Day 3 in Paris

After a great night sleep we managed to get a slightly earlier start to our day. We’ve been enjoying the hotel breakfast of croissants, breads, yogurt, cheeses and meats, cereal, juices and coffee.  While throughout most of Europe breakfast is included in your room rate, in Paris it’s additional. Quite a bit additional. Many folks opt to simply visit a nearby cafe for breakfast, but I like the convenience of dining in the hotel and an unlimited pot of coffee. With a 9 hour time change, I need to coffee!

Today is day two of our Museum Pass and we’ve a lot planned!  Our goal today is to return to the Military Museum visit Sainte-Chapelle, the archeological crypt at Notre Dame all covered by our pass.

The Military Museum can be overwhelming. It’s huge. While we visited one wing yesterday that was only the tip of the iceberg. The exhibits are fascinating and extremely well done. Military buffs could easily spend entire days examining everything. Me, I enjoyed examining some of the military men also touring the facility.

So, I’m a bit of a stalker.

After reaching battle overload we decided to head over to the Ile St. Louis where we’d spend much of our afternoon. We were favored with a beautiful day for our wanderings.

Along our way we found a little cafe for lunch. It was a lovely afternoon, but we choose to eat inside to avoid the smokers dining outside. The cafe was adorable and a bit of pink, fushia overload. Everything inside was bright pink. Bright, brilliant pink and purple. My camera simply didn’t know how to cope!

For lunch I enjoyed some amazing roast chicken with pomme frites and Amy choose another croque  monsieur. It wouldn’t be Paris without wine so a pichet of wine accompanies our selections. Look at these wonderful fries! Everything tastes better in Paris!

We continued on toward Sainte-Chapelle to admire the famed stained glass.  The security line to enter the complex wrapped nearly to the end of the street. However, after showing the line guard our Museum Pass he allowed us to enter the group line and zip right through the security screening. I afterwards read that they sometimes do this, we definitely lucked out!  After security we were also able to avoid the long line to purchase entrance tickets and we strolled right into the church.

After climbing the spiral stairs to the upper level you emerge to a room magically lit with some of the most amazing stained glass I’ve ever seen. The entire room is awash with color. From the stained glass above, to the intricate mosaics and carvings below the room is breathtaking. Photos simply don’t do it justice.

Unfortunately, one section of the room was being renovated, but the overall impact remained.When we left to head over to the Archeological Cyrpt we noticed the outside line hadn’t moved much. Museum Pass to the rescue with nice line guard our hero!

The Archeological Crypt is located underneath Notre Dame. And, thank goodness we could go underground as above ground was a zoo! Hundreds of tourists lined up to tour the cathedral while what appeared thousands more milled around the square.

The Crypt was very interesting with the foundations of parts of the original city of Paris and numerous sign boards explaining the entire history of the region. One very interesting section was part of the old Roman baths. Very cool . . but very humid, hot and damp. We reluctantly emerged back into the chaos of the cathedral square. 

Despite being one of Paris’ most notable attractions, we decided to avoid the swarm within and choose to admire the perimeter of the cathedral. Inside will have to wait until my next trip to Paris in the off-season.

The facade is fascinating with its gargoyles and flying buttresses.

The side and back views of the cathedral are gorgeous and unfortunately, I think all too often tourists only view the front and crowded interior.

The back view of the cathedral is extremely impressive. 

The challenge with touring the perimeter of the building is the strain in your neck from peering up! There are just so many interesting details and little faces peering down at you.

After Notre Dame we returned to the left bank and the tourist zone of the Latin Quarter. One delightful interlude was wandering into the St Severne Church and discovering a choir concert in progress. It was delightful.

We continued to wander the streets for a while, doing a little typical tourist shopping and regrouping in yet another cafe with some wine.

Once again, we found ourselves in the early evening and not hungry enough for a restaurant but wanting a bite to eat so we visited our first street crepe stand.

Very interesting to watch them make the crepes. Amy choose one with sugar and cinnamon while I selected a cheese with ham (I’m in France and on a bit of a cheese binge).

The crepes were delicious. We nibbled our way back to our hotel to collapse exhausted with our remaining wine and plan tomorrows adventure.

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