July 2, 2013


Day five in Paris was far and away my absolute favorite. It was the perfect mix of relaxation and sightseeing. We mixed it up and hit a lot of what was left to do on our Paris list. Like the best days before it, day five began with a pain au chocolat and an early morning. 

We made it to St. Chapelle when it opened. Morning light was streaming into the beautiful stained glass windows. It was so peaceful and awe-inspiring. 

After St. Chapelle, we made our way to the Jardin du Luxembourg. As you know by now, Parisian gardens are my specialty. This garden definitely feels more local. Parisian kids play with sailboats in the fountains, joggers abound and the tennis courts are full.

The garden also features our favorite green chairs, although a more muted variety. 

We also saw the gardeners trimming the hedges by hand. It was a sight to see and possibly one of the best little anecdotes from my time in Paris. It's a three man team. Each guy takes a side. They set up stakes and wires to measure where they need to trim to. You can see it if you try really hard in the picture below. Also notice, the wire is about 2 centimeters below where the hedge has grown to. Can you imagine how often they do this! I was blown away.

After I got over my awe of French gardening, we decided to head out to Stade Rolland Garros where the French Open tennis tournament is played in late May. It was one of those things that I would have regretted not seeing for myself. The stadium is in one of the outer neighborhoods of Paris, but still inside the periferique. It gave us perspective on what Paris might be like if you lived there. It was so peaceful and residential.

We missed the tournament by two weeks but the prep was in full swing and it was pretty cool to see. With all of the prep, the groundsmen wouldn't let us actually into the grounds but we walked around the outside and got a feel for it. I loved this sign telling the distance to the other three grand slams.

On our way back to the metro station, we stumbled upon an open air market. It was pretty much perfect, filled with friendly French vendors and amazing food. We choose our favorite cheeses, fruits and nuts and brought them along for the metro ride. 

After getting off near the Eiffel tower, we asked a few locals for a bakery recommendation. We snagged three baguettes and an assortment of tasty pastries. Megan couldn't help but dig into the goods early. Her one request for the trip was to be able to eat a baguette by the Eiffel tower.

The gardens in front of the tower are really made for moments like this. To say we enjoyed our picnic is an understatement. It's one of my favorite memories of my entire life. The sun was shining, a rarity on our trip. The food was quite frankly the best thing I've ever tasted and we had fun doing goofy touristy things like taking pictures pinching the tower. 

After our picnic, we decided to get a different view and walked to the other side up to the trocodero. The trocodero is an army museum but it's really known for the view. Little did we know, the pond becomes a fountain at the start of every hour! 

Afterwards, we decided to jump on a boat tour of Paris from the seine. My dad had made reservations at one of the smaller boat tour companies. It was a great way to see the bridges and nearby sights!

There are 'N' emblems all around the city. They were added to many monuments and buildings during Napoleon's reign.

 The narration was sub-par but the sights were wonderful. I'm not going to lie, I may have taken a little snooze for a few minutes though! After our boat tour, we saw the actual lock bridge!

It's not really a day in Paris without visiting a museum, so we decided to make use of the late night hours and visit the mother of all museums. The Louvre!

We didn't actually spend much time in the Louvre. The museum is really something to see, but we just hit the highlights and anything that we came across on our hunt for them. Our must-sees were the Mona Lisa, a few of the sculptures and Napoleon's apartment. The sculptures were stunning!

The building itself is almost better than the art. It's enormous and unbelievable that French royalty once lived in its walls. It would make a move to Versailles seem like a downsizing. Crazy! If you can't make it to Versailles, Napolean's apartment in the Louvre is a great replacement. 

After our adventures in the Louvre, we were ready for a great meal. We'd heard great things about the Cafe St. Regis and it was nearby so we ducked in. That meal was really special. So special that I went back to take photos of the place the next day to remember it by.

We had the house wine with dinner. Everyone tried escargo (loved it!) and our waitress was the most adorably French woman.

So ended day five in Paris!