Our first full day in Paris, we decided to do some shopping. Which worked out to involve a whole lot of incidental walking. We started the morning at Notre Dame, because, well, we’re in Paris, so we had to go to Notre Dame. Which is fully as fascinating as a medieval cathedral should be. We did not climb to the top of the towers (the line was already insane), but we did walk around the inside, which is really neat. There are lots of little side chapels with interesting statues and icons. Really worth the trip. There are also some lovely gardens around the church.
While we were waiting for the bus to our next destination, I realized we were just across the street from Shakespeare & Co. I know it primarily from my days as a member of a particular fandom that shall not be named, so I had to run across the street and wander on through. It is a really cool little bookstore (English language too!), and well worth a trip.
Outside, they had one of the Wallace Fountains – I kid you not – this is a water fountain. I did indeed fill my water bottle there.
So, that done, we headed back to the bus stop, and to the Galeries Lafayette, one of the grand old department stores. (I should mention, that bus lines goes through the Place de la Concorde and past the Madeleine church – such a cool ride). The store has an amazing Art Deco interior, and I was far less intimidated wandering around the really high end stuff there than I would have been in Manhatten. They also have a great roof terrace with amazing views. You can see the Opera Garnier, which is just across the street, as well as the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. The store is on Boulevard Haussman, which is a great shopping street, as well as one of the streets leading up to the Arc.
Which means that we headed up the street to the Arc (and for the shopping along the way, of course). The traffic circle there is indeed one of the great traffic watching experiences of the world. It’s insane. So insane that there’s an underground pedestrian walkway to get to the Arc. So you can wander around the bottom (and climb it if you’re so inclined).
One of the other streets leading away from the Arc is the Champs de Elysee. To complete our Parisian experience, we stopped at the Laduree there, and had pastries and espresso at their outside tables. I had a rather amazing confection called the Corelle Feuilletee Rose Framboise, which involved rose water, choux pastry, raspberries and lots of chantilly cream. So good. I mean, so good! Naturally, we also stopped at the retail store and got a box of macarons to go. My personal favorite was the pink peppercorn. If they weren’t so damn perishable, I would have brought a box of those home with me.