“A spunky Canadian and an anxiety-ridden British go exploring in the cultural capital of Europe.”
That’s how Sarah has put our little adventure, and it’s pretty accurate.
We started small this morning. Since I’m an avid reader and known to family and non-writer friends as “The Writer One” (and known to my writer friends as Ivy), Shakespeare & Company was a bookshop recommended to me by multiple people. I can’t resist a good bookshop, so that was our first stop of the day. It. Was. Heaven. I stepped in, and there were books, old and new, from the floor to the ceiling, on every wall, covering every surface…*sigh* And then I went farther in and more walls covered in more books popped up so that I was never more than a foot away from at least fifty books. And then I found the stairs and went up to find…older books! And out of nowhere there was a piano that worked and I found a little nook with a desk and typewriter, and there was a room with a comfy couch, a hot guy, and a cat. It was great.
I didn’t get any books because of the weight restrictions when I fly back to Canada. Sarah got three. Then we went off to search for an ice cream shop called Berthillon which people have said has the best ice cream in Paris. On the way we passed Notre Dame again and came across the Pont des Arts, the bridge famous for being covered in love locks.
It was a bit difficult to find the ice cream shop because every restaurant in the vicinity advertised having Berthillon ice cream. We finally found it, went for lunch, and then went back for two scoops each. I got salted caramel, which was good, and pear, which was better, and they tasted best when put together. With our ice cream in hand, we set off in search of the Roman Arena.
At this point, neither Sarah nor I really cared how fast we went. At one point, a very good-looking man was walking in front of us wearing runners, jeans…and that’s it. Despite me totally joking about following him, he ended up walking right in front of us for a while anyway. Eventually he disappeared into a building and I realized I didn’t know where the arena was from where we were. But I swear it had nothing to do with the hot, shirtless French guy in front of us. Even though I was the one with the map.
After walking in a circle (or two), we found the ancient remnants of a once great Roman Arena…which looked a bit anti-climactic to be honest. We looked around, then aimed for the Pantheon and started walking again. We never made it to the Pantheon. Instead we got tired, found a metro station, and decided to go to L’Hôtel des Invalides where Napoleon was buried.
It was impressive. Somehow, we found ourselves in another museum (this one was a military museum focusing on the two World Wars, the last one was mostly art and stuff from the 1920s and earlier), and then we found ourselves in another cathedral (There’s no avoiding them in this city, is there? We had lunch across the street from one, too.) before finally finding the place where Napoleon’s body is. It was beautiful, and I kept finding myself looking at the ceiling in awe of the detail put into it.
After visiting L’Hôtel des Invalides, we did the ultimate tourist thing: We visited the Eiffel Tower. Rather than going to the scarily crowded underbelly to wait in the hot sun for hours for an overpriced ticket to go up to see a view of Paris that wouldn’t even include the Eiffel Tower, Sarah and I saw it from afar. There, it was also crowded but from the looks of it, not as bad. As I had promised my friend Hannah, back in Calgary, I took the cheesiest, most touristy picture I could.
Tomorrow looks promising, so don’t forget to check out my next post! And if you’d like to read about my Paris trip from the beginning, you can start here.