On our first full day together we went to Angelina, a famous tea salon right next to the Tuileries. Everyone says you HAVE to get their famous hot chocolate, but we only made it a few sips in before getting overwhelmed by how sweet it was.
We also moved from my apartment at the Citadines in the 13th to a hotel right down the street from the Opera. I was sad to say goodbye to my home for the last few weeks, but knowing I would be so close to so many awesome things in the center of the city made it a little easier. You could just see the top of the Opera from our hotel room! And later, on July 14, we could see the edge of the fireworks at the eiffel tower.
So on the 14th we underestimated the extent of the Bastille Day celebrations and tried to go to the Musee de l'Orangerie which turned out to be not only closed, but also completely unreachable because of closed streets. While that was quite a frustrating way to start the day, we ended up at the Musee d'Orsay instead where we conveniently watched the parade from the rooftop terrace. In case you ever need to know, watching a parade from the top of a tall building across a river is DEFINITELY the best way to watch a parade. Plus, since all the tourists were over at the edge of all the Bastille Day action, the museum was nearly empty.
Monday was by far one of my favorite days of the entire trip. We took a train out to Chantilly, a typical quaint village in the French countryside with a big, beautiful chateau. No offense to Louis XIV, but I liked Domaine de Chantilly way more than Versailles. For one thing, it wasn't swarming with tourists stopping and starting to take pictures in every room and for another, it had a full on forest that was both beautiful and good at keeping people cool in the shade. The best part about Chantilly? THEY HAD WALLABYS. A WHOLE FIELD OF WALLABYS. We're still not sure why, but I don't even want to know why. All I know is I got to see some wallabys and I didn't have to fly for 30 hours to Australia.
The lion and the platypus, nature's most fearful predators.
Our last day was spent fitting in last minute tourist stops (Notre Dame) and souvenir shopping (not to worry, we didn't buy a single beret or anything shaped like an eiffel tower). Our most exciting discovery was a boutique/cafe called Merci near the Bastille. Out front is a big cafe lined with bookshelves (I died a little when I saw it) but if you walk through to the courtyard there's an entrance to a massive boutique filled with travel books, drawing supplies, collected clothes from all over the city, housewares, and beautiful jewelry. We spet the entire afternoon exploring the place. It was perfect.
After a tasty vegetarian dinner by Les Halles, we walked down to the Ile Saint-Louis for ice cream at Berthillion. We ate our ice cream on a bridge overlooking the sunset over Paris, the perfect end to the perfect trip.