We were up again very early, still unable to sleep past 5am so we hung around the apartment a bit and then walked through one of the courtyards of the Louvre. Everyone else in Paris had the sense to sleep in, so we had the place to ourselves.
We crossed the Seine via the beautiful Pont des Arts pedestrian bridge, and stopped for cappucinos at the Cafe des Beaux Arts looking out at the Seine. We turned up Rue Bonaparte as we headed towards Boulevard Saint-Germain.
Our next stop was the Jardin du Luxembourg, which exceeded all of my expectations. This English-style garden is crammed full of chestnut trees, flowers just about every conceivable color, a gorgeous fountain with a bizarre feature and an ornamental lake which is apparently popular with sailing enthusiasts. We spent quite a bit of time here, taking everything in and taking lots of pictures.
Next up on the agenda was a visit to the Pantheon, just a short walk from the Jardin. We arrived just in time for a guided tour up to the dome, where we took some great photos.
After we descended the 200-some steps of the Pantheon, we had worked up an appetite. Despite my disdain for fast food, I wanted to eat at McDonald’s, just so I could say that I had a “Royale With Cheese”. (My fellow”Pulp Fiction” fans will understand that reference.)
Steeling myself for what was to come, I was definitely blown away by the ultra-contemporary interior of the restaurant – it didn’t look like any Mickey D’s I had ever seen. Utilizing my best high school French, I stifled a giggle as I ordered, “Je voudrais un royale avec du fromage s’il vous plaît“. So freaking proud of myself.
I was crushed when informed that the Royale with Cheese was “not available”. However, they were happy to sell me a “Royale with Bacon” – which is just a Royale with Cheese with bacon on it. I have no idea why they would have Royale with Bacon but not Royale with Cheese (just take the bacon off, right?), but when in France:
Perhaps it was lack of sleep or the after-effects of consuming fast food, but we were exhausted and went back to the apartment for an afternoon nap.
After resting up, we took the Metro over to Montmartre to see the Sacre-Couer. After riding the funicular up the steep hill (too tired to tackle yet more steps) we sat on the steps in front of Sacre-Couer and drank in the view along with about a gazillion other people from all over the world. While there, we saw some interesting wildlife:
As we enjoyed the seemingly endless views of Paris, we were serenaded by a one man band, singing pop songs spanning the decades in a heavily accented voice of unknown origin. He gets an A for effort and a D for execution:
We went inside the Sacre-Couer, where mass was being held. It was beautiful inside, but they didn’t allow photographs or videos. After stopping at a couple of shops (I finally bought my first clothing in Paris! Yeah!), we made our way back to the train station. We enjoyed a quick pasta dinner and then headed for our final activity of the day, a cruise up and down the Seine. It was absolute magic, the weather was perfect, and proved to be a fitting end to another memorable day.