What a joy it was to see my mother and sister at the airport. We had planned to meet at the Sheraton hotel lobby before heading to the metro. I arrived first and waited and waited. Getting a bit antsy, I headed to where they would be walking from. I waited some more. No signs of them. Giving in, I moved towards the gate they had flown into and was rewarded by finding them. Happy hugs from my mother and sister after not having seen them for a year. It was like I had never left their side. Gathering our bags, we headed to the train and purchased three tickets to get us into Paris. Getting on the train we sat down with our bags and smiles happy smiles at each other. They had made it all the way from Vancouver to meet me in Paris. They had left the day before and I had left that very morning, flying out of Liverpool.
We got off a Saint-Michel Notre-Dame, leaving the metro we spotted the Notre Dame Cathedral looming in front of us. The beautiful cathedral was radiant in the morning. I lead my mother and sister, Shawn in front of it as we had to walk to the back of it to cross over Pont Saint-Louis to get to our Airbnb. The airbnb mentioned can be found here if interested. We had access to the small apartment early so we anticipated it to be a bit messy as the host Ludovic had mentioned in email that he would be by later to clean. We freshened up and lightened ourselves of luggage before heading back down and over the bridge again.
Walking past Notre Dame again, we admired its beauty from its backside as we crossed the Pont de l'Archevêché and wandered towards Place St Michel. Stopping to snap a photo of Shakespeare and Company as we passed by it. Reaching Place St Michel we admired the Saint-Michel monumental fountain. The plan had been to take the Sandeman's New Paris walking tour and explore the city on foot. Two tired Canadians in tow, we decided that this was not going to go over well. We changed our plans and enjoyed a quick crepe from a nearby shop before walking for the Louvre.
Reaching the Louvre, we were greeted by its long line of people queuing to get into the art museum through the glass pyramid. I remembered an alternate entrance but we ended up in the line and decided to wait it out in each others company. Entering the Louvre, we paid the €12 to get inside. This would be my third visit to the Louvre and I would easily go again. It is a beautiful museum and there are so many things to discover with each visit that I never found myself bored. I really wanted to show my sister the Louvre and show her all the beautiful masterpieces in its collection. We had worried over the fact my mother and I had been to Paris without her in 2009 so would not want to do some of the things we had already done. I reassured her many a time that I would happily repeat every step that I took in Paris as long as she wanted to do it.
The painting above is one of my favourites, "Portrait of a Sculptor" by Agnolo Bronzino. I am always drawn to it with each visit. I hope one day to get a print of it to hang in my future house/home/flat/apartment.
The Louvre is so large and there are so many wonderful pieces to look at that you really need to give yourself hours to enjoy it. After we had agreed that we had seen enough beauty, we left the museum and walked through the Jardin des Tuileries and enjoyed the sunshine. Wandering passed the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, I had to point to the actual Arc de Triomphe to my sister far in the distance. Enjoying Place de la Concorde with its beautiful fountains we headed inwards rather than up the Champs-Élysées. I had thought this would bring us to some restaurants so we could have dinner but we wandered along Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré with all of its designer shops like Chanel an Givenchy. Hungry and tired, we cut back towards Champs-Élysées where we came across Dogstar at 122 Rue La Boétie. Glancing at the menu, we wandered inside and grabbed a seat. Amazingly this was some of the best pasta I have ever eaten. All three of us were very happy with the choice. We left feeling like human beings and walked up the Champs-Élysées towards the Arc de Triomphe which was shining in all its glory as the sun began to set. We decided against paying to go up to the top and instead went under the road to see it up close. We admired each side of it and watched the Eiffel Tower in the distance. Finally we bid adieu to the Arc de Triomphe and headed to the metro where we rode across the city until arriving at our apartment. We happily crawled into bed and dreamt of our first amazing day in Paris. Just the tip of the iceberg in our amazing holiday together.