We totally got our pants kicked by Paris, today and it was awesome. If I get my bum kicked by anything, it better be someplace as cool as this. Foodie heaven.
Yesterday we got into Gare du Nord around 7:00 and took the metro a few stops to our hotel, Hotel le Marais in the 3eme arrondisement. It's 80 Euros a night and very minimalist but very clean. They don't provide soap, but they have free wi-fi. It's pretty much exactly what you need in a hotel, so we're pretty excited. There is also a boulangerie/patisserie literally right next to the door. We took a little stroll through the Marais district to the Seine and walked by a lot of sidewalk cafes and charming shops. After getting excited, we went back to the hotel and perused the guide books even more.
Today, we woke up around 7 (as per my usual) and walked to the Ile de la Cite for a little breakfast of hot chocolate and tartine (half baguette slices with butter) in the shadow of Notre Dame. Afterwards, we wandered inside the church. It was so cool and dark and gothic. Full of stained glass windows and awe-inspiring. We were going to climb the tower, but the line was super long just before it was going to open at 10 so we postponed for another day.
We took a couple of recommended walks in the Rick Steve's book and saw the Latin Quarter. It was pretty cute with lots of little cafes and old windy streets. Shakespeare and Co is a really cozy bookstore that used to be frequented by James Joyce, Hemingway, and others. They had books piled everywhere and an upstairs with a magnificent collection (not for sale). We also dropped by Le Procope, frequented by the likes of Voltaire, Ben Franklin, and Robespierre.
Wandering near St. Germain-de-pres we passed by a Eric Kuyser, a bakery mentioned in Clothilde's book, and bought a half-baugette for 60 cents. I love how you can buy a half-baguette by the way. And we ate it plain in the square. Divine.
We walked up the the Bon Marche department store's "Grand Epicerie de Paris" which took us about an hour to peruse through. They had just about everything you could look for in groceries, falling just short of Harrod's food hall in magnificence. We got some pate for later picnics.
Up at the Louvre pyramid, we met some of my Tsinghua friends Claire and Henni, whom we wandered the Tulleries with. We also saw Rue St. Honore and a square with all the really high-end fashion types. At 3:30 we said goodbye planning to go get tea at this divine sounding place that we ended up not finding. We tried to take the metro home, but got on the wrong direction. We decided to go to a recommended crepe shop near our hotel, but its closed Monday and Tuesday, so we sat down in a cafe for a snack only to discover that they weren't serving food at 4:30 in the afternoon. ah the dismay. So we got a little snack at the supermarket and are currently recouperating at the hotel before going off for Falafels in the Jewish quarter later.