I have always enjoyed traveling, even if it meant sleeping in a tent when I was younger. I prefer hotels and cruise cabins now, but the motivation is the same...an adventure waiting to happen. Sometimes you will find me traveling with my husband and/or family. Sometimes I will travel alone, and sometimes I will travel with friends. I hope you find it entertaining to keep up to date with me as I explore the world around me. Warning...I like to take pictures of food so don't read if you're hungry. More adventures await...see ya soon...Amy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Paris: Wishing the Rain Away

We woke up this morning to grey skies and the weather forecast looked ominous. We ate breakfast at the hotel and scurried out in our raincoats and umbrellas to make the most of the day before the first raindrops.

Our first stop was City Pharma, the pharmacy store that sells cosmetics and skin care at a big discount over what they cost in the States. After shopping we dropped our purchases at the hotel and headed for 59 Rivoli, a building that is nothing but artist's studios.

When we arrived they weren't open yet and it wasn't raining so we walked over to Notre Dame.

We toured ourselves through the beautiful church, stopping frequently to admire the gorgeous stained glass.

After touring the church, it still wasn't raining and we had a little more time to kill so we walked over to where we could catch a boat tour of the Seine, compliments of our hotel.

We found a love locks wall. I wonder how long this one will be allowed to stay?
The boat tour was very interesting, and COLD! The boat tour took about an hour.

By the time the tour was finished, we were pretty hungry. I would like to say that we ate at a great place for lunch, but that is not the case. We stopped at the Jess Cafe and it wasn't terrible, but wasn't much to speak about either.

It filled our bellies and we were able to go back to 59 Rivoli and visit with some of the artists.

59 Rivoli used to be a squat building for artists to live and work, but now it is a legalized operation run by the artists and open to the public. The spiral staircase is completely painted with graffiti and is an art piece in itself.

You get to walk through all of their studios free of charge and interact with the artists themselves if they are so inclined.

We met an artist on one of the upper floors that was painting with a little girl. I never could figure out if it was his daughter, niece, someone taking a lesson, or just a child that he knew. Regardless, they were painting together.

He was super friendly and struck up a conversation with us right away. While he visited with us, he was sketching a little face onto a tiny piece of freehand art work that was displayed.

As he talked with us, we realized that the little face he was sketching was Maddie's! We were so taken with his quirkiness that Maddie decided she wanted to buy the little piece of art.

Maddie disagreed with us about his oddness, but either way we did agree that he was the nicest person we met in the whole building! Upon exiting the building, the rain began to sprinkle.

always fun to find a little flower shop
We walked back over to Notre Dame and I did confirm that ALL of the love locks on the bridge behind the Notre Dame have been removed, including the love locks from our family and friends. How sad!! The bridge's railings are being replaced with glass panels now.

the back of Notre Dame

checking out SnapChat filters

our "love locks" bridge is no more. Our locks have all been removed!
We wandered in the rain down Ile St. Louis and then walked back to the hotel, stopping occasionally to pop into shops that looked interesting.

We made one stop to visit the Square Rene Viviani to look at the oldest tree in Paris. It is a Robinia tree that is believed to have been planted in 1602!

The oldest tree in Paris held up by concrete!
We were struck by the unique beauty of this sculpture fountain, the Saint Julien Fountain, also located in the square. It is decorated with stags’ heads and water drops that represent aspects of the legend of St. Julien. In addition, there are infants, some of whom have wings while others appear to be lifeless. I am not sure if this information related to the fountain is correct, but under the Vichy government (the government of France that collaborated with Nazi Germany from 1940 till 1944) more than 11,000 infants were deported by the Nazis to Auschwitz because they were Jewish. About one hundred of these children lived in the vicinity of this square in the 5th arrondissement. If this is a special memorial component of the structure, the majority of guidebooks fail to mention it. Either way it is odd but beautiful!

We also sought out the narrowest street in Paris, Rue du Chat-qui-Peche (the street of the fishing cat)

We walked by the Fontaine Saint-Michel on the way back to the hotel. This is a HUGE fountain constructed in 1858-1860 that you just can't miss. It contains a statue of the archangel Michael and the devil.

We ate supper tonight at Le Relais de l'Entrecote. Its a favorite of mine and I always try to go there when I am here. The only thing on the menu is steak (with a secret sauce) and frites (and fabulous dessert) and they do it all very well!

We always get in (a much shorter) line about 15-20 minutes before they open for the evening. The line is always down the block when we leave! 

Debbie and I went for a Starbucks latte before we retired early for the night. It's been a full day but we were thankful that the rain wasn't bad and we didn't get soaked. It was, after all, a 100% chance of rain today. So until tomorrow...

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