Paris: Notre Dame and More

I was in Paris on a Sunday, and that happened to be the day I planned to go to Notre Dame cathedral. I walked up at just the right time, because it was right when they were starting their Sunday services. So I decided to take time to worship.

It felt like no worship service I’ve ever experienced. The service was mostly in French, with some in English, and was a true, traditional Catholic service. Complete with organ accompaniment! The music for the service was just breathtaking and incredible. In so many ways it reminded me of The Phantom of the Opera – these giant melodies that come through the organ, filling the church to the brim with music rising up.

And then, as your eyes seem to follow the music up to heaven, you get just incredible stained glass windows everywhere. The Sunday I was there, the sunlight was streaming through the glass, making it easy to see and appreciate the illustrations.

Truly, I have never been to service quite like it! From the surroundings to the music to the message (it was about forgiveness – always a good lesson!), it was something I am so glad I spent the time to do.

After the service, I went across the river to wander Shakespeare and Co bookstore. It’s a lovely old bookstore in Paris, with books piled high every which way, and was a fun wander!

I continued through the city and went to Luxembourg Gardens. I love the giant parks in Europe with manicured gardens. They’re so delightful to stroll through, or grab a bench for a few hours to read a book. I came at a great time of year because the flowers were in full bloom, and you could see children putting toy sailboats out on the lake in the gardens.

I went to the location of Angelina that’s in Luxembourg after visiting the gardens – I’d heard I just HAD to experience Angelina Hot Chocolate in Paris. It’s out of this world! It’s really like no hot chocolate you’ve ever had. I read people comparing it to melted chocolate bars, and that’s pretty well on point.

It’s thick and incredibly rich. They bring cream to cut it down a bit (it’s also made out of dark chocolate, and not milk chocolate, so that’s another adjustment). But even so, I could not finish my cup! It was warm and filling, and I enjoyed the hour or so I spent in the tea shop appreciating the surroundings and the wonderful cup of hot chocolate! I’d heard that the Luxembourg location was a better idea than the main one, just because it’s less crowded. I never went to the main one, but the Luxembourg location was able to seat me immediately at 2pm on a Sunday afternoon, so I think the tip might be worthwhile!

In the afternoon, I went to the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont for the sunset, and I’m so glad I did! The park has a hill surrounded by water, with a great view of the city – specifically, a great view of the Sacre-Couer cathedral! It was so pretty to watch, and there were tons of locals out enjoying the day. I went back to my lovely little flat, and had cheese and bread and preserves for dinner. In my opinion, that’s a perfect Parisian day!

The last day I was in Paris, I went to Sacre-Coeur, and it was also incredible! There is a funicular you can ride up, but I decided to walk, and the walk was wonderful! It’s a spectacular walk with gorgeous views of the city. Though, I will say – the touts and scams there give Egypt a run for its money!

I got made fun of by some of the guys who tie “friendship” bracelets on as you walk by because they said “Hello” and I said “NO” and tucked my arms in so they couldn’t tie a bracelet on me. They mocked me as I walked away… but I’m happy to be mocked it if means I keep my money intact!

There were also all these girls wanting people to sign petitions (that no one reads until after you sign and they point out that it says you give them money). And I just had fun with them “Why does someone in another country want my signature? It doesn’t mean anything here.” It was kind of fun to watch them squirm as someone questioned it!

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