May 06, 2014

Paris, Day Un: Walking, Boating, Climbing and Happy Tears

The very first activity we had planned was a walking tour in English.  I had read some good reviews on  Wego Walking Tours in Paris and decided that the perfect way to orient ourselves to the city was to spend four hours walking around with someone who knew the ins and outs.

Our instructions were to meet our guide in front of Notre Dame to begin the walk.


The tour was led by a wonderful and enthusiastic guide named Paul.  We met up with about 15 other people and began the trek through the heart of Paris.

After winding our way through Ile de la Cite we crossed the Pont Neuf (New Bridge...which is actually the oldest bridge in Paris!) and walked along the Left Bank.


We crossed back to the right back over the Pont des Arts, better known as the LOVE LOCK Bridge.
We returned to this bridge later to leave our mark!


Then the Louvre!


We walked through the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel (small Arc de Triomphe) and into the Tuileries Garden.


We had our first break...conveniently next to a stand that sold these nutella waffles.
Second breakfast, anyone?


We then walked over the Pont de la Concorde and up to the Musee de L'Armee.


The tour ended at the Champ de Mars, at the base of the Eiffel Tower.


Paul offered a mixture of history and current events about the city--it was fascinating.  It really helped Kern and me get our bearings for where important landmarks were located and we referred to the paths that we took throughout the rest of our trip.  I would highly recommend Wego Walking Tours!


After the walking tour, we had a quick picnic lunch under a tree (while it rained) at the base of the Eiffel Tower then boarded a Bateau River Boat for a cruise down the Seine.


It started raining (again) so I decided it was officially time to start wearing the beret.



After the cruise, we walked down the Champs Elysses, had a quick snack and decided to hop on the metro and check out a totally different part of town: Montmartre.


We exited the metro and just wandered up and down the cobblestone streets and through various little squares that were certainly the center of town life hundreds of years ago.  

We got hungry and stopped at a cafe for a late night snack.


After the refueling session, Kern decided we should climb the steep steps to the top of the hill, where Sacre Coeur (Church of the Sacred Heart).  This photo below does not do the hill justice.  Trust me, it's a climb.  During normal hours, they operate a lift to get people up and down from the top.


We made it!


There was a party going on once we got to the steps of the church.  It was an odd scene--people walking around, drinking beer and socializing.  We walked around and noticed that people were entering the church... 


Curious, we followed a group in and realized there was a late night mass going on since it was the Saturday night before Easter.  We slipped into one of the back rows and noticed that there were people getting baptized at the front of the church.  The service was in French, but we decided to stay and observe for a little while.  Once the baptisms were over, the choir began singing the "Alleluia" chorus.  The only word I could understand was "Alleluia" but I sang it over and over with tears in my eyes. 

You see, I had been a little sad about missing Easter Sunday church.  But here we were, in a church, surrounded by French Christians and singing Alleluia over and over again!  There was a sign asking that no photos be taken, or else I would have been taking a video.  It was a special experience that I will take with me for the rest of my life.

We slipped out the back of the church, past the partiers and took one more look at the city of Paris spread below dazzling with lights.  It was a perfect first day.

6 comments:

  1. Oh Emily, I got teary at the end myself. I don't know that I used to appreciate the "I am here" whispers from the Lord in my own story, let alone other people's. But they always do something to me these days. What a way to kick of an adventure of a lifetime. Can't wait to hear more about y'alls travels!

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    1. "I am here." What a great phrase. He always is, isn't he? I am sure that you have heard some whispers in unexpected places this winter/spring. I'm so glad you enjoyed the photos! :)

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  2. I loved this entry! I also cannot imagine how you felt sitting in the back of the church, the night before Easter, listening and taking in the sights. How cool! Can't wait to see more of your journey...and hopefully YOU soon :)

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    1. It really was amazing! I wish I could have videoed it...but it will just have to be one of those things I remember in my mind :)

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  3. Em! I'm so happy to be reading these accounts of your trip. It seems like it was the perfect honeymoon. Beautiful photos and you look oh so Parisian! :) XO

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    1. HA! The beret helps ;) I was glad to have an excuse (the rain) to wear it!

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