What can I say about Paris 💕 It’s one of my favorite cities in the world and we have been here a few times. This particular visit was to celebrate my 65th birthday…one year late but very happy to be here. It’s also a great way to cap off our 4 months in Europe.
We left Ireland on a ferry from Cork to Roscoff, France sailing once again with Brittany Ferries as we did in June to get to Ireland. The Cork, Ireland to Roscoff, France route is a 15 hour overnight journey and this time we booked an inside 4 berth cabin (the outside ones were all booked). Tickets for the one way crossing cost 449 Euros (USD $488) for ourselves and the car. The ship sailed at 4 pm so we had a few hours to enjoy a light meal and some drinks before calling it a night. Early in our journey we were delighted to see a few pods of dolphins not far from the ferry🐬and just like our crossing in June, it was smooth sailing with calm seas the entire way.
Leaving Ireland it was a gorgeous sunny day but when we disembarked in Roscoff, France it was overcast and raining. Unbelievably it rained for almost the entire 600 km drive from Roscoff to Paris. We had really hoped we left the rain behind in Ireland but it looks like it followed us all the way to France ☔ Reaching Paris, we made our way to the Renault office near Orly Airport. We were feeling a bit sad as we returned our trusty little Renault that had taken us almost 10,000 km through Europe and Ireland.
After a rainy arrival in Paris, the next day we felt the European heatwave. Temperatures in Paris increased steadily every day reaching a high of 35 C on our last day with heat warnings issued for the city. This is a dramatic change from the wet and under 20 C weather we had in Ireland for almost 3 months, but you’ll hear no complaints from us about hot weather.
I previously wrote about Dublin being Blair’s birthday celebration, well Paris was mine 🥳 We had planned to be here last year but when I got sick and we had to return to Canada all our 2022 plans were cancelled. So, here we are one year later! Our hotel is in a fantastic location in St. Germain surrounded by hundreds of restaurants. Within a 1 minute walk is a patisserie, a few coffee shops, a Carrefour market and a Nicolas wine/champagne store. Really, what more do you need!!!
Our Calgary friend Terrie was supposed to be here in Paris with us last September, and we are thrilled that she decided to fly over and join us this time as well. She is a lover of Paris so it did not take a lot of arm twisting to convince her to meet us here!! She is also a lover of champagne, like myself, so we drank a lot of champagne, every day!! All under the guise of ‘it’s your birthday’ 😂🥂
We ate casual lunches at creperies and cafes around the city but our favorite lunch/brunch was at Angelina’s on Rue de Rivoli. Angelina’s is an institution in Paris and no visit here is complete without going there at least once.
Besides eating and drinking our way around Paris we squeezed in a few interesting activities as well. Blair and I had never visited Saint Chapelle cathedral and we are staying not far away this time. I was unable to book tickets online so we walked there early one morning to take a chance getting tickets on site. The lineups for ticketholders was really long but we were first in line to buy tickets and after watching all the 9am ticketholders admitted, we had our fingers crossed they would let a few non ticketholders enter before starting the 9:30am group. And Yes, they admitted a few of us in between the timed entry groups…..phew, we stood there over 30 minutes waiting but it worked out in the end. Tickets for the cathedral cost 11.50 Euros each (USD $12.43) and we felt it was well worth the wait.
Sainte Chapelle is a gem of High Gothic architecture in the center of Paris on Ile-de-la-Cite, the very first settlement in Paris. The church was built between 1242 and 1248 by Louis IX to house the relics of the Passion of the Christ, most famously the Crown of Thorns. The lower chapel ceiling is held up by openwork struts and features hundreds of fleur-de-lys on an azure background…stunning!!
The upper chapel is truly monumental with it’s massive stained glass windows, the likes of which we have never seen. The 1,113 scenes depicted in the 15 stained glass windows tell the story of mankind from Genesis through to Christ’s resurrection. The Crown of Thorns used to be displayed in the relics gallery (bottom center) but was moved to Notre Dame Cathedral in 1806 and fortunately was saved from the fire in 2019 that devastated much of Notre Dame.
Here are a few of my photos from the upper chapel:
The Rose of the Apocalypse window on the western wall of the upper chapel was rebuilt around 1485 using complex ‘flame’ shapes. The 87 panels are a profusion of symbols relating to the Apocalypse with the central oculus showing Christ with his mouth crossed by a sword. It is simply amazing!!
The Musee Rodin was founded in 1916 by the artist Auguste Rodin to house many of his works and was donated to the French state in 1919. The sculpture garden surrounding the museum displays Rodin’s main monuments: The Thinker; The Gates of Hell and the Monument to the Burghers of Calais. We have been here before, but it was a few years ago and it was fun to re-visit. Tickets cost 13 Euros each (USD $14.05)
On my actual birthday we took the bus (figuring that out was a challenge) to The L’Atelier des Lumiers, the creative location for moving art shows, this was our third visit. Our first visit in 2019 highlighted the works of Van Gogh, the second time was in 2022 and featured Cezanne (my favorite) and this year the headline artist was Marc Chagall. Chagall was a Russian artist naturalized in France and until his death in 1985 he created numerous works of art in a variety of mediums. During the show his art takes on a life of it’s own, and every time we go the productions are so mesmerizing we end up staying for more than one showing. Fortunately they don’t ask people to leave so you can stay as long as you like. Seniors tickets cost 15 Euros each (USD $16.20) and it’s one of my favorite things to do in Paris.
We enjoyed a few walks around the city past the Louvre, through the Tuileries Gardens, along the Seine and meandering past the Eiffel Tower. Sadly the area underneath the Eiffel Tower is all blocked off these days with fences and what were once lovely grassy areas to enjoy a picnic are fenced off or have become a well trodden dirt field. The number of tourists over the years is changing the landscape of some of our favorite places.
Despite all the changes over the years we love Paris, and each time we visit we have the luxury to explore a little more each time. Of all the places we have stayed over the years, I think this location was our favorite with the proximity to so many cafes and restaurants, plus being just 2 blocks away from the Seine. (see our accommodation page for a link to the hotel)
All too quickly our 6 nights in Paris were over and we were flying away to Calgary. Au revoir Paris, until next time…..
Despite the internet saying that transit tickets can be bought on the bus, this is not true anymore and bus tickets must be purchased in a subway station at the ticket machine. You need to buy a Paris city day ticket, this is good for one trip on the subway or a bus.