After a much needed long nights sleep, best friend and I were determined to make up for our first day in Paris with a fabulous second one. We had breakfast at the hostel, (we stayed at the Trendy Hostel which has breakfast included, a big plus. It’s a bit out of the way, but right next to the metro and a nice relaxing place to be at the en of the day) and then set out to visit the Opera, home of the Paris Opera, and also the real life inspiration for one of my favorite books, The a Phantom of the Opera, which was alter made into several movies, stage plays, and then the widely popular musical. I can’t truly describe the beauty of the any of the astounding architecture of Paris, but the opera house with its golden, winged, statues, and intricate carvings, archways, and columns is really sight to behold and I hope someday I et the chance to sit inside this gorgeous building and see an opera.
After a quick money exchange we made our way to Norte Dame where we attended Monday afternoon mass which was, although in French, a language I really know hardly any of, still incredibly moving. I am a believer and getting to go to a service in one of the most beautiful and historic churches in the world was something beyond words. To see the beauty of both the outside and inside of Notre Dame, and the way that people were able to express their devotion and love of God through their talents of architecture, sculpture, painting, and glass work was so moving. I will admit, however, that it is a little bit bizarre to be attending church with hundreds of tourists standing on the edges taking pictures of it like it’s some kind of performance. But j am glad that the church is a working cathedral and not just a tourist trap like so many other grand churches around the world.
After mass we went in search for food but made a quick stop a the Shakespeare and Company book store because it’s impossible for two book lovers not to find themselves drawn in by the piles and piles of books held within that shop. I could have spent all day looking at books and would have surely spent more money than I could afford on books had I not remembered that I basically have no more room for anything in my bags.
Our search for substinance led us to what is my favorite place in Paris, if not the world that I’ve explored this far, Montmartre. Montmartre is actually the name of the hill that this district lies at the foot of, but as an artist myself and a lover of art and literature, Montmartre is a dream come true. Unfortunately due to the influx of tourists to the area (sorry Paris) the artists can no longer afford to live in Montmartre for the most part which is a huge pity because that’s what makes it so wonderful. It was the home of such artists as Pablo Picasso and Monet, and was frequented by writers such as Hemingway and Langston Hughs.
We found a bakery, bought a delicious lunch of sandwiches, croissants, and diet coke, and found out way up a hill to a tree covered courtyard and a (albeit very wet) bench to eat on. This bench was right outside the building where Monet and Picasso both lived and worked in their early days in Paris. If I had to pinpoint the exact moment I fell in love with Paris it was right there. Right in front of the former lodgings of artistic greatness, under trees with orange and yellow leaves falling at our feet, eating the best croissant I have ever had, I fell in love with Paris.
After resting for a while we started our climb to the cathedral Montmartre, and the best view of the city from anywhere in my opinion. We got to the top, took a deep breathe and just stood there in awe of the beauty of our view. That lasted approximately two minutes before we realized that Best Friend’s phone had been stolen when she accidentally put in her back pocket after checking directions. There were a few moments of panic and frustration, and then we realized that A) her phone was covered for theft so she could get a new one next week, and B) there was nothing we could do about it right then so we continued on our way more or less unaffected by the unfortunate theft.
After that it had started to rain even harder and my shoes were soaked through, so we decided to go back to the hostel and relax for a bit before meeting our friends again for dinner that night.
Around 6:30 it had stopped raining so we made our way back into the city for dinner and we met our friends at a small crepe shop and I had the best tomato, lettuce, and feta crepe, and then an hour later an even better nutella and banana crepe. It was a good food day over all.