All we needed after an arduous day hauling our asses around airports was a cozy and comfortable bed. Fortunately, that along with a prime location was the strong suit of our Le Marais apartment. Here I learned a very important life lesson: you really get what you pay for. Yes, we paid more for accommodation in Paris than in Italy (though only marginally more), but in return the quality was simply praiseworthy. We honestly felt that the apartment was a bang for the buck, and that was an extremely pleasant feeling to feel when traveling. We couldn’t have been more physically and mentally invigorated the following morning.
You don’t have to venture anywhere further than Le Marais to get a first glimpse into the daily life of Parisians. Le Marais in the mornings was among the brightest spots of our time in Paris. It was empty, quite and tranquil. Just a charming lovely vibe all around. Again, we made use of National Geographic Le Marais Walking Tour to navigate our way and so should you because it’s extremely helpful.
To us, the highlight of the neighborhood was none other than the very elegant Place des Vosges where we passed by almost everyday. It can get a bit touristy at mid-day, so my piece of advice for y’all is to visit in the morning or late in the afternoon when a lot of locals gather to chill and watch the world go by. Surrounding Place des Vosges are a host of galleries for art aficionados. One particular gallery that I had planned to come by but didn’t make it in the end was Galarie du Marais where the beautiful artworks of artist Antoinette Nicolini are exhibited. I’m not that much of an arts enthusiast myself, but I caught glimpses of her paintings on some random blogs about Paris. They all were so mesmerizing. I din’t get around see her works in the flesh this trip probably due to bad planning, so until next time then 🙁 Beloved readers, if you get a chance, do pay the gallery a visit on my behalf and let me know how it’s.
Apart from Place des Vosges and galleries, there is an eclectic selection of things to enjoy- ranging from historic buildings, fruit stands offering organic products, authentic restaurants to Rue des Rosiers, Rue de Turenne to Rue des Archives. It takes much more than one morning to get to know Le Marais. (We stayed in the ‘hood so we managed to squeeze in a stroll everyday.) However, in my experience if you follow the National Geographic guide, you will get a pretty good handle. After we finished our tour, we chanced upon Le Comptoir des Archives and sat down for a quick lunch. It was a friendly restaurant with good food, good views and good services where I lost my Tartar Salmon virginity 😛 I naturally love salmon so anything salmon goes, but tartan salmon is quite delicious itself, don’t you agree? After a full lunch, I felt terribly sleepy and really entertained the thought of retreating to the apartment for a short nap. But seriously, who in the right mind would do that, right? I knew from experience of slaving away in the office that the only way to fight off after-lunch drowsiness was to do something physical (sex excluded but wouldn’t it totally reawaken all your senses? lol) So, we decided to walk from Rue des Archives to our next stop, Notre Dame Cathedral, which took approximately 30 minutes. Ain’t too shabby, huh? It was a pure chaos when we arrived. Swarms of tourists and students. Since the entry to Notre Dame Cathedral is free of charge, you have to wait in line. Given my temperament and impatience, it did put me off a little bit at the beginning, but I did thank the stars for the pleasant weather which made waiting kind of more bearable. And the line actually moved much faster than I had anticipated. It took less than 20 minutes.
As soon as I stepped inside the Cathedral, all the irritation dissipated and was replaced by an overwhelming astonishment. The interior is unbelievably stunning. I was downright wrong when I thought after all the magnificent churches I had visited in Italy nothing could stupefy me anymore. But Notre Dame Cathedral, the pinnacle of French Gothic architecture, really, really did especially with its multicolored glasses whose beauty was even more magnified by the midday sun. My own impressions were that Notre Dame isn’t any less magnificent than churches in Rome, but the interior is more elegant and exquisite in a way. In Rome, I think it’s more about intricate details. What do you think?
My piece of advice when it comes to Notre Dame is don’t forget in the garden in the back after you exit. The garden offers an excellent spot to photograph the other stunning side of the church. Trust me, once you go back, you’ll never go front 😛