We went exploring Paris this morning (this time by car with some fairly local family members); the main advantage to this method was of course the ability to cover far more ground than we could have on foot! Many neighborhoods of Paris are full of buildings like the one above. I’m not honestly sure what this building was – offices or apartments maybe – but it has a common architectural style. When you see the wrought-iron balconies, the very steep gray roofs, and the detailed exterior decorations on the walls, you automatically know: you’re in Paris ❤
We ended our car tour in Montmartre, the art district of Paris. It is built into the sides and top of a very steep hill, so it was nice to have a car to drive us up before we got out and said our goodbyes! At the highest point in Montmartre, this famous church stands:
the Sacré Coeur (“Sacred Heart”). It is so big and on such a tall hill that you can see it not only throughout Montmartre, but from many other neighborhoods in Paris as well! Our hotel is a little under 2 miles away, but if you stand just right you can still see the Sacré Coeur between the other buildings on the street.
The other great thing about the Sacré Coeur is the opposing view of Paris spread out below the church! Here’s what it looks like if you look out directly to the south of the Sacré Coeur.
After Montmartre, we wandered back down the hill and ended up checking out a number of different stores, including a French Burger King. Many fast food restaurants that exist in the US also exist in France, though the menus are often very different! Burger King didn’t have too many differences (outside of a few amusing translations such as “Long Chicken Sandwich”) until we got to the dessert menu:
Note some of the inclusions: waffles, donuts, muffins, and lava cakes (cakes with melted fudge or other creamy fillings in the middle) can all be found at this Burger King! And a lot of English translations on the menu, though not for everything – for example, they still used “boissons chaudes” for “hot drinks”. Yes, the French have all these foods and their own words for them, but English is so common in a big city like Paris and Burger King is well known as being an American company, most Parisians expect or at least don’t mind using English for simple words like these.
But we ended up eating at a very good café called Le Manoir on a huge, popular shopping street called Boulevard Haussmann. I ordered a Coke Light, which comes in a glass bottle in France.
You are expected to pour your soda into the glass yourself as you finish each drink. The bottles are not incredibly big (330 ml/11.2 fluid ounces, just a little bit smaller than an American can) but I still got two good glasses out of it. That’s a little unusual in France because you normally do not get ice to go with it! The French do not put ice in their drinks, as a general rule of thumb, and I had to specifically ask for ice to be put in my glass when I ordered my Coke. And yes, there is a reason the name is a little bit different: the Coke recipe changes slightly from county to country, in order to match what people there like better. In France, Coke Light is a less acidic and less carbonated version of American Diet Coke.
Finally, for dessert: crème brulée! This famous dessert can be very difficult to make and is always a bit of a gamble to order, as a good one is very good – but a bad one is very bad 😦 It is like very thick vanilla pudding but to finish it off, the chef puts a thin layer of sugar on top and then purposefully burns it with a tiny kitchen blowtorch to melt it into a crunchy caramel.
Thankfully, this restaurant makes very good crème brulée! It was the perfect way to wrap up our first full day in Paris.
Finally, congratulations to yesterday’s comments winner, Lauren Harrell! Keep on commenting every day for your chance to win awesome souvenirs from the trip – don’t worry, there are still plenty of chances to win!