Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Left Bank and Notre Dame

I apologize in advance, but this is one hell of a long post.  I knew my feet and legs were tired as I sat here in our cushy hotel bed with my feet propped up on the spare pillow - but it wasn't until I went through these photos that I remembered exactly why I was so tired.  We packed in quite a bit today.  

Like the mornings before it, today started off with a stroll in search of pastries.  A croissant and pain au chocolat to be exact.  We happened upon another adorable florist.

One of my favorite surprises of the day was this great bean, nut, and olive store called Maison Micro.  I bought about two pounds of french lentils...at about 10AM.  We then lugged them around until 4:30, which was not my brightest idea ever.  I can't wait to make them at home, though!

I have no idea why I'm so scary looking here, but there you have it.

We crossed the Seine to the Ile de la Cite complete with cute shops and elementary school kids in matching electric yellow vests.

Of course the real draw of the Ile de la Cite is this church you may have heard of before, Notre Dame.

Beautiful stained glass surrounded us everywhere we looked inside stunning Notre Dame.

We bit the bullet and waited an hour in line to make it to the top (well not the tippy top) of Notre Dame, complete with chimeras and majestic views.  

The back of Notre Dame is also not to be missed if you want to see the flying buttresses.  (I also wanted to see the bathroom, out back.)

We then crossed over to a second island in the Seine - the Ile Saint-Louis.  Not to be confused with St. Louis, Missouri, this Parisian island hosts some of the highest rents in the city and has numerous Berthillion ice cream shops (the best in Paris) and adorable food specialty stores.

We crossed the Seine again (with Notre Dame in the distance) to reach the famous Left Bank.

We made a stop at Shakespeare and Company bookstore which was started by an American as a bookstore downstairs and provides free apartments (still today) to writers.  Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce were frequent visitors.

You really do see the damnedest things in Paris.

We made a special trip to Patrick Roger chocolates and were in awe of all their creations.  This place is stunning - particularly the gigantic chocolate gorilla and candy pumpkins.  We walked away with our fair share of chocolates from this place.

After grabbing some bread at Poilane bakery we tore off chunks for lunch while sitting on a bench watching old men play chess at the Luxembourg Garden.

We, of course, had to check out Les Bouquinistes - the riverside vendors along the Seine selling used books and had to pick up some macaroons from Laduree (they invented macaroons afterall) before leaving the Rive Gauche.    

Dinner tonight was our favorite meal of the trip.  Le Mesturet (77 Rue de Richelieu) is a casual and friendly restaurant with amazing food and great prices.  My Hungry for Paris book described it as a place Parisians go to when they don't feel like cooking themselves.  John and I both got the squash soup topped with friend ham (of some sort - not unlike bacon) and chives and I got tender and perfect duck confit with a beautifully crisp skin for a crust.  We shared a chocolate cake with pistachio cream and left insanely full but happy.

Time to read the guidebook about tomorrow's adventures.  Good night!


  1. Hello Kathy!

    So bummed we missed each other only by a few days :(

  2. I suspect that Paris hasn't had trouble besting that meal you had in the Houston airport? We'll be making waffle cookies with Ginny in just a few weeks but keep on enjoying!!


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