When I finally opened my eyes and reached over for my phone to check the time, I realized that our two busy days had caught up with us and we had both slept in longer than expected. As I slowly woke up and started getting ready for the day the realization that our vacation was slowly coming to a end filled my thoughts.
As we stepped outside and took a breath of the sweet-smelling air we were welcomed with another beautiful autumn day in Paris. After a couple metro rides we emerged from the sub-terranian station on the island within the city which is home to the famous Notre-Dame de Paris.
The massive gothic cathedral was teeming with tourists madly snapping pictures and cueing up to enter the famous monument.
Seeing the long line and feeling hungry, we decided to grab some lunch before going inside. We are our lunch (mine was a delicious savoury crepe) with a view of the side of the cathedral while listening to the idyllic sound of the church bells.
After we were sufficiently full, we headed back the the entrance at the cathedral. By this time the line was a lot shorter and we basically walked right inside. It was exactly as I remembered it; as I stepped inside the enormous and quiet space I was overcome with a sense of peace and serenity. We walked slowly in a loop through the space and admired the stained glass and beautiful architecture.
Out of the cathedral we meandered along the streets to the Conciergerie. This was one place that we weren’t really excited to visit, but given that Saint Chapelle was closed for a mid-day break, and it was right there, we decided to give it a visit. With no expectations, we definitely enjoyed our visit more than we thought we would.
The Conciergerie was formerly a prison, and it’s most famous for housing Marie Antoinette before she was taken to the guillotine in 1793. This place definitely felt like a prison; you could imagine yourself as an inmate awaiting your future in a bare-bones room. The courtyard was stark and offered no glimpse of life beyond the towering walls. We left a little somber, but very touched by our visit.
Our next stop was next door to visit the Sainte-Chapelle. When we first walked in Jenn and I looked around and she said to me “really, that’s it?”. We had heard that it was stunningly beautiful, and the view before us was beautiful, but not really anything special. I was sure that there had to be another room or something, so I decided to start exploring. Sure enough, right beside the entrance there was a tiny, unassuming spiral staircase. Hoping to find a treasure, we headed upstairs and were immediately taken aback. The view amazing. We stepped into a room of almost pure stained-glass. There are no real words to describe the beauty. We spent a while looking at all the stories depicted through the glass, and soaking up all the beautiful colours around us before exiting the beautiful chapel.
At this point Jenn really wanted to visit the Jardin du Luxembourg, so we hopped on the metro to take a quick visit. On our walk from the metro station to the park we happened to pass by a restaurant whcih I had read about before leaving on our trip: L’avant Comptoir! I was so excited to stumble across it as I didn’t think we’d be able to see it before leaving.
Once in the park, we instantly fell in love. It was quiet and beautiful and we took it all in as we strolled along the gravel pathways, exploring all the corners of the park. I was so thankful that Jenn took us there.
When our feet finally ached for a little break we sat at a classic green metal table beneath the canopy of trees and enjoyed a smooth glass of red wine. We chatted for a bit and also soaked up the serene ambiance of the park in comfortable silence.
I knew that if we didn’t stop at L’avant Comptoir for a quick bite that I’d regret it, so I asked Jenn if she was ok with us stopping in really quickly. She obliged and we made our way through the plastic curtain into the “secret” bar. This place is a tad intimidating; there are no seats and the menu is suspended from the ceiling by little cards showing a picture and name of each dish available. Fortunately the server behind the bar was young, friendly, and allowed us to try our terrible French and take some time to make our selections.
She poured us a cold, crisp glass of champagne and I ordered Croustillant Canard, Orange and Jenn ordered the Cigarette Chorizo. Sipping our champagne and leaning on the zinc bar, we felt tres chic. Our food arrived quickly and we nibbled on what is probably some of the best food that we ate the whole trip. We continued to eat, munching on the complimentary pickles, warm bread, and freshly-made butter. It was so delicious, we only wished that we were more hungry. We made plans to go back the next day for our last dinner in Paris.
Feeling a little tipsy we boarded the metro to la Grande Épicerie to grab some breakfast supplies for the next couple of days and pick up some goodies to take back home with us before heading to the hotel for a little break. We let our aching feet take a break by laying on the hotel bed and just hanging out for a little bit before getting changed for dinner.
As we walked into the familiar Italian restaurant again, we sat inside the tiny, cozy dining room and ordered our favourite appetizer (caprese salad) and a nice bottle of wine and tucked into a delicious dinner. We practiced our French with the waiter (who was, once again, super friendly but didn’t speak a word of English), and chatted about our favourite moments of the trip so far, and decided on what we would do during our last day in Paris the next day.
Once we got back to the hotel, we started packing our bags so that we were ready for our trip home mand then slipped into a comfortable sleep ready to tackle our last day in Paris.