What do you get to do when you finally reach one of your planned for life goals? Indeed, what do you get to do after flying across the Atlantic Ocean to fulfill said goal? But really, what do you get to do after spending over an hour in a snakelike, winding line to get out of the airport? Well, you get to say, “GOOD MORINING, PARIS.”
What a glorious city, and because Paris rises early, the sun was up to greet this Unseasoned Traveler.
First things first, Bruce and I were off to our home away from home, a nostalgic place called Grand Hotel Dechampaigne. It is one of those old European hotels that improves with the passage of time. You can find this hotel in a small neighborhood of Paris called Chatelet. The neighborhood looks like this in the evening.
Now, take a peek at the accommodations. Small, but charming, n’est pas?
Here’s the view from the balcony.
Because time is precious on this junket, we jumped right into enjoying all that Paris has to offer. First stop, the Conciergerie, a once a royal residence and finally, a royal prison. The Conciergerie is a wonderful example of Gothic architecture located directly on the Seine. The Conciergerie was the site of many royal decrees, but no doubt, it is primarily remembered as a major place of gloomy detention during the French Revolution. Its most famous prisoner was Marie-Antoinette; she was only imprisoned here for a few weeks. Poor Marie-Antoinette was put on trial on October 14/15, 1793, and passionately led her own failed defense. She was convicted of high treason and sentenced to death. You can still see the stairs by which Marie-Antoinette left the Conciergerie to meet her executioners at the Place de la Revolution, now known as the Place de la Concord. Although somewhat barren in furnishings, some say that the presence of those held captive can still be felt in these halls. Hummmmm!!!
Next stop, Sainte-Chapelle. This historic spot is right next door to the Conciergerie. Sainte-Chapelle was built in order to house the supposed Crown of Thornes. Sainte-Chapelle is a little shabby from the outside, BUTTTTT
the inside is packed with fabulous stained glass windows. There are at least 1,113 Bible scenes set in 15 stained glass windows that tell the story of mankind from Genesis through the resurrection of Christ.
The windows are quite beautiful, and as the sun shifts, different parts of the Bible stories become illuminated. I can only imagine how people who could not read learned about Christianity from gazing up at these windows. Ahhhh, but while I was there, I also looked down and discovered the magnificent, ancient tiled floor.
It is love at first sight with Paris. All you have to do is walk around town. There is always some light being reflected on a surface that tells a uniquely Parisian story. I was told that there are more than 3,000 illuminated sites in Paris, truly making it the City of Lights.
The streets are full of light. And it was just my good fortune that the moon was waxing over the Seine. Good Night, Paris. I can hardly wait to see you tomorrow. Bisou, the Unseasoned Traveler.