Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Weekend in Paris, Pt 3

(see Part 1 and Part 2)

Eva, Zach and I agreed to meet back up at 9am on Sunday morning. We decided to have another go at trying to climb to the top of Notre Dame, so we headed straight on over there to try to get in line. Zach and I were somewhat tempted to go into Mass, at least for a little bit (what better time to go to a Catholic mass in Notre Dame than on Easter Sunday?) but we figured there were probably many people much more deserving of that treat than us, as for us it would be more of a novelty than anything. So we got in line to climb up the tower instead, the line was long already but not horrendously so. I ducked out for a few minutes to do some souvenir shopping at a shop across the street (so many cute souvenirs!). Anyway, we finally made it in, and walked up more narrow, windy staircases, first to the gift shop and then up to the top of the building. It was once again nice and sunny, though with a biting wind, but the views were nice from the top anyway and there's tons of cool gargoyles lining the building. Unfortunately the passageways were pretty narrow so it was hard to maneuver around all the people at times. We got to climb up to where the big church bell is, where a lady was standing guard of it... or, actually, she was just kinda there, concentrating more on spreading little chocolate eggs and Easter bunnies all around the structure of the bell and around it. It was pretty amusing (Zach at one point wondered whether she was a legitimate person working there, of if she'd just snuck in hehe). I heard someone asking her about the chocolates and she practically yelled at him, "Don't you know what today is? It's Easter Sunday! Don't you know that we celebrate Easter with chocolates?!?" lol!

Once all the way through the tour and back down and outside the building, we got to see a bunch of Catholic priests walking outside the cathedral, holding smoking incense and I think a cross, waiting to go into the cathedral as part of the service, I presume. It was pretty cool.

After this we didn't have much of a plan, we walked around a bit heading towards the Pont Marie area that our French lady friend from the train had told us about, and sat at a sidewalk cafe and had a coffee. We then walked around the Montmarte area, past the Moulin Rouge and then up the hill towards these adorable little neighborhoods. I bought a toasted ciabatta sandwich from this street vendor, and I must say... it was amazing. It was made with chicken, tomatoes, mozzarella, and I think some basil, all melted from being toasted, and it was absolutely fabulous and wonderful.

We made our way over to the Basilica Sacre-Coeur, Eva went inside to see what it's like but there were so many people Zach and I opted out b/c we knew inside it would just be a mad house. So instead we walked around the building and found this little park on the other side of it, where a bunch of people were sprawled out on the grass. We laid down in an open spot and took a brief nap in the sun. It was wonderful.

Zach had heard about a cemetery nearby in which Jim Morrisson had been buried, so we went off in search of that, along the way coming across the Lapin Agile, a bar that Picasso frequented a lot and the setting for the play written by Steve Martin, that Cristina was in a few months ago (and where she met her current beau!). Anyway, we got to the cemetery, only to find that it was the wrong one... oh well, it was neat to walk around the raised tombs anyway. As Zach mentioned, there's something strangely serene about cemeteries. On the way out we saw this cute kitty and Zach tried to pet it, except this cat wouldn't even acknowledge his presence. Seriously. It wouldn't even look at us. This was especially weird to us, after getting used to the cats around our house that will see you and practically run up to you to get petted. But not this cat... this cat was a Parisian cat. ; )

After the cemetery we stopped at another cafe to rest our feet and allow Zach and Eva to have a beer, then we went back to the hotel to rest up for an hour or so. We then headed back out for dinner, debating whether to find a place near the hotel or try to venture out further into the city. Unfortunately by this point we were all feeling pretty beat so we opted for a closer place. We found this Italian bistro with some very outgoing waiters. The food was great (though a bit of an unfair comparison, after the previous night's amazing meal). We wound up talking quite a bit with our waiter, who was French and part Italian. He seemed happy to get to practice some English with us, and by the end of the night he gave us his contact info for next time we're in town. I don't know if we'll actually get together with him one day, but it might be nice to know someone in Paris, right? ; )

After dinner we walked over to the Champs de Mars, the park facing the Eiffel Tower and walked up it towards the tower as we watched the light show (which really sounds impressive, but all it is is a bunch of blinky lights all around the tower, sort of like a christmas tree but faster and more spastic). I don't know what time it was by then, but probably again close to midnight or past it, and we once again headed back to our hotel rooms, tired but satisfied from another great day, off to get some rest on our last night in Paris.

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