We arrived in downtown Paris around 5 pm. That allowed us enough time for dinner in the evening and a stroll to the Eiffel Tower. I had hoped to see the twinkle lights at night on the tower, but just too jet lagged to stay there until 10 pm.
We stayed in the Rue Cler area. It was fun to walk down the street filled with shops and see what was on display.
In the morning we walked along the Seine. I had recently been hearing about the "lock bridges" in both Paris and Rome. The new romantic custom to declare your true love forever is to write your names on a lock, connect it to the bridge, and then throw the key into the river. This is the view from the bridge that is right next to the D'Orsay Museum.
I am an art lover, so when you have only one day in Paris, it is hard to decide which museum to visit. Since the Louvre is closed on Tuesday, it made the decision to go to the Musee d'Orsay easier. Long 45 minute wait in line to get in. (If you stay in Paris for 2 days or more, definitely get the Paris Museum pass. You can walk to the front of the line and most museums and sites are included. We did this last trip and it was wonderful!). I enjoyed the wonderful impressionist art collection. Unfortunately no pictures of the artwork allowed, but I did take this photo of the main hall. It is an old train station that has been beautifully repurposed into the museum.
Cool view out the old train station clock onto the city. Reminds me of the movie Hugo. Look closely and you will see Sacré Coeur on top of the hill in the distance.
We picked up sandwiches at a nearby bakery and ate them on the steps of the d'Orsay. Unfortunately my poor French for a jambon (ham) sandwich was interpreted as salmon, which my brother didn't much like. My goat cheese quiche was devine!
A stroll through the courtyard of the Louvre.
Then a visit to Notre Dame. Always a favorite spot in Paris - I love going inside and seeing the stained glass windows. We discovered another bridge behind Notre Dame absolutely loaded with love locks! I thought this was so cool!
We also went into Sainte Chapelle, which is a tiny jewel box of a church with the most stunning glowing windows. Two long lines here - for security and then to buy tickets. Unfortunately parts of the church and windows were under restoration, but I still loved seeing these gorgeous windows again!
So that's what we did on the "before Italy" part of our trip. I posted more pictures of Paris here on Flickr. I will post next about where we stayed in Paris and two wonderful meals that we enjoyed!