Paris: Day 4 -- Notre Dame and The Love Lock Bridge

I am not sure if I had mentioned it before but I decided to start a travel journal while on this trip, writing a little everyday in hopes of remembering everything a little more.  Having my journal has made putting together these posts so much easier and it helps me remember some of the details that are not always as lovely as the pictures! 

We started off day four by walking the streets of Paris searching to buy a universal battery charger.  Somehow in our packing, we decided we did not need our battery charger as we had plenty of extra batteries for all three of the cameras we brought.  And when I say batteries, I mean expensive specific camera batteries.  Brent was able to find a local camera shop online that we hunted down to find the charger.  Let's just say, even as professional photographers, we made a rookie mistake not realizing we would be taking thousands of pictures burning through our batteries pretty quickly.  This was a pretty stressful aspect of the trip but we luckily were able to find a charger that would work with all our camera specific batteries. 

Before the camera fiasco, we woke up to our first morning in our new hotel room.  We enjoyed the new (and slightly louder view) from our private balcony.  We were planted right in front of the RER with a great view of the street and partial view of the Eiffel Tower.

When our windows were closed, you could barely hear the street noise.  I actually found it quite fascinating to be able to people watch and see the train go by from our room.  A lot of reviews I read for hotels in general complained about street noise.  Honestly, we were so tired each day that we both slept pretty heavy each night. 

This was also our first morning to receive our hotel's free continental breakfast.  We spent the first few days enjoying breakfast at the local bakeries but by day four we were happy to get a free meal and to fill ourselves up for the morning.  And this was not your average continental breakfast.  They had delicious cheese, meats, and crepes.  It was pretty wonderful.

After breakfast and hunting down our battery charger, we started our walk to Notre Dame.  We stopped at a few shops making sure to take a peek into Hermes.  If you are unfamiliar with this high end store, it is the home of the Birkin bag (which I learned about from Gilmore Girls!) and is considered one of the most expensive clothing stores in the world.  I came home with a perfume sprayed piece of paper with the Hermes logo on it!  Proof that you can find something free from this extravagant little place!

And here I am moments later acting super classy.

By the time we arrived close to Notre Dame, we were ready to eat again so we stopped in at a restaurant on the street.

And we enjoyed our lunch with a view of Notre Dame and the Seine.

It is as if the clouds parted just for us.  I could not ask for a more beautiful sky backdrop to this beautiful place.

There are two different lines to get into Notre Dame.  One line takes you inside and is free while another line is to the top which you have to pay for.  We lucked out and did not have a very long wait to get indoors but our line to the top took at least an hour or more.

The inside is stunning.  The stained glass and architecture is simply beautiful. 

We then headed to the other line to get to the top.

After what seemed like an already long wait, this young man accompanied by a study abroad group ended up cutting in front of the couple ahead of us in line.  Between the exhausting long wait and my need for justice in the world, I confronted the group.  It was super uncomfortable and I was pretty mad that we were getting so blatantly taken advantage of as tourists.  I am from California and people at Disneyland have zero tolerance for cutting.  It is a very serious thing.  They did not leave but they did eventually move behind us in line.  It was not my proudest moment but it was one of those situations where I knew I would regret not speaking up.  And now I will forever have this silly memory of our time at Notre Dame!

Once I got over it all, we enjoyed the views from the top.  You can see so much of the city and some pretty spectacular views.

And those people down below?  They are in line to get in to Notre Dame!  We lucked out and did not have to wait in that long of a line.  But I definitely recommend arriving to some of the bigger locations earlier in the day to beat some of the rush (and really those giant tour buses!).

The top is pretty narrow so we took lots of selfies to try to get a picture of ourselves with the view.  Just seeing these photos reminds me of how great the weather was in October.  The air was so crisp and fresh and when it rained it was often brief and refreshing.  Being up so high with that cool air was really wonderful.

The stairs up and down were pretty intense.  Lots of narrow spiraling!

Directly after visiting Notre Dame we headed just down the street to Pont Des Arts, the "love lock bridge."  Unfortunately the locks have been removed since then, but I am still grateful we were able to lock our love before this well known spot was taken down.

The amount of locks on this bridge is crazy.  It is definitely a sight to see and fun to admire all the different colors and designs.

While there were plenty of people admiring the locks, I was one of few actually putting a lock on the bridge.  One woman took a video with her phone of me putting it on! 

I had made a lock at home with a photo of us on our wedding day to lock on to the bridge.  I made two so that we could keep one as an ornament for our Christmas tree.  And then I threw our key into the Seine River which I will admit felt very wrong!

We are cheesy romantics around here so it was a sweet and special moment.  We took pictures of both of our hands holding the lock together.  I will spare you from all those photos!

To get an idea of how close the two locations are, here is a view of Notre Dame from the bridge.

After that we hit the streets again for more walking and wandering.

We stopped in at BHV which is a fun gigantic department store.  They have a bunch of adorable and unique items but nothing particularly French.  So we browsed but ended up not purchasing anything.

We then took the metro home after a long day of walking.

For dinner we decided on a place right by our hotel.  We had a simple burger and fries.

But for dessert we had this beautiful little creation.  It was called the Carmilita and it was full of vanilla and caramel ice cream topped with walnuts and whipped cream!

We ended up talking and laughing with our waiter who was very kind and polite with my jokes!  I took the advice of a friend and greeted restaurant workers and shop owners with simple French greetings.  We found that simply trying to speak their language went a long way even though we did not speak French. 

Overall I found the French to be very kind.  They did seem to be in a hurry a lot of the time but they were always very polite in passing us by and keeping to themselves. 

We then ended the night back at our room for another light show from the Eiffel Tower.

By day four I was pretty reflective in my journal entry.  After being there a few days things started feeling more familiar.  I was able to soak in more of the culture and how being in this new city made me feel. 

I enjoyed the simplicity of packing light and the simple discipline of washing our clothes every few days.  It felt productive but also soothing at the same time in realizing how little I really need.  I felt confident in my minimalist black wardrobe and enjoyed coming home to a luxurious hotel bed at night.  I felt close to Brent and was soaking up all our time together - even moments where I felt like we were playing tacky tourists! 

I cannot say that all of travel is perfect or easy, especially in a different country.  But that time together exploring, getting lost, and just being are moments that make my heart crave getting away.  Sure I love the adventure but I also love the company of my husband that comes with it.  Day 4 of Paris was a good day.

Catch up on all posts from our Paris trip here