The last of the Parisian posts! It’s over a week since we returned and I still miss being there. I’m not normally much of a city girl but Paris has wiggled its way determinedly on to my list of happy places. I like it when you’ve seen pictures and heard stories about a place and the real experience of it lives up to all those expectations. I adored seeing all the colourful checked chairs outside the cafés; the shop windows loaded with freshly baked goods; the très très chic Parisians and the street artists gleaning inspirations from all the architecture on display. And it really does evoke the promised romance as well! We began our third day by heading to Notre Dame Cathedral…
Notre Dame De Paris translates as ‘Our Lady of Paris’. The Cathedral was damaged during the French Revolution but over time it was painstakingly restored and is now considered to be one of the most impressive showcases of French Gothic architecture. In fact, the front of the Cathedral looks uncannily like our own rather Gothic Westminster Abbey in London!
Despite being infiltrated by tourists Notre Dame Cathedral was a lovely, peaceful place and I could see people tucked away in corners praying and lighting candles. The stained glass is also beautiful, particularly the South Rose Window. After Notre Dame, we ambled through the streets of Paris with the sole purpose of finding macarons. I’m so glad we walked rather than catching the metro because there were so many beautiful buildings en route.
And pretty shops at Place Vendome…
They are opening a newly refurbished Ritz in Place Vendome soon and it’s all secretive and covered up. I think we can assume it’s going to be rather grand though – here’s to dreaming! On the Rue Royale we eventually found what we were looking for…Ladurée. I always want to sing ‘Ladurée’ to the tune of ‘Masquerade’ from Phantom of the Opera, and since the Palais Garnier is only a couple of streets away I feel that this is very appropriate.
Well hello, macarons. This quaint, pastel-coloured little Delicatessen had piles of pretty macarons, as well as other elegant confectionery. We picked out vanilla, salted caramel, orange blossom and pistachio flavoured macarons and they put our selection into a special box and a special bag.
Suffice to say, they went down well. Just the right blend of crispy round the edges and gooey in the centre. I have never made macarons but I have always thought that they look very impressive so I might have a go soon. Watch this space. (They definitely won’t look like Ladurée’s).
Our final stop before heading home was the Montmartre district of Paris, which is helpfully near the Eurostar station. Montmartre is actually a hill (meaning Mount of Mars) and it is particularly famous for its artistic community. Salvador Dali, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso and Vincent Van Gogh all worked around the area and had studios there. It is also home to the Moulin Rouge, the well-known cabaret and birthplace of the can-can. You can purchase quite expensive tickets to see a show but tickets do sell out quickly. I suspect it may be rather saucy!
At the top of the hill is the Basilica of the Sacré-Couer, the Sacred Heart of Paris. It has spectacular views of the whole of Paris, being the highest point in the city. You are not allowed to take photographs inside which I felt was quite appropriate, particularly for those worshipping. So you’ll have to go and see for yourself what it looks like, but it is not lacking in beautiful architecture and very large and impressive organ pipes. Ironically, it is also pickpocket’s paradise so watch your handbag!
At last, I had to sadly accept that our whirlwind tour was over. But I will be back. No doubt about it. Paris has stolen my own sacré-couer 😉 And now there is nothing for it but to plan the next mini-break! I’m thinking Milan, but I’m open to ideas…
One last tart for the road 🙂