After months of planning and approximately 15 hours of traveling, we finally arrived to the City of Lights around 10 a.m. We stayed in the Latin Quarter, which is the area south of Notre Dame. We chose this location because it is very central and close to many of the attractions in Paris. This riverside area also attracts a younger crowd and has many restaurant, bars and shops.
We opted on staying in a rental apartment rather than staying in a hotel. We found our apartment on Homeaway. We paid 50% less and gained 50% more living space. Our one bedroom apartment on Rue Monge was completely furnished and even had a kitchen, washing machine and living room. Every morning we would walk downstairs and buy fresh French bread and croissants from Eric Kayser Artisan Boulanger, just two doors down, and enjoy it with butter and strawberry jam from our fridge!
One of the first days there, we walked to the farmers market and bought fresh lilies for our coffee table.
Because we were a little jet-lagged, we decided not to pack too much sightseeing into the first day and to simply explore the Latin Quarter, Notre Dame and St. Chappelle. It was also raining that day, which limited what we could do. After we unpacked and rested for a bit, we began to walk a short distance towards the Notre Dame.
We crossed over Pont de l'Archevêché (also known as the “Love Bridge” because couples place locks with their names on it and toss the key in the Seine River in the name of eternal love).
We then passed through The Square Jean XXIII, a peaceful little park near the river in the back of Notre Dame.
Next, we headed towards the front of the building and waited in line to enter. This medieval cathedral is not to be missed! It took workers 170 years to build it beginning in 1163.
Next, we waited in line on the side of the north building to walk up the steps to the top of the Notre Dame. This breathtaking view of the city is worth the climb! No Paris trip is complete without a visit to Notre Dame.
After visiting the Notre Dame, we walked a few blocks west to St. Chappelle. Both churches are located on the same island called Ile de la Cue. Paris originated in this island over 2,000 years ago. The 15 stained glass windows in this church are a true jewel and works of art in itself. The brilliant colors shine through the windows like magic. It is simply beautiful.
Finally, we ended our day with a leisurely walk through the Latin Quarter. This area is named after the students who once lived in the area who spoke Latin.
Place St. Michel contains an impressive fountain with a bronze statue of St. Michael killing the dragon.
We traveled back east towards our apartment and encountered the narrowest street in Paris – Rue de Chat qui Peche – and the narrowest house in Paris – 22 Rue de Severin.
Next, we purchased a French cookbook in Shakespeare and Co. at No. 37 Rue de la Bucherie. Any book bought here is marked with a Shakespeare and Co. stamp.
Of course, we had to stop and have some crepes along the way. The best ones are from the Creperie stands outdoors.
On our next post, Day 2, we will take you on our journey through Versailles.