My Wednesday Human Resource Management class, which has turned out to be a joke by the way, was cancelled the first two meetings of school, so this is going back to my second week of school (January 28th!) Anyway, I decided to go exploring to profit from the class being canceled, and at first I intended to go to the Jardin des Plantes, which is a large botanical garden with a huge greenhouse, the Natural History Museum, and many other exhibits. However, when I got off the metro, it was grey, raining, and the wind was so strong that my umbrella was pointless. I walked into the gardens and immediately realized that I had picked the worst possible time of the year to visit this place because there were hardly any plants and just looked bare, plus I had tiny drops of rain blowing into my face. I decided to just quickly walk through it and come back in the spring when the flowers and trees bloom. There is a large, really well-done greenhouse at the end, so I went in to warm up and check it out. It was obviously very humid, and really tall. There were different sections from all parts of the world with all different climates, and a pond with koi fish in the middle. I was surprised at how tall the building was and the trees inside were just as tall. It really was beautiful, and sadly, it was really hard to take a picture that captured how expansive and grand it was.
I took my time looking through the plants from all over the globe; they also had a nice little desert section with lots of cacti, which made me feel right at home.
Unlike the outside, everything was very much alive with so much green, flowers, and a really nice collection of plants. It felt a little bizarre because other than a couple maintenance guys, I was the only person there. That is a really rare thing to experience in Paris, so I savored it.
Afterwards, I wondered around the grounds and was again surprised at how huge it was. The French really know how to make things big! Having not really foreseen this bad weather, I didn’t really have a plan B, but I knew I was near Notre Dame, so I just decided to head that way. I looked at Google Maps just to get a general direction of where I was heading, but I kinda just walked without worrying if I was taking the most direct route. I just wanted to walk through the streets of Paris, so if I liked how a street looked, I took it, knowing eventually I would get somewhere. Again, much of the time I was completely alone on the streets, and it was pretty cool, and maybe one of the few advantages of being in Paris in the winter, in the rain.
I stumbled upon a church, which I read was called Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, so I stopped to take some pictures. I wasn’t sure if I could go inside, so I just admired it from the outside, and took my pictures.
On the side of the building, away from the main entrance, there was a purple door and some steps. I liked it and took a photo of it. I didn’t find this out until later, but little did I know that I had just taken a picture of the spot where Owen Wilson gets picked up by the car and taken back in time, and the street the car comes from in ‘Midnight in Paris’, one of my favorite movies! I’ll have to go back so I can appreciate it more, but I think its kinda cool that I just randomly happened upon that spot, because I absolutely LOVE that movie!
I continued along the charming, cobble stone streets, and finally had Note Dame in sight. It was across the river and I stopped to take more pictures. A couple random guys asked if I would take a picture with them, so I did, weird, but whatever, and then I crossed one of the bridges covered in “love-locks” and walked over to the beautiful cathedral.
I had already visited Notre Dame when I came to Paris in 2013, and even then I found this building incredibly impressive and just a jaw-dropping sight. A must-see for any tourist in my opinion.
I walked around it slowly and looked at it from angles I hadn’t seen it from last time. I was starting to get really cold from the rain, (I hadn’t chosen my winter coat today either for some strange reason.) I went inside and again was blown away by the size and detail of this 800+ year cathedral. It’s dark inside, and even if you could take a clear photo, it would never capture this place. I took my time going through it, as is necessary to appreciate the fine details, and finally warmed up.
After the cathedral, I decided to tour the archaeological crypt, which was pretty interesting. It included some excavations, and presented the entire history of the cathedral and Paris itself, because Notre Dame is pretty much Ground Zero in Paris. Outside, there was a large, decorated Christmas tree in front and I took some selfies ;)
It really was cold, so I decided to make my way back to the metro to go home, with one last stop at the St. Michel fountain.
Despite the rain, and cold, it was a really nice little walk around one of the oldest areas of Paris.