Paris on a budget (free attractions and packed lunches)

I had a rough night on the futon.  It’s hard and uncomfortable, and I woke up a million times during the night.  I did wake up to find a little breakfast set up for us though.  There was a soft sort of bread with chocolate chips that was nommy, and apparently prevalent in France (saw some at the grocery store), hard biscuits with jam (in unopened jars, so I had to wait an hour for Joe to wake p and open them for me), orange juice, and coffee (or at least what I was told was coffee, and was actually just espresso).  After Joseph finally woke up (he had a harder time sleeping because I kept kicking him… supposedly) we walked to the pharmacy to pick up shampoo and toothpaste, then to Franprix to get some lunch supplies.

Our Franprix grocery booty

We started the day off by searching for the Musée Carnavalet a sort of history of Paris museum with a lot of additional “works of art, mementos and scale models on display”.   There were lots of paintings, a few models of the Bastille, replicas of 17th century rooms, old shop signage, and lot, lots more.  The museum is housed in two adjoining town houses.  But, when they say town house, they really mean mini palace.  I only wish I could have read the plaques, but since they were in French I had to utilize my zero years of French class and pretend I could read them.  Sometimes pretending was fine.  I saw Napoleon’s death mask, a ballet slipper that (I think) belonged to the princess Pauline Borghèse of some relation to Napoleon, and a clock with a bronze sculpted version of Jacques-Louis David’s Oath of the Horatii.  But, according to Wikipedia I missed Napoleon’s favorite case of toiletries, which is a tragedy.

Afterwards we went to the Place des Vosges, the oldest planned square in the city, and one of the most beautiful.  We ventured into the Maison de Victor Hugo which wasn’t terrible exciting, but, he certainly had some interesting interior decorating skills (aka the Chinese drawing room he designed for Juliette Drouset, yeah, I don’t know who she is either).

Place des Vosges

Walked some more to the Place de la Bastille to see the July Column.  Not that eventful. Walked some more to Île Saint-Louis and got ice cream!  According to my guide book Maison Berthillon has amazing ice cream, so of course, Joe and I went on a hunt for it, only to find that it was closed.  Then we took about two more steps and saw another shop with Berthillon written in big letters, then another, and another, and then we were confused, so we just chose one at random.  Later we looked up “Berthillon” online and learned that “Berthillon is a French manufacturer and retailer of luxury ice cream and sorbet,” but the closed shop we stumbled on first was the only one actually owned by Berthillon.  The others buy Berthillon ice cream to resell.  But, the only important part was that it was delicious.  I got a cone of vanilla and it was perfect.

I’m running out of battery and can’t seem to post any more photos… So, here’s the rest of our day sans embellishment or photos.  We went to Notre Dame and saw all the pretty stain glass from the outside.  It was especially nice because last time I was in Paris I only saw Notre Dame at night from the outside.  Then we walked some more, checked out the Marche Aux Fleurs aka flower Market,  ate a panini, and laughed at my guide book because it said that budget travelers should expect to spend about €50 a day per person (Joe and I will be spending way less than €100 each day).  I promise to do a photo catch-up next time.


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