On Day 18 Mother Nature had her way with us. It was bitter cold. Then it rained. Then the wind came out to play. Then the clouds split apart. And the sun peeked through. But only for a moment. Then the sun was gone. Then it got colder. MUCH colder. Then in a flash: lightening. And thunder. A rolling thunder so loud it reminded me of those spring afternoons back home in Colorado (oh how I miss thunder!). And then RAIN. Not little sweet Cupcake Royal sprinkles. But cats and dogs rain. Rain that fell harder than I had seen. Maybe ever. We were drenched. Soaked through. And it was…tres bien!!
When weather waxes and wanes like this during times of travel, it makes it VERY difficult to set the day’s agenda. We didn’t know whether to spend the day getting lost in a museum, or shopping the current fashions, or sitting at a local cafe sipping hot chocolate and lattes. Despite it being an “indoor” sort of day, we grabbed a quick bite to eat, and headed off to a local market in Republique called Marche au Enfants Rouges.
Unfortunately, due to the “winter-ish” weather conditions, many of the vendors were closing early. BUT we still got a chance to take in the smells of fresh cooked European fare (definitely one of the most aromatic markets I have EVER been too!), and absorb the bright vibrant colors of the fresh produce, expertly cut florals, and incredibly delicate cream and chocolate filled pastries. After exiting the market, we continued to explore Republique by window shopping, scanning stands and stands of postcards, and whimpering about the cold. Okay, so it was Sarah and I doing most of the whimpering, but Tristan did mention more than once that “a scarf might be kind of nice.” Cleary the man was cold.
As we rounded a corner, I jumped up and down and squealed with excitement, as I gazed at my very first pumpkins of the fall season. I had no idea how attached I was to American traditions, quite particularly those oh so cozy fall traditions. Those curry colored pumpkins quite literally made my day! I jokingly requested that Tristan carry one away for me and haul it around for the rest of day (the little secret was I was NOT joking – I wanted, no I NEEDED one of those pumpkins), but my begging and pleading failed miserably. I made a mental note of where the pumpkins were located, with plans to return later in the week. One of those little beauties WILL find its way to my dining table. That I promise you.
After Republique, I directed us towards the area of Belleville to catch a glimpse of Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise (cimetiere = cemetery). Now, I am well aware that a cemetery doesn’t sound like the most appealing or expected sightseeing experience, but this was something different. As we wandered through the winding cobblestone streets, and climbed the uneven stone steps, up and up and up, we were in total awe. I imagined myself as a character in David Bowe’s 1980′s The Labyrinth, as I snapped photos of moss-covered headstones and brushed my fingers across meticulously chiseled stone walls. It was as if we were stuck in a storybook maze in the quest for something fantastic. In this case it was Jim Morrison, not a baby brother (you’d have to see the movie), but it was a quest nonetheless : )
The pictures of this majestic place really speak for themselves. Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise is dark, but perfectly iridescent; eery, but also incredibly warm and comforting; it’s full of the cracks and whittled stone, but also speckled with buds of new life and greenery. It was one of those places that you just feel honored to be given the opportunity to witness.
After hours of wandering Pere Lachaise, we stopped into a fantastically welcoming cafe to thaw out and drink yummy chocolate chauds. After warming our hands AND bellies, we headed back toward Le Marais and shopped for the rest of the afternoon. We picked up souvenirs and warm weather accessories, sprinted home in the rain and then tucked in for the night.
Bottles and bottles of vino at the market.
S & T outside Marche des Enfants Rouges.
One of the many beautiful buildings in the area of Republique.
Aren’t those the most fabulous pumpkins you’ve ever seen!?!
Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise.
A prime example of the vibrancy of the colors…these on a rusted door.
After hours and hours of searching we found his resting place. And so did 50 of the other peeps crowded around.
My symbol for warmth!
Today, on day 19 the rain came down again, but this time during our visit to the area of Montmartre.
I LOVE Montmartre. I love the dangerously uneven cobblestone paths that you can wander over aimlessly for hours and hours. I love the “I now know I’m REALLY out of shape” staircases that look as though they are leading you straight to those perfectly puffy clouds high in the sky. I love the graffiti soaked walls, that almost seem to be a distinct and purposeful aspect of the buildings, roofs, and chimneys. I love that some of my most favorite artists (Degas, Renoir, Van Gogh, and Picasso) lived in Montmartre while they created some of their most famous masterpieces. I love the bountiful supply of cafes, patisseries, and boulangeries. I love Place du Tertre where local artists put their pencils to paper and create superlative portraits of any tourist willing to pay the price. I love Basilique du Sacre-Couer and its distinctive bell that makes the ground shake below you as it swings back and forth to celebrate the hour. I love how the Red Light District makes you cringe, but also secretly wish that you were brave enough to explore Musee de l’Erotisme. I love the grandness of Moulin Rouge’s red windmill as it sits in an advantageous position above decades of cabaret history. I simply LOVE Montmarte.
Despite being in one of my most favorite areas of Paris today, I did miss something. Boy, oh boy, did I miss my husband today. I don’t know if it was seeing the incredibly beautiful picturesque streets of Montmartre again which we once strolled during our honeymoon, or the drops of rain that reminded me of home in Seattle, or the creepy French guy who aggressively hit on me while I was waiting for Sarah and Tristan to be done viewing the dome in the Sacre-Coeur. Whatever it was I was, I was reminded of him today. Constantly. I miss his voice, his warmth (it would have been so nice to stick my freezing, ice cold hands on his bare back today), his smile, his laugh, and most of all his love. Not having Adam by my side has definitely been the most challenging aspect of this trip. I wish everyday that I’m here that he could have come along on this journey with me, but I know that my time alone and away, will make our marriage that much stronger in the years to come. I miss you Adam.
The most famous cabaret of all.
Chomping down on the largest slice of cheesecake I’ve ever seen!
Montmartre. Mont means “hill”.
A wall of “love” in a random garden.
The most fantastic vintage vest I have EVER seen hanging in a boutique window. The building behind is reflecting off the glass. Gorgeous!
The overcast skies with little sunbreaks made for the most unbelievable lighting.
One of the many artists hard at work in Place du Tertre underneath the monstrous Sacre-Coeur.
The Basilique du Sacre-Coeur.
The view of Paris down below, as we waited out the rain under the trees.
My favorite shot of the day. There was this BEAUTIFUL amber colored building off to the right of the Sacre-Coeur. I just couldn’t stop looking in its direction.
A view of the basilica from the gardens down below.
French shutters. One of the most splendid things ever created.
Heading out of Montmartre.
After days and days of staring at this magical carousel strategically placed in the square in front of Hotel De Ville near my apartment, I just had to share a couple pics…isn’t it fantastic!?!