The Left Bank

 Our Saturday started a little rocky.  We had booked a walking tour with Wendy Lyn from The Paris Kitchen back in October.  We were scheduled to tour the left bank on Saturday afternoon but she called early that morning with an emergency and had to cancel on us.  So we kind of ended up with an unplanned day.  It turned out nice since the day was gorgeous and we just got to explore some.

We first headed to Ile de la Cite which is the home of Notre Dame.  When we got off the metro we were facing the Palais de Justice.  It is huge and takes up a large portion of the island.  The towers picture below are La Conciergerie where Marie Antoinette was taken before her execution.

We then continued walking to the tip of the island and to the Square du Vert-Galant under the Pont Neuf.  This park was lovely and was blooming with flowers and with Parisians.  It was nice to walk down to the tip of the island and gaze across the Seine at the boats and water.  The only downside was that it was so windy and chilly that we didn’t stay long to enjoy the park because we wanted to keep moving to stay warm!

After stopping for baguettes at a sidewalk bistro, we walked back to the center of the island to see  Notre Dame.  There was a huge area set up for the 850 year birthday of the beautiful cathedral and it was teeming with people.  But, thankfully, we didn’t have to wait in the line to enter the gorgeous building for more than a few minutes.  We did snap a quick self portrait while we waited though!

There really are very few words that can be used to describe this beautiful cathedral.  We weren’t there during a Mass, but I can only imagine what it’s like to be filled with people praising our Lord.  Walking through makes you ponder the majesty of God and what Heaven will be like since places like this are only a teeny, tiny glimpse of the grandeur that we will enjoy.

After walking throughout the cathedral inside we headed outside to head to the Saint Germain area.  The beautiful day afforded us some gorgeous pictures of Notre Dame!

Once we crossed the river we spent some time walking down the Booksellers on the Seine.  There was some lovely art prints but nothing that we couldn’t live with out.  We then headed to the famous Shakespeare and Company.  This bookstore was a hangout of such famous artists like James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, and Ezra Pound.  To be honest, I found it very clustered and cramped and full of people but it was neat to see it.
After leaving the bookstore empty handed, we walked the streets of Saint Germain some until we came upon one place that I really wanted to see, a Laduree tea room.  This location on the corner of Rue Bonaparte and Rue Jacob was recommended as the best to visit and it was so neat to get to go in, sit down, relax for a little bit, and make the most of an authentic (I think) Parisian experience.  We loved the silver teapots and utensils and pastel china.  The sugar cubes in a silver pot were beautiful.  

I had been advised that Laduree has the best cakes and macaroons (which we’d already tried from their store inside Printemps) so I tried the Millefeuille Fraise which included strawberry’s, caramelized puff pastry, Chantilly whipped cream, and vanilla mousse.  It was good but very rich!
I don’t have a lot of pictures from the rest of the day because, honestly, we were pretty tired and more than a little disappointed that our food tour didn’t work out.  We walked and explored more of the city on the way back to our hotel to rest a little and then we walked down to a great restaurant, XVIeme Avenue,  down the street from our hotel where we enjoyed the best French Onion Soup that I’ve ever tasted.  In an effort of full disclosure we went back there Sunday night too and started with the soup again!
After dinner and dessert we headed back to the hotel to get some rest before getting up early to head to the flea market the next morning!

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