Bright and early we headed out to our first destination, La Défense, the business district of Paris. It was a little ways out of the city, not quite in the suburbs but a good distance away to not distract from the Eiffel Tower's magnificence. The glass and steel buildings were beautiful in their own way though.
The Notre Dame cathedral would fit inside this "cube" building! It is HUGE.
We hopped back on to the Metro system and found our way to the Arc de Triomphe. I remember standing under the monument many years ago but I don't think I took the time to really look and learn what the sculptures and reliefs meant. It was also a much different experience this time around, with my family, and having a bit more time to just observe and absorb it all.
This was an accidental picture that I found on my photostream later. It does make me remember all of the uneven, OLD cobblestone roads and sidewalks. You really had to pay attention to where you were walking!
This is looking out to the roundabout street (it connects twelve different avenues of traffic!) It was crazy busy. I saw a few pedestrians attempt to cross the street around there... fools. There is an underground tunnel that takes you to the center island.
I don't remember if we took the Metro from the Arc de Triomphe to our next destination, but it was the Avenue des Champs Élyssées. The grandest shopping area that I've seen! There were tons of American labels that I recognized, but it was obviously a very high end, luxurious area to shop. I only bought some French soap :)
We ran across this very famous macaron shop, Ladurée, but did not buy anything :( It was fun to look!
All of my pictures are in the order that I took them from this day, so I know that we were in the Metro next. I took this picture exclaiming over the many steps. THIS is why we had so much trouble with our luggage on the first day. We SHOULD have had some macarons, I'm sure we could have burned off many calories with all of the walking and stair climbing!
We found this little area in the 14th arrondissement. I thought it was so charming. The street was lined with the kind of cafés you would expect in Paris, and many tiny little shops, pâtisseries and boulangeries.
As we sat in the streetside café we could look up and see the apartments lining the street. I imagine that many of the residents eat often at these cafés. Wouldn't that be wonderful to have this kind of food available to you?
This is the meat, cheese, and pâté plate that Jim and I shared. I think it was one of the best meals I had in Paris. These foods on fresh baguette pieces? OMG.
I took this picture in a pâtisserie, meaning to show James later. I thought he'd enjoy knowing these little characters are actually sweets (candies? pastries?) He didn't really show any interest. Silly kid.
We walked a lot on this day. I remember getting off the metro system, going towards the Eiffel Tower. You walked a long ways before it was right there in front of you! And you encounter many, many vendors selling miniature towers and souvenirs. I'm actually very surprised we didn't buy one!
This is one of my first good views of the Eiffel.
And then closer I remembered the many stairs going up to the mid section of the ET. I didn't get to climb the ET at my last visit, and I didn't think we'd "get to" climb this time around either. Jim had already secured our official tour (including a trip to the summit) for later in the vacation. The tour included the elevator ride. Good thing! 704 stairs did NOT sound like fun in the incredibly hot weather!
There was much construction at the middle base. They are reconstructing one of the floors of the ET, adding a restaurant I believe. There was a lot of scaffolding and hard-hat areas. It really messed with my overall picture. I did take this picture and I enjoy it because of the man who is very animated and talking on the phone. Good action shot!
We walked to the Champ de Mars, the grassy area of garden behind the ET to relax and take in the view. My BIL extraordinaire walked to a nearby wine shop and returned with a bottle of rosé. We sat on the grass, as the Parisians do, and just people watched and enjoyed the fact that we're in Paris, baby!
I took this "selfie" with the Eiffel Tower above me.
I didn't have to force Jim to take this selfie, but I did appreciate his willingness to make me happy. It has become one of my favorite pictures from our trip!
After a very full morning and afternoon we hopped back on to the Metro and returned to our neighborhood. We each picked out a treat from a nearby pâtisserie. I chose this AWESOME chocolate éclair! Jim's (not pictured) was some other sort of pastry- a monster chocolate filled double decker pastry.
Still walking around the neighborhood, we saw this graffiti art! Wow! Mario! I did get a reaction from James when I showed him this picture. Now my thoughts are how I can create this 8-bit using Legos... Hmm....
More lovely apartment windows.
After resting a bit, we went to dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant. Jim and I shared this goat cheese and bacon pizza. YUM. I LOVE goat cheese so much now!
And Jim found a new favorite wine- it is a grapefruit, or pomplemousse rosé.
Jim bought me a rose from a vendor, who was walking around and trying to tempt the tourists in love. Yay! It worked on my Jimmy.
Ahhh a Rose in Paris. Busy traffic scene, complete with cigarette butts. But I liked this picture :)
The rose makes an appearance at our next stop- another streetside café for drinks. (Is it a café, a brasserie, or a bistro?) Oh, and the local enforcers are seen. It is not unusual to see these armed dudes everywhere, keeping us all safe.
I like this picture best. My handsome Jimmy plus my beautiful wine and rose!
Ana and Rich had the best idea for a vase. One of their empty wine bottles! This rose stayed beautiful for the entire week!
And that ends our fun-filled awesome second day in Paris!
A big thank you again to our master navigators and trip planners Ana and Rich! Ana was the person who lovingly planned out a day by day itinerary of suggestions. We pretty much stuck to the itinerary every day. It was so wise! She navigated around the museum closings, the busiest known days at attractions, and then the Tour de France! So awesome! Thank you, Ana! :)