Monday, June 10, 2013

June 10, Day 2: Paris

Today was our first full day in France, although it actually feels like we've been here for longer. We woke up naturally, took showers, had a nice breakfast of bananas and croissants, and set out. We had a rendez-vous with our friends Cathy and Philippe in the 5ième at 12:30, so we decided to go early and walk around until it was time to meet them. We took the RER train to Châtelet. Then we walked around the Ile Saint-Louis. We tried to get into the Mémorial de la Déportation (Holocaust Memorial), but unfortunately it was closed.
Place du Châtelet
La Conciergerie (and the Sainte-Chapelle)
Ancient but restored clock, Quai de l'Horloge
Bridge railing adorned with locks of all kinds (the whole bridge, both sides)
A tourist at Notre Dame
Ile Saint-Louis
The tip of Ile Saint-Louis
Ile Saint-Louis, next to the river
That tourist again, Ile Saint-Louis
We met Philippe and Catherine at Le Grenier de Nôtre Dame, a very cute little vegetarian restaurant, on the tiny rue de la Bucherie, just across the river from Notre Dame. The lunch was excellent! (Even Christoforos liked it, despite his misgivings.)  The music was eclectic (Bach, country, Vivaldi, oldies rock) and the company, of course, divine.
Le Grenier de Notre Dame, 18 rue de la Bucherie
Philippe, Catherine, Nina, Christoforos
Trying to take a cool photo, but it backfired!

Philippe figuring out how best to get from Rueil-Malmaison to the Gare Saint-Lazare tomorrow morning
After lunch we visited the famous flower market, where we admired orchids the likes of which we had never seen before as well as lots of other gorgeous plants and flowers (See the Nature Diary for more pictures! but not tonight).

And then we went to a humongous hardware store, BHV (Bazaar de l'Hôtel de Ville), to find a converter plug for Chris' electric shaver. This store was the mother of all hardware stores, the precursor of Lowe's and Home Depot. They had everything (except cell phones).

Waiting in line to pay
Then Cathy and Philippe went home, and Christoforos and I visited the Sainte-Chapelle, which lived up to all the hype I have ever read and was certainly worth the wait (about half an hour) and the price of admission (8€50), but I didn't take any photos because I knew very well that they wouldn't come out, having taken my share of failed photos of stained glass windows. Suffice it to say that they were fabulous.
The Sainte-Chapelle from the outside
One of the gargoyles
A fancy cupola, la Conciergerie
Looking back at the Conciergerie as we started bqck to Le Châtelet to go home

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