- Notre Dame
- Eiffel Tower & Seine
The day started with having a late breakfast at Brasserie Les Deux Palais by the Notre Dame. A potato and cheese omelette with an espresso sat before me and Katie and I ate in quiet and fully enjoyed a non-hostel breakfast. The restaurant had windows all around and seeing Paris from a Brasserie on a cloudy summer day was an experience in itself. People take their time eating their meal, chairs at a two-person table are faced towards the windows…as if watching the world go by is something you do together despite the little interaction it may pertain. Rarely in North America do you see a two-person table sitting side by side each other. Usually it is facing each other. It’s little things like this you notice that can speak volumes on the society and culture you are visiting.
Katie and I went to the Notre Dame after breakfast. Like the Sacré Coeur, it’s incredible to see such majestic architectural accomplishments without the help of modern technology. We didn’t stay for long, and it was hard to see anything with all the people inside. Katie had the pigeons sit on her arms and head as the pigeon guy put dried corn kernels in her hands. I would have done it except I didn’t feel like getting clawed by random pigeons as I already get clawed enough by my cats back home.
Next was the Louvre…one of the most gorgeous buildings I have ever seen. It just exists with so much royal grace and stance that it really is hard to contain it all with only one look.
The art gallery itself is massive. And to be frank, it can’t be done in one day considering how overwhelming it is and the amount of people in it doesn’t help. I saw mainly the renaissance art side of the museum with its rich red walls and aged brass framed art. Surprisingly there were not as many people as I expected. However, I didn’t even bother to see the Mona Lisa because from the many reviews I have heard, it’s a very underwhelming experience. Plus, with the great height of my stance, I would likely not see anything but a sea of heads, cameras, phones and a ¼ of a glass cage.
The Louvre with its extensive collection and history would be any art-history/visual art major’s dream. As someone without that training, it’s hard to fully acknowledge how amazing this art gallery is. Clearly it is world-renowned for a reason but with my limited knowledge and ability to appreciate, it was just a lot of art in a very large building – to simplify it to the most before diminishing it’s value.
Eiffel Tower Pt. II & Seine
Another night spent by the Eiffel Tower the Seine. It was Katie’s last night before she went to China so we accompanied our evening with more wine and food and sat and talked. We saw the Eiffel Tower glow up and sparkle every hour and people watched as the sun went down. There was this little carousel right beside the tower that was 3 euros for a ride. Circling around on carefully painted but peeling plastic horses, with a bottle of cabernet sauvignon on my right hand, the night felt infinite…like it was never going to end. Small moments like this is when I know I’m doing the right thing. When my second guessing stops, I can remember how the air brushes my face, I can retrace the pole’s texture around my fingers and I can close my eyes and be OK with staring into the vast blank blackness without the fear of what’s there once my eyes open again.
Despite being tourists, Katie and I spent our days like Parisians. Not rushed to do everything, walking around without definite answers, watching people with beginner’s eyes and recognizing what a privilege it was to be in Paris.
Also – the whole kiss on each cheek as a greeting? Probably one of my favourite parts about Europe. Even if it’s so short, brief and almost “meaningless” because it’s so common, it brings a sense of intimacy that day-to-day relationships tend to lack in North America. It’s a physical reminder that we still are humans and we still need each other.
The movies capture brief moments of how beautiful this city is. But there is nothing like being immersed in this romanticized city and feeling you can take time by it’s hand and for once, take her with confidence as it is your time to lead the day and end the night.