To complete our full loop of France, we returned to Paris for 2 final nights. We caught the evening train from St. Malo to Rennes, then boarded the TGV and raced towards the big city through the dark countryside. We arrived at the Montparnasse station and took a few minutes to get our bearings before we were walking in the right direction towards our hotel. We walked the 8 or so blocks to Hotel de la Paix, right in the heart of the happening Montparnasse neighborhood. We were exhausted from the day and went to bed without dinner.
(photo from hoteldelapaix.com)
We woke up refreshed, got showered and dressed, and headed downstairs for breakfast. The hotel had a very cute eating area and a great sit-down French breakfast, which I realized was going to be our last!
(photo from hoteldelapaix.com)
I loaded up on the baguette and butter and we hit the streets of Paris. We walked around checking out all the old haunts of great artists like Fitzgerald and Hemingway. Here’s Jen in front of Café du Dome and Café de la Rotonde:
We made it a point to see some of the places we missed at the beginning of our trip. We spent a few hours in Luxembourg Gardens enjoying the flowers, ponds, and as always, people watching.
Then we took the loooooooong walk from Luxembourg Gardens back to Île de la Cité to actually go inside of Notre Dame, since we didn’t the first time around. It was worth it – the inside of the church is as huge as the outside and stained glass is always cool. The stairs to the top were closed for renovation, which was a bummer.
Switching gears, we hopped back on the metro bound for the birthplace of the Bloody Mary, Harry’s New York Bar. What a weird story – one of the first modern cocktail bars in France, started by an American 1911, with a bar that was physically shipped from New York. The Bloody Mary was clean, simple, and expensive. Thirteen Euros a piece expensive.
The bar was decorated with a banner from every US college I could think of – we found both of our Alma Mater’s with many other small, unexpected schools represented. They had an awesome selection of very old scotch and whiskey, available at a huge premium. After 3 weeks of spending money for everything, we resisted temptation.
We left the bar “happy” and returned to Montparnasse for a bite to eat at one of the famous cafes. The weather had cleared up a bit and we soaked in our last Parisian outdoor lunch. We then retired to our hotel for a quick nap. We at dinner at a great place is the 15th arrondissement but the name escapes me at this point, 7 months after the fact.
After the long day of walking, Bloody Marys, crisp Chardonnay, and the thought that we had to be on the Metro towards the airport at 6am the next morning, we retired for our last evening in Paris and the amazing country of France. Both Jen and I returned home with a sense of accomplishment in planning and executing a trip of this magnitude with such few mishaps, the inspiration to commit to one international trip per year, and a humbling sense of our tiny place in this big world.
Check out our 3 Weeks in France page for a full summary of our trip!