Day 1: Notre Dame & The Louvre (while sleep deprived)

I don’t know where I should start day 1? From the time we landed in Paris or from the last time we actually went to sleep which was over 30 hours ago in Chicago. Despite running on absolute fumes, we couldn’t let it get in the way of our first day of Paris so we powered through it like champs.

We flew from Chicago to Atlanta on a nice, turbulence-filled flight, and then from Atlanta to Paris which also had it’s fair share of bumps for the first 3 hours. If you can't tell, I'm not a huge fan of being tossed around in a large metal aircraft 30,000 feet above the ground or ocean. 

We finally landed in Paris at 7:30 AM local time (12:30 AM CST). Our brains said it was time for the sleep but the sun and clock said otherwise. We made our way to the apartment we are staying at which Caity booked on Paris’ version of Airbnb. 

The apartment is in the Marais neighborhood which is a really cool little area along a canal with what appears to be a lot of bars and restaurants, and a lot of younger people out and about. It was kind of hard to tell if some restaurants were permanently closed or just closed because it was Sunday so we will get a better idea of that come Monday.

We decided to do more of an outside sightseeing day because the forecast was showing clear skies until about 2:00 PM and the rest of the time we are here wasn’t looking fantastic weather-wise. After jumping on a train at the Gare de I’Est station (.5 miles away from apartment) we made our way to the Citè metro stop that popped us out right in front of Notre-Dame (the Hunchback of Notre Dame Church for all of you amateurs reading). We actually saw Sainte Chapelle and the Palais de Justice first, which has a very impressive golden gate in front of it and the gothic style steeple was unlike anything I’d ever seen, so naturally I thought it to be Notre Dame.

Cait corrected me and led me to Notre Dame. I have to admit that we first saw Notre Dame coming at it from the front and from a distance so my first comment was “Is that it?” However, as I got closer and as we made our way around the church, I had a much larger appreciation than initially. Our trusty Rick Steves guide did a great job of explaining everything we were looking at on the church. The line to get inside the church would have taken up all 3 days we had in Paris so skipped it for now and maybe will come back if we have time.

We continued to follow Rick’s (we refer to Rick as if he’s a dear friend) Historic Walk laid out in the book. Stops included:

-       Pont Zero & Notre Dame

-       Deportation Memorial (Memorializing the French Holocaust victims)

-       Ile St. Louis

-       Left Bank Booksellers

-       Medieval Paris- St. Julien-le-Pauvre

-       St. Sèverin

-       Boulevard St. Michel

-       Place St. Michel

-       Sainte Chapelle

-       Conciergerie (Where Marie-Antoinette was held before being sent to the guillotine)

-     Place Dauphine

It was absolutely crazy how we were just walking on these awesome little cobblestone alleyways with sidewalk cafes surrounding them and then out of nowhere a gorgeous church just pops up. We were stopping so often to read what landmark we were looking at and its significance that I just decided to become a full blown tourist and carry the book in my hand as if to yell out “Hey pickpockets, I am an easy one!”

We wandered around on this self-guided walk until about 2:00, when we hit the Louvre. I don’t think I am only person who hasn’t been to Paris who thought the Louvre was just the glass pyramids. Well, of course I am wrong. This place is MASSIVE, and it’s even crazier to think it was originally a palace.

Since it was now about 2:00 PM and rain clouds were visible, we got in a the surprisingly short (and by short I mean the notch under massive) line to enter the museum. We got into the museum in 20 minutes and made our way to the museum’s MVP, the Mona Lisa. It’s incredible the thousands of pieces of art that people were passing without even glancing, all because they were rushing to the Mona Lisa—so we tried to be a bit more observant until we made our way into the jammed pack room holding the famous painting.

The museum is impossible to see in one whole day (over 30,000 pieces of art) so we spent the next couple of hours there and made sure to see all of the essentials.

Once finished we had now surpassed being up for longer than 24 hours so were tired and hungry and stopped at the first place in the Tuileries Gardens outside the Louvre and had a Le Cheeseburger. Sorry dad, we will make you proud tomorrow and eat something more authentic, but desperate times call for desperate measures (you don’t want to tangle with Hangry Caitlin).

We finished our burgers at 5:00, wandered around the gardens and saw the Ferris Wheel and Luxor Obelisk, a monument hauled from the Luxor Pyramid in Egypt to Paris in 1833.

At this point, were becoming so delusional we thought we saw a goat being used as a French lawnmower.

So made our way to our apartment and slept on and off from 6:00 PM to 8:00 AM this morning.

Good first day and the weather is looking like no rain for Monday!