Email from June 27:
We traveled today by bike. Paris has a very elaborate bike sharing program with bikes all over the place. The first 30 minutes is free for each trip and then 1 Euro for the next 30 minutes of the same trip, so it ends up being cheaper than the metro and much more enjoyable. The bike lanes are shared with busses, so it does make for some tight spots sometimes. Also, the Parisians like to honk at everything. It wasn't us, but it does get very nervewracking hearing the honking so much right next to you on the road. But we did survive. Tom says it's not really any different than riding a bike through Phnom Penh, so he's more accustomed to this type of thing.
We rode to Notre Dame this morning and walked through. There was a choir practice happening, so we sat down and listened for a bit. It was nice hearing the choir and organ in the cathedral, but we were a bit taken aback when they started singing Mack Wilberg's arrangement of For the Beauty of the Earth in English! (the queue to go up the towers was ridiculous, so we passed on that).
Then we grabbed a quick brunch as we walked. Tom got a brie, tomato, cucumber sandwich on a baguette and I got a croque-monsieur. As we ate, we walked over to Saint Chappell. They had just cleaned nearly half of the windows last year by removing them pane by pane. So they looked absolutely beautiful and radiant. It's such a tiny church, but so colorful!
We wanted to get right over to the Louvre to make sure we had sufficient time, so we walked over there right after Saint Chappell, but the Euro 2016 crowds are really starting to get in our way! The line just to get in was over 2 hours long. The line for e-tickets was non-existent, so Tom and I had the brilliant idea of riding back to the hotel and printing off e-tickets. The whole process of doing so took just an hour and we got to ride all over the city on bikes while the losers all waited in line!
The Louvre is exhausting. We spent nearly 3 hours walking around the Louvre. We saw everything we wanted to see (both Vermeers were there this time!) and then couldn't walk another foot! We ate at a little café about a block away (that was clearly for tourists, but the food was alright and it was close so we could stop walking when it started to rain). Then, we rode over to a patisserie that was well-reviewed and took home 4 things. They got a bit jumbled on the ride home, but we ate them all while we watched Italy beat Spain on TV in our room. As it's raining on and off today and our feet are shot, we're staying in and will probably watch the England/Iceland game.