Paris part deux
After the rain, it felt like spring had arrived in Paris. Since my sister and I had both been to the Louvre before, we headed to the Musee d'Orsay the next morning, known for the best collection of impressionist art in the world set in an old train station. We took the metro to Concorde again and were greeted with the most gorgeous sunny day with the perfect fluffy white clouds.
I look a bit like an Asian grandma here
We had plans to meet up with friends near the area in a few hours, so walked over to Palais du Royale for these insta-famous checkers (unclear why though). I made JJ take a few shots of me but gotta agree with her, I don't see the hype either.
Springtime in the Jardin du Palais Royale
View from the top of Galeries Lafayette. You can go to the top of the adjacent department store Printemps Hausmann for (?better) views too, but Galeries Lafayette was closer to us. There are multiple buildings to the mall but go in the one with the red awning and take the escalators all the way to the top floor.
We shared the french onion soup and it was one of our favorites of the trip (though it was a bit salty). We also got the duck breast but the real show-stopper was the foie gras ravioli with truffle oil.
While not the prettiest to look at, this dish was an umami bomb and only about 18 euros (we would probably pay around 40 dollars for truffles and foie gras in SF...).
We definitely had to walk off dinner so we walked in search of Berthillon ice cream located on the Ile Saint Louis, but it turned out to be closed! Nonetheless, it was still a pleasant walk down along the river and ultimately led us to the Notre Dame.
Since Berthillon ended up being closed, we headed to the Latin Quarter which is a lively and touristy neighborhood right by the Notre Dame. The name comes from the Latin language that was spoken here in the middle ages and is now home to lots of students since it's close to the many universities in Paris. It's full of cheap restaurants selling falafel, kabobs, crepes, and prix fixe menus for tourists and also home to the the Shakespeare Book Company, a famous little ex-pat bookshop. I finally got my gelato fix at Amorino, the place that makes little rose hearts out of gelato!
We had tickets to the Paris catacombs booked for that day, but in the excitement of our cancelled flight, we almost missed it. We booked our new tickets just in time and made our time slot. We booked advanced tickets ahead of time (around 30 euros each) but if you have time to wait in line, tickets are only around 14 euros. Since we were in a rush that day, I was glad I booked the advanced tickets which allowed us to skip the 1-1.5 hour line, but not sure it is worth the 30 euro entry fee.
If you buy the regular tickets, an audio guide is an extra 5 euros. Our tickets included the audio guide so it took us on a 1.5 hr guided tour of the famous catacombs, which were originally quarries used to mine stone for much of Paris' famous medieval buildings like the Notre Dame. They were eventually abandoned and when Paris' cementaries were overflowing in the 18th century, thousands of remains were transferred here and the catacombs were created. The catacombs are home to the remains of more than 6 million Parisians over the years. It was kind of interesting, but if you have other things you want to do in Paris, I would skip the Catacombs for something a little less dark and damp above ground.
We checked out of our hotel and had lunch at another neighborhood bistro, Cafe de Belloy. Even though we didn't check up this restaurant or make reservations at any famous places, the duck confit was the best thing I ate in Paris. It just goes to show, food at any restaurant in Paris can be fabulous, and you don't need to go to the most famous places to get good food here.
Avenue de Camoens
Since I wanted to stop at this photo stop, we were a little bit late leaving for our flight so we had to run to catch our bus to the airport. We made it just in time and we were off to Italy! Coming up next!
Till next time, Paris!