Day 4: Palais Garnier, Rue St. Honore, and the Palais Royale

So our Tuesday adventure in Paris had begun early with pastries for breakfast and the Bastille – and to be honest, I am having a little trouble writing about the rest of that morning.  It was perfectly pleasant, although probably my least favorite segment of our vacation; I think this is because we started out with a plan that John had formed, but which I hadn’t really absorbed.  Not knowing really where we were going, what we would see, or what our goal was didn’t work quite so well for me.  That’s just not my style of travel.  We did end up having a good morning, though, after a little wandering around and me eventually asking what exactly we were trying to do.

We’d arrived at the Opera (or more specifically, the Palais Garnier, which is now where the Paris Opera Ballet performs) bright and early – too early to go inside, and too early to visit any of the surrounding shops while we waited.  We instead walked around the perimeter, although I didn’t actually burst into embarrassing song, and John did not actually have to take recourse in ignoring me or elbowing me in the ribcage.  The outside of course is very beautiful – I’ve said that again and again in these posts, but so many buildings in Paris genuinely are.

Unfortunately, I don’t feel like I got any photos that really do it justice.  Even this one that I’ve posted before, of the front entrance, has a large shadow cutting across the face, since the sun was so low in the sky…

Here’s the east side, with a bookstore and a restaurant and a nice sidewalk cafe:

After circumnavigating the building, we decided to keep moving – the morning air was quite chilly.  I would very much have enjoyed going inside, but it’s good to keep some activities in reserve for next time!  Instead, we headed south to the Place Vendome, which has a lot of fancy shops and a nice statue on a pillar in the center, commemorating Napoleon’s battle at Austerlitz.

(The building in the background houses the Ritz; I told John I think we should stay there next time we go to Paris.)

We then turned east onto the Rue St. Honore, which was a street that I was very excited to walk along, having read about it in many books – it is a very old street, in the heart of the city – although it looks nothing at all like I imagined; it’s mostly lined with more fancy shops.

The window-shopping was excellent.

There’s a terrible glare off the window, here, but the outfit was cute – leather shorts with perforated detailing, with a long-sleeved t-shirt, a cabled sweater, and a scarf.  I think I’d pick a different scarf, but I liked the general look.

Somewhere along the way, we passed this nice fountain – I really have no idea where it was, specifically – but it was pretty.

We eventually reached the Palais Royale, where we peeked in some more shop windows, and strolled through the gardens, admiring the fountains and flowers and watching the people (and dogs) mingle.  This was one of my favorite parts of the morning.

A man walked around inside an enclosure, feeding the birds; this end of the garden was filled with the constant thrum of cooing pigeons.

As we reached the northern end of the garden, I took the requisite self-portrait:

… and we continued on our way toward La Madeleine.  Tomorrow: more shop windows and a picnic lunch!

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