After freshening up at the hotel we made our way to the closest Metro station to buy some tickets and head down towards the Place de la Concord. We ran into our only hiccup for the trio and that was when we went to purchase our tickets. Most of Europe uses whats called “Chip & Pin” for their credit cards. The cards have a little microchip on one end that the credit card reader sees and then asks the user for a pin. I had heard about this and have heard that some American travelers have run into problems using their credit cards abroad. Well, the kiosk at the Metro station did not take our magnetic stripe credit card so we were forced to use cash to purchase all of our Metro tickets for our time there. Not a big deal.
An additional note is that our magnetic strip credit cards worked at all other vendors we visited during our trip. That being said, next time I go to Europe, I am taking a Chip & Pin credit card with me as a backup in case my preferred primary card doesn’t work at a vendor.
After getting on the Paris Metro we got off at the Place de la Concord and decided to take a walk recommended in the guide book we had (Frommer’s Paris Day by Day). We walked through the park, across the Seine on a bridge that connects the Louve and the Musee D’Orsay.
From there we walked past the Musee D’Orsay, along the Seine towards Cathédrale Notre-Dame and the Île de la Cité.
After walking past the great and famous cathedral we stopped for a short rest and a chance to enjoy the view in a park behind the cathedral.
From there we crossed over to the Isle de Louis which was recommended to wander through by some people back home. Crossing back over the Seine we continued our walking tour into the Latin Quarter and into the neighborhood where Hemingway called home when he was in Paris. We were in the mood for a little something so we stopped at cafe for some cafe (coffee).
It was fun (and I think the owners got a kick) out of our broken French…probably came out more like Frenglish. We got our lattes and sat ourselves down at a table. When we finished we made our way back out not the streetm jut wandering around as we made our way towards St. Germian. I love all the little squares we would come across in Paris, surrounded by small shops, businesses, and cafes.
Everything was decorated for the Christmas season and people were out and about the bustling streets. We got to the section of Saint Germain where the famous “Shakespeare and Company” book store was but gave up looking for it because of how crowded the streets were. Instead we walked back towards Luxembourg Palace. At this point we were both very tired and wanting to find a Metro, but there was non near by. On our way to the closest Metro stop we grabbed a late afternoon croissant from a corner bakery. It was so fresh and buttery it gave us the energy to continue on. We made our way back to Isle de Louis to grab some dinner before the nighttime concert at Notre-Dame that we had tickets to.
We found a restaurant to have dinner at, went in, and were seated right away. We ordered some water as we were both parched and a pork knuckle for me and a cassoulet for my wife. Both were very delicious.
Before leaving I went to the mens room and had my first experience with a squat toilet. I was a bit taken back because I didn’t know these existed in France let alone a metropolis like Paris, but I managed.
We still had some time before the concert so we wandered in and out of the shops near the restaurant. When we finished we wandered back to the front of Notre-Dame and realized the cathedral was still open to the public so we decided to duck in and wander around the church. It was beautiful at night with it all lit up and a lingering haze from the burning incense from a previous Mass which created a mystical effect when the light hit it.
My wife was in the mood for something sweet so we left the church and ducked into a little cafe for some crepes and coffee.
We ordered two lattes and a banana and Nutella crepe to share. It was delicious!
When we finished it was time to go back to the cathedral for the concert. The performance was of Gregorian Chant. What’s more appropriate for a cathedral than chant? The music was absolutely beautiful and sounded incredible with the acoustic echo that the massive stone church gave the the music. The vocalists would move around the church while singing which gave a full surround sound to the concert. We left Notre-Dam blown away by the performance.
At this point it was time to head back to the hotel and call it a day after a long day of walking around this fantastic and lovely city.