Paris à la boutique (day 2)

For photos of day 1 in Paris, click here.

I don’t think Mom and I were consciously avoiding the big, famous attractions in Paris, but that’s pretty much what we ended up doing. We didn’t climb the Eiffel Tower, visit the Louvre or Musée d’Orsay, get very close to the Arc de Triomphe, or climb the towers of Notre Dame. Mostly, that’s because we’ve been incredibly privileged in Mom’s (and Dad’s) work travel situation, which has resulted in many previous trips to Paris for her (she was a postdoc in Strasbourg, which helped) and several previous trips to Europe, including Paris, for my brothers and me. We’ve already done all that famous stuff, it was pretty much uniformly awesome, and I’m grateful for those opportunities. I certainly don’t want to discourage anyone who feels that their Paris experience is incomplete without some or all of the big-name experiences from seeking those out. It’s all famous for a reason, after all.

Still, I’m glad that this time around, we stuck to the smaller (and cheaper) side of things. There’s a lot of wonderful culture and history to be found in Paris, and seeking out the “boutique” experience ensures that you’re have a lot of unique memories of your visit!

First stop: touring the inside of Notre Dame at 8 am (to beat the rush).
First stop: touring the inside of Notre Dame at 8 am (to beat the rush).
After breakfast (mostly purchased from a supermarket), we went to the Musée Cluny, the Paris museum of the Middle Ages. It's located in an old cloister, which is pretty cool on its own.
After breakfast (mostly purchased from a supermarket), we went to the Musée Cluny, the Paris museum of the Middle Ages. It’s located in an old cloister, which is pretty cool on its own.
Statues of kings from Notre Dame, decapitated during the Revolution.
Statues of kings from Notre Dame, decapitated during the Revolution.
The most famous part of the museum's collection: the six Lady and the Unicorn tapestries (this is just one, obviously).
The most famous part of the museum’s collection: the six Lady and the Unicorn tapestries (this is just one, obviously).
Mom really wanted to stop by the Pantheon, so we did. Too bad it's being renovated.
Mom really wanted to stop by the Pantheon, so we did. Too bad it’s being renovated.
Mom inside the Pantheon.
Mom inside the Pantheon.
One of these domes is not like the other...
One of these domes is not like the other…
Voltaire's tomb in the crypt of the Pantheon.
Voltaire’s tomb in the crypt of the Pantheon.
The tombs of Pierre and Marie Curie (much more important than Voltaire).
The tombs of Pierre and Marie Curie (much more important than Voltaire).
We went to the Rue Mouffetard to see the allegedly famous food market. There wasn't a whole lot there, but we did find a really good jazz quartet!
We went to the Rue Mouffetard to see the allegedly famous food market. There wasn’t a whole lot there, but we did find a really good jazz quartet!
Little creperies were the most common food presence that I noticed, but there were a surprising number of rotisserie vendors around Paris as well. (I bet the potatoes roasting under the chicken fat taste awesome...)
Little creperies were the most common food presence that I noticed, but there were a surprising number of rotisserie vendors around Paris as well. (I bet the potatoes roasting under the chicken fat taste awesome…)
For lunch: nice warm bowls of Chinese rice vermicelli soup! (I didn't mention it yet but it was lightly raining all day. We needed the warmth!)
For lunch: nice warm bowls of Chinese rice vermicelli soup! (I didn’t mention it yet but it was lightly raining all day. We needed the warmth!)
Happy (backlit) campers.
Happy (backlit) campers.
Next stop: the Musée Curie, where the take-home message I got was mostly "these people were insanely accomplished and important." It was really cool.
Next stop: the Musée Curie, where the take-home message I got was mostly “these people were insanely accomplished and important.” It was really cool.
One of several hilarious radium-themed thrillers on display.
One of several hilarious radium-themed thrillers on display.
I don't know what "The Radium Race" is supposed to signify...
I don’t know what “The Radium Race” is supposed to signify…
Had to take a picture of this one: "killer radium" and cross-country skiing!
Had to take a picture of this one: “killer radium” and cross-country skiing!
Reproduced lab like one of the ones the Curies worked in.
Reproduced lab like one of the ones the Curies worked in.
Marie Curie's office! So cool.
Marie Curie’s office! So cool.
On the way back northward from the museum, we noticed this interestingly asymmetrical church near the Pantheon.
On the way back northward from the museum, we noticed this interestingly asymmetrical church near the Pantheon.
Other side of the Seine: here's the Place des Vosges, near where Victor Hugo lived.
Other side of the Seine: here’s the Place des Vosges, near where Victor Hugo lived.
Exterior of the Centre Pompidou (we basically walked by here so I could use the bathroom).
Exterior of the Centre Pompidou (we basically walked by here so I could use the bathroom).
The Tour Saint-Jacques, where Pascal performed experiments to measure differences in atmospheric pressure! There's a statue of him in there.
The Tour Saint-Jacques, where Pascal performed experiments to measure differences in atmospheric pressure! There’s a statue of him in there.
Shakespeare and Company, famous as the Paris meeting place of James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and later Allen Ginsberg, Anais Nin, James Baldwin...the list goes on. It's also adorable and quirky inside.
Shakespeare and Company, famous as the Paris meeting place of James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and later Allen Ginsberg, Anais Nin, James Baldwin…the list goes on. It’s also adorable and quirky inside.
Story here.
The first time I was in Paris with my family (my brothers and I had just turned 8), we stopped here for dessert one night. I distinctly remember that my dad had ordered crepes Suzette, or something else that required setting liqueur on fire at the table. The waiter couldn’t get his lighter to work and eventually got so frustrated that he threw it across the (nearly empty) restaurant! Needless to say, my brothers and I thought this was the funniest thing ever for about a month.
Post-dinner walking around: the Musée d'Orsay and a bit of the Eiffel Tower.
Post-dinner (no pictures of that…) walking around: the Musée d’Orsay and a bit of the Eiffel Tower.
We made it all the way to the Champs Elysee! Here's the obelisk at Place de la Concorde; you can barely make out the Arc de Triomphe at the other end.
We made it all the way to the Champs Elysee! Here’s the obelisk at Place de la Concorde; you can barely make out the Arc de Triomphe at the other end.

Stay tuned for day 3!

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