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Paris: Day 1

02/22/2012

Our first day in Paris was amazing in so many ways. Crystal clear, bitter cold (24° high), filled with magnificent views, and capped with John’s fantastic opening reception at Galerie Polaris. I can’t imagine a better introduction to the city.

We stayed near the Oberkampf Metro stop, which was close to the gallery and also a great location situated between two different subway lines. Everything on our tourist plan was no more than one train change from home.

Day 1 began with this amazing salad for brunch, along with a delicious café creme.

Salad Brunch

After this, we strolled from the Bastille area down to the Île de la Cité, to see the churches of Notre Dame and Sainte-Chapelle.

Our Notre Dame approach from the back, with a view of its flying buttresses. (A gradeschool joke overripe for the picking, but I’m not gonna make it.)

Notre Dame Buttresses

We had planned to climb the tower for a closer look at the gargoyles, but the tower was closed because of cold weather. Here is the cathedral’s famous front-door view.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame is situated at the heart of Paris, its geographical center, which is flagged by this low-key marker.

The Heart of Paris

Some photos from inside.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

And this detailed archway.

Notre Dame Arch

Next, we ambled to toward Saint-Chapelle, a less publicized but stunning church at the western end of the island. Oooh look, there’s the Seine.

MKC by the Seine

And the Palais de Justice, with Sainte-Chapelle to the left.

Palais de Justice and Sainte-Chapelle

A closer look at the Palais de Justice reveals the French motto “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” above the entrance.

Palais de Justice

And here are some pictures of Sainte-Chapelle, including its amazing and detailed stained-glass windows. Though small and otherwise sparse (as well as cold), this church is a must-see for its visual impact.

Sainte-Chapelle Exterior

Sainte-Chapelle1

Sainte-Chapelle 2

After our island adventures, we walked back across the river and through the Marais neighborhood to Galerie Polaris, where we were met with a wonderful reception, gracious hosts, and welcoming, generous Parisians.

For more about the opening, see John’s blog post on the event.

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