January 16 2014
Somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean.
So I'm off to Paris again. My friend Christina announced five years ago that she wanted to celebrate her 40th birthday in Paris so we had 5 years to get ready. So here we are. We are 11 making our way to Paris from Montreal, Vancouver and London. The eight of us from Montreal were lucky to have access to the maple leaf lounge (thanks Steven!) so we started off the trip in class.
We are currently 2 hours into the flight. We seem to attract a lot of attention everywhere we go. I guess we'd better get used to it. Laughter from a group of people is bound to attract attention.
When I travel from CDG to the city I like to use a car service. It's easier than trying to catch a shuttle and surprisingly cheaper than a cab. Plus who wouldn't want to have a driver waiting for you after a long flight? The eight of us will travel to and from the airport in a private shuttle for 45$ CDN including tip. Sounds like a bargain to me!
They've just turned off the lights, time to try to have a snooze.
We'd planned our day with almost military precision. That's how it has to happen if you want to hit everything everyone wants to do.
We started off at Sainte Chapelle - built in the 13th century to house Jesus' Crown of Thorns. The stained glass was pretty impressive but for some reason it jut didn't WOW me. The interesting thing is that this church and its stained glass were the best part of the day for most of the group. I did however have a good chuckle because the was a Korean group with semi professional film equipment trying to film a movie in the chapel interior. There was a girl walking solemnly up the aisle looking at the alter. It was strange and they were having trouble filming with group of 10 trying to inspect the stained glass. It was a funny distraction..
Next on the agenda was Notre-Dame cathedral which is a personal favourite of mine. We went for gregorian mass. It was awesome and a first because I have never listened to a latin mass before. It did not disappoint, I was moved. For some reason, I always feel a strong connection to my maternal grand-mother Mamie when I'm here. I felt her close again and always felt happy that she's there with me in spirit even though she never got to go. Another surprise was that Christ's crown of thorns was on display at Notre-Dame.
After mass, some of the group chose to climb the Notre-Dame towers. I unfortunately am having foot issues, so I chose to skip and have a great lunch with Jen instead. The Gargoyle tour was apparently amazing a fairly we'll organized. The line was long but they let in 20 people every 10 minutes so the line moves in spurts. Our group gotta trough in about an hour.
We then made our way across town to the catacombs. The catacombs always have a fairly long line and there's no real way to get around it. Be there before 2:30 if you want to be admitted before closing at 4pm. Now I have to admit, I don't think I would have visited the catacombs if it weren't for the fact that most of the group wanted to go. So what's in the catacombs? The bones of 6 million Parisians that were relocated from the cemeteries to an ossuary in the catacombs. It was a little creepy and a little interesting. I would have preferred that it be a little shorter but I'm glad I went. I got a little claustrophobic at the end for the climb up a tight narrow staircase with almost 100 stairs. My quads are going to be rock hard by the time I get back home. Parisians love their stairs!
Following the catacombs we headed over to the Parthenon. I was hoping to see the Foucault pendulum and others wanted to see Marie Curie's tomb. Unfortunately, the dome is being renovated so the pendulum is not on display. Remember that if you planned to visit the Partenom for that so,e purpose anytime before 2017. It should be back by the end of that year or so the guard memtioned. I did however see Marie Curies' tomb.
We went for drinks for Happy Hour by Notre-dame at a little bar called oubliette. We had an awesome time before making our way over to Julien's in the 4th. We all had fantastic meals. I had a kir, followed by a artichoke and goat cheese Mille Feuilles and chateaubriand as a main course. Our waiter Xavier was a great sport. We had great service and he made our evening even better.r.