After a miserable night of sleep (I never sleep well my first night in a strange place) it was nice to wake up to a fresh pot of coffee and breakfast in my pajamas. That, I must say, is one of the best things about staying in an apartment over a hotel room. We hung out in the apartment until Ava got her morning nap, so we were ready to head out around 10:30.
We wanted to start our day in the historic area of Paris, which is the island located in the center of the Seine River and is home to Notre Dame Cathedral and Saint Chappelle. After our visit I have sort of developed an irrational obsession with Paris and have watched a few documentaries about the city and some of its famous inhabitants. This island was also the birthplace of the French Revolution.
The weather was pretty nice so we decided to walk from our apartment. We did a lot of walking this day. Here is a map of all the walking we did on day 1 (I know…total nerd alert)
Our first stop was Notre Dame and I must say this church was even more beautiful than I had expected it to be. What I find so incredible is that this church was started in 1163 and was not completed until 1345. How difficult it must have been to work so hard on a project that you will never see completed. When you look at the size of this church it is incredible to think that it was built prior to the use of modern machinery. The towers stand 200 feet tall, but we did not make the climb (not fun with a baby).
The Last Judgment- Notice the angel and the demon weighing the souls in the balance. The bad souls are to the right and the good souls are to the left, gazing up at heaven.
Mary in the Rose Window and the Kings of Judah. During the French Revolution there was such a hatred of French Kings that some Paris citizens beheaded these kings and they weren’t repaired for decades. Someone actually buried the heads on her property and they were unearthed in 1977.
The inside of the church is just as impressive as the outside. During our visit we were able to see a display of the nine new bells ordered for the church’s 850th birthday (holy cow that is old!). The church’s original bells were destroyed during the French Revolution (poor Notre Dame really took a beating). The 4 replacement bells, which were cast in the 19th century, were removed, melted down and made into 8 new bells. The new bells, which were now on the display, will be placed in the tower at the end of the month and will be rung for the first time on March 23rd, the day before Palm Sunday. The bells lined the aisle of the church and it was quite a display. The bells were on display for less than 1 month, so we were pretty lucky to catch it.
This is the main bell and the largest. “Her” name is Mary and she weighs a whopping 6 1/2 tons.
More pictures from Notre Dame
After leaving Notre Dame, we traveled over one of the “Love Lock” bridges, the Pont de l’Archeveche. There are actually 2 “Love Lock” bridges in Paris. One has locks for your committed love and the other bridge has locks for your lover. Pont de l’Archeveche is for your lover. We then walked to the Louvre (just to see the outside, it was closed that day), and then to the Musee D’Orsay. I have no pictures from inside, but I loved seeing the ACTUAL impressionist works and Van Gogh paintings that I have learned about in school. That was one of the highlights of my trip. After we got in trouble for wearing Ava on Dan’s shoulders, I put her in the baby carrier and we had a great time walking around and looking at art.
After the museum we walked back to the apartment to allow Ava to nap and to rest up for before dinner. My feet were sure barking after all that walking. We made sure to stop for some necessities before heading back. I did not get a picture of the beautiful, very stinky cheese that we grabbed as well. Wine, cheese and pastries was the perfect ending to a great afternoon.