#LibkaGirlsTakeEurope | Part 6
As soon as we arrived in Paris late Sunday afternoon, we headed for the highest point in the city, Sacré-Coeur Basilica at the crest of the butte Montmartre. An extensive view of Paris awaited us there. As the sun set, lights of businesses and homes blinked like fireflies across the cityscape.
A light rain settled in after dinner as we made our way down the Champs-Élysées toward the Arc de Triomphe, but it didn’t dampen our spirits. We stopped by Ladurée, a French patisserie famous for its macarons. The sweet, meringue-based confections later served as the best-ever late-night snack in our hotel room!
Built for the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris, the Eiffel Tower welcomes an estimated 7 million visitors each year.
Ever wonder what the Paris city-view at night from the top of the Eiffel Tower looks like? Check out this short clip!
Monday morning we visited Notre-Dame Cathedral along the Seine River. Victor Hugo is credited with saving Notre Dame from demolition with the publication of his classic novel, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” in 1831.
As the bells began to ring, we could picture Quasimodo swinging from the ropes in the bell tower.
Love is a popular theme along the Seine where sweethearts write their names or initials on padlocks and secure them to chains, hooks, gates, etc. to symbolize their love. They throw away the key to signify an everlasting love.
The Palais de la Cité, the home of French kings from the sixth century until 14th century, is located in central Paris on the Île de la Cité (island) in the Seine River. It housed the French treasury, parliament and courts from the 14th century until the French Revolution, when it became a courthouse and prison. The Revolutionary Tribunal held and tried Marie Antoinette and other prisoners there within the Conciergerie, which is now a museum. Hundreds were carted off from the Conciergerie to execution by guillotine throughout the city of Paris. Today part of the Conciergerie houses the Palais de Justice (courts of law).
Sainte-Chapelle, formerly the chapel of the Palace, is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. Its many stained glass windows are currently being restored. The two-story chapel is actually two chapels – one on each floor. The second-story chapel was reserved for private use by the king.
The large medieval hall and some of the cells from the Conciergerie’s former use as a prison are open to the public today as a museum. One of the rooms has been restored to represent the chamber where prisoners’ hair was cut before they were sent to the guillotine during the French Revolution.
That evening the clouds blew a light mist across Paris, but we still enjoyed a cruise on the Seine River.
Tuesday morning we took a train about an hour outside of Paris to tour the Palace of Versailles. My favorite spot in the palace is the Hall of Mirrors, bedecked with 357 mirrors running nearly 80 yards opposite windows looking out on the gardens.
Later that afternoon we returned to Paris. For souvenir and gift shopping, we stopped by Monoprix, a French grocery/department store for our stash of French soaps, preserves, chocolate and more!
Wednesday morning we toured the Palais Garnier, built from 1861 to 1875 for the Paris Opera. We were able to step into the auditorium, which was dark while light and sound checks were being held. The following video features the Grand Staircase.
As we walked the Rue de Rivoli toward the Angelina Tearoom for lunch, we passed shops bearing some of the most fashionable names in the world. A place of elegance and charm, Angelina has been a favorite of famous people like Proust, Coco Chanel and Audrey Hepburn. I choose the gambas risotto with herbs and shellfish cream for my entrée. We all indulged a little with Angelina’s signature African hot chocolate and Mont-Blanc pastry for dessert.
After lunch we spent a couple of hours at the Louvre. It has been estimated that if you spent one minute viewing each of the Louvre’s 35,000 masterpieces and antiques, it would take you 64 days to see them all! Top of our list was “Mona Lisa” by Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci.
The next morning we packed our bags, along with treasured new memories from our five-city European tour, and boarded our flight for home. Thank you for joining us in London, Budapest, Vienna, Prague and Paris!
*Blue Macaroon glass ornament, Bronner’s sku 1183322 is available by calling our customer service: 800-361-6736
*All travel photos in this post were used with permission from Lori Libka & Kristen Dang.