Day Three: Woke up early so that we could be right on-time when the Louvre opened... only to find out that it was closed on Tuesdays. Oh well! We decided to walk to the Notre Dame. The Seine was beautiful as ever along the way. We went inside and decided to pay the 4 Euros to see the Notre Dame's treasury. Pretty cool -- saw some relics such a creepy jaw bone. Not sure who's it was.
Then we walked over to Shakespeare and Co. which is just across the river from the Notre Dame. It is such a lovely old bookstore full of interesting nooks and crannies and old memorabilia. I kind of wanted to stay there forever.
From there we headed all the way to Montmartre... Up the steep steps to Sacre Coeur for a classic view. Just below it is the Dali Museum, which I hadn't been to before. I enjoyed it; Dali has grown on me. I used to not like him, but I think it was my mother's influence (sorry, Mom!).
We stopped for beers at a cafe, and then continued on to the Montmartre Cemetery, which was quite beautiful. I didn't even know it existed. Is it weird to like cemeteries? Whatever. There were lots of feral cats there, which was kind of creepy. Maybe the spirits of the dead inhabit their bodies! Or maybe they are spiritual protectors of the cemetery. Sorry, my mind is too fanciful. Degas was buried at this cemetery, but I was unable to find his grave.
For dinner we went to a little bistro called Le Temps des Cerises in the Bastille. The staff was so friendly and helped us translate the French-only menu. We got a bottle of red wine, and started with a lentil salad with prosciutto. I got a steak with sauteed scallops on top. So delicious. It came with salad and fries as well. After dinner, we had one last drink (oh, and a creme brulee) at a lively neighborhood cafe. Britta and Doug left early the next morning.
Day Four: Well, well, well, time to have Paris to myself! I headed over to Les Halles after reading about the area on David Lebovitz's website. It was basically a foodie's paradise. There are a lot of cool restaurant supply shops. I picked up a few caneles from Stohrer, the oldest pastry shop in Paris! The founder invented the Baba au Rhum! Later that night when I arrived home, I ate one of the caneles and gave Josh the other... We were both like hoollyyy gosssshhh that is good. I also picked up a chocolate chip cookie that looked like heaven from Kayser. I really wish the weather had been better, otherwise I would have grabbed picnic fixings from all the other lovely shops on the street.
I couldn't leave Paris without having some Berthillon ice cream, so I traveled over to the Ile de St. Louis. It may have been raining and only 11 a.m. but I got my Berthillon fix alright. I decided on a double cone of salted caramel (rivaling Molly Moon's) and Noix de Coco, and ate it under my pink umbrella like a pro.
I walked and walked and walked, trying to find the perfect bistro to have lunch at. It's a problem I have: I always hold out for "perfect" because I want to have the best experience possible. I was walking by the Sarbonne, and lo and behold, there was Brasserie Balzar's neon beer mug sign in the distance! It was destiny! I had read about Balzar seven years ago in Adam Gopnik's wonderful Paris to the Moon while on study abroad. It was his favorite haunt, but unfortunately it was sold to some restaurant conglomerate. I still wanted to experience it. Balzar is famous for it's service, and I have to say I was quite intimidated by it. It felt like everyone was watching my every move, waiting for me to put my menu down, finish my plate and whisk it away, etc. But everyone was very kind at the same time. I got a glass of Chablis, the French onion soup (the cheese layer was so very toasty), and a salad of green beans, mushrooms, tomato, and I think a parmesan. It was a nice meal, but I felt a little cheap because everyone around me was indulging in these huge elaborate lunches with so many courses. I didn't want to eat too much, as I was already feeling so sluggish from the amount of rich foods I had already ate on the trip... And that is why I am not a French person!
It began to pour right when I left, but I wanted to power through and do a few more things since my time was coming to an end. So I hopped on the Metro and made it to Pere Lachaise Cemetery and walked through the rain in search of Oscar Wilde's grave. I knew what it looked like, and so I got my lipstick ready to lay a kiss on the big hunk of cement. Alas, there was a plastic partition put up to deter such shows of affection! Oh well. If it hadn't been raining so hard I would have wandered around more to find Modigliani and Edith Piaf, but I am not a fan of dampness, so I headed back underground.
On my way back to my apartment, I had to stop at a small vintage clothing store in the Bastille. Such a wonderful collection, I could have spent much more time and money there, but I quickly picked out the most perfect classic blue striped French boater top. For 15 Euros! Sweet victory.
So that was my trip. I can't wait to go back and do and see and eat MORE MORE MORE. Till then...