Sunday, November 6, 2011

Paris: Part Deux

After a perfect morning in Paris, it was time to head back out for a busy afternoon in the city of love and lights. We had no idea what we would have time to see, but as it turns out, we would make it to see quite a lot. Paris is quite a walkable city, with the exception of Versailles, which is further outside of the city. Indeed, we made sure to make it there too. Giverny, however, which is high on my list, would have to wait for next time.


Just for fun, some of my favorite French inspired Paintings by Renoir and Seurat, respectively. A high school art history class gave me a lifelong weakness for all things art. When I think of Paris, I think of these paintings and their respective ambiances. Being two of my favorite paintings, suffice it to say that I fell in love with Paris, which indeed feels a lot like the paintings below.

Our first stop in the afternoon as we made our way to Notre Dame Cathedral was at the famous Hotel de Ville. This building houses the city of Paris's administration, its municipality building.

And just a short ways away from here was one of many times we came face-to-face with the beautiful and calming River Seine.  Here we are at the location just across from Notre Dame Cathedral.

And then there we were at the famous Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris's well-known French-Gothic inspired masterpiece. You can hear the church bells ringing on the hour throughout town and likely you can see a bride or two taking wedding photos around here.



Dating back to the 13th century, we passed by the Sorbonne on our stroll through the Latin Quarter of Paris on our way to Luxembourg Gardens. One of the world's oldest universities, it is also one of the most prestigious. It was a nice surprise to run into it unexpectedly on our way through town.

Just around the bend, we found the entrance to Luxembourg Gardens. It seemed like the entirety of Paris, or half of the people at least, came up with the same idea of heading outside to the Luxembourg Gardens to enjoy this wonderful fall weather. It was around 2 or 3 p.m. and became warm enough that I even took my jacket off. What a pleasant surprise that was. I could have spent the entire day relaxing with a book and people watching here in this most quintessential parkland.



What a nice treat for our traveling feet. We probably spent a good hour just soaking it all up, enjoying one of the most beautiful spots in Paris. Eventually it was time to go, because we still had one more stop on our list and that was at Versailles, a good 45 minute metro ride out from the center of town. Actually, it was the perfect time to take a quick nap before arriving at our last sightseeing destination before nightfall.

And if you make it to the Palace of Versailles, you cannot not go through the breathtaking Gardens, which are perhaps the main draw to Versailles itself. We happened to be there just in time for the fountain show. Walking through these gardens with classical music playing from hidden rock speakers, you really feel like you're in the lap of luxury. You have to pinch yourself and say, wow, is this really real? I could get used to walking these grounds on a regular basis. For someone who loves greenery, it was the epitome of garden life.

Literally everywhere you looked was beautiful, breathtaking, flawless. And you can't believe how large the entire area of the gardens are at Versailles. Literally, you can spend half a day exploring all the nooks and crannies, perhaps even more. Next time, I'd love to be one of those lucky people riding a boat on the lake. Now if that's not a Seurat painting come to life, I don't know what is. Last but not least, we had to make time to visit the historic Moulin Rouge, famous for its burlesque shows back in the day. It was pretty exciting to see in person. And you should have seen the line out the door. It literally went on for blocks and blocks and blocks. I had no idea if the end of the line would ever make it inside and I guess we'll never know.

Before we knew it, our time in Paris had come to an end and we had to scurry to the train station to catch our train to Belgium, just an hour away. Now, that's something I could get used to...hopping on  a train and arriving in a new country in a heartbeat. Paris left much to be treasured and much more to be desired for next time. After our whirlwind visit to to Paris, it was time to bathe in Belgian culture for the next few days. I'll be showing you the romantic city of Bruges, the cultural capital of Antwerp and the political powerhouse of Brussels. And then, I'll finally be back up to speed here in Israel. Hope you've enjoyed seeing our travels, I know I've enjoyed reminiscing.

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