze through every other second. Insanity. Especially with all the tourists absentmindedly crossing to the center.
After mentally checking the Arc off our “must see” list, we decided to start walking back in the direction of the Notre Dame.
Then we did the Google Maps thing and realized it would take forever to walk there. So.
Insert the rental bike. Fact(s): I have not ridden a bike in years. I am not good at riding a bike. Riding a bike on cobblestones next to Parisian taxis is actually the worst thing ever. *cue dramatic music*
Turns out that biking on cobblestones is also not the best condition for maintaining the integrity of macarons.
BUT! Biking does allow one to see sights like this. Eiffel Tower > crumbly meringue-based confectionaries.
We made it to the Notre Dame in about 20 minutes.
Yeah, I feel you. *takes a million pictures*
Word’s can’t really convey the size and grandeur of this place. You’re home ain’t half bad, Quasimodo. But not surprisingly, the line to go inside was loooong. We hate lines. Plus, we didn’t have too much time to spare, so we ended up skipping that bit and walking around the backside instead.
Cause we’re all about that bass, bout that bass, no treble. (SORRY, HAD TO.)
Behind the Notre Dame is the the Pont de l’Archevêché, one of the famous “Love Locks” bridges in Paris.
I’ve read that they’re going to begin taking these locks down (cause of aesthetics and safety), but this bridge definitely still had most of them intact.
With the Notre Dame effectively checked off the “we kinda saw it” list, we made our way back down the wee little streets in search of a cafe. Cause every hour in Paris is coffee o’clock.
Insert gratuitous tourist shot.
We found this cute cross between an American diner (yellow booths, really?) and a Parisian hangout about a block from the Notre Dame. It was empty (win), and it had a public restroom (double win).
French cappuccinos, you have my heart.
After 20 minutes of rest (for him) and photo editing (for me), we hopped back on the bikes.
This is as close as we got to the Louvre. Sorry, Mona Lisa. No time! Dinner was at 7 and we still needed to bike back to Le Bristol, return the bikes, and change into something appropriate for a ☆☆☆ Michelin restaurant (ohh la la).