September 9, 2011

Exploring the 5th Arrondissement - Paris Day 1

Although the pain of getting here is starting to fade (I suspect that it's much less painful to travel in Business Class!), I'm still a little bit in a jet-lag fog and have completely lost my sense of day and time. I don't think our apartment has a single clock anywhere and I really never know what time it is.

After a morning spent working, April and I decided to spend the afternoon wandering around our neighborhood and getting more familiar with the 5th Arrondissement. When I use the term "wandering" I really do mean that. We sort of had a general plan, but one of the luxuries of this trip is that we're really not on any kind of schedule, so it's really lovely to just be able to stop and explore, and when I say "explore" I mean buy shoes!

Adorable, right? They're all leather, extremely comfortable and in my favorite color! This purchase was a no-brainer.

Down the street from the adorable shoe store, we spotted our first Starbucks in Paris and I had to pay homage, but only with a photo. I resisted the urge to grab my usual Americano and go about the wandering thing, but walking along the beautiful streets of Paris with a paper cup full of coffee just doesn't seem very Parisienne, so I fulfilled my coffee habit with a lovely espresso at an outdoor café, which was parfait!

Our next stop was the Musée National du Moyen Age (The Musée de Cluny), which is housed in two Parisian monuments: the Gallo-Roman thermes (baths) (from the 1st - 3rd centuries) and Cluny Abbey (late 15th century). The Musée de Cluny houses a variety of medieval artifacts, in particular its tapestry collection, which includes the fifteenth century La Dame à la Licornemedieval sculptures from the seventh and eighth centuries and gold, ivory, antique furnishings.

This was my first visit to this museum and I liked how small and compact it was. It's easy to get over-saturated in museums and this was just the perfect speed for me today. I think we spent about 90 minutes viewing the various collections, so it wasn't a big committment of time.

I'm not sure of the exact origin of this sculpture, but I took this photo especially for Sean:

Our next discovery was this beautiful church, The church of Saint Etienne du Mont, built in 1491. It's amazing to me that a building this old, with so much history, is still being used as a church today.

I'm in awe of the artisans who spent years of their lives devoted to making a place of worship so beautiful. The details absolutely took my breath away.

After our visit to to the church, we wandered down Rue Mouffetard, which was the location of our last apartment in Paris. After a mandatory break for a sucre et citron crèpe, we stumbled across a gourmet frozen food store, Picard's. And I do mean "gourmet." The entire store is nothing but frozen foods -- from sauces, to appetizers and lots and lots of main dishes; then there was the dessert section. Sean is going to go crazy about all of the ice cream bars and cone selections here! April and I couldn't resist trying some of their wares, so I'll report back later on them after we do a taste test. With wine. I'm pretty sure the wine part is mandatory; we are in France!

I've uploaded pictures from our travels today on Kodak Gallery. You can view the pictures here.

À bientôt!

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