Paris: Sainte Chapelle to the Louvre (EuroTrip Day 5)

Continuing on our adventures during our 12 hour day trip to Paris from Brussels, we ventured from Notre Dame to the famous Sainte Chapelle Chapel. This was something that I had completely missed on my trip back in 2009 with my sister and seeing pictures recently made me regret it instantly. It’s a famous landmark, so not sure how we knew nothing about this back then. I had read about lines being incredibly long to get in at certain times, so a visit here was a question mark for us this time around, but luckily when we walked in, there was absolutely no line.

Sainte Chapelle is a short walk away from Notre Dame at the other end of Ile de la Cite. It is located within the Justice Palace and you will have to go through metal detectors. I believe the security line is often why it can take awhile to get into the cathedral itself. The chapel was built in less than ten years with completion in 1248 under the orders of King Louis IX to house his relics. While the chapel was damaged in the French Revolution, it has the most extensive 13th century stained glass work in the world. Sainte Chapelle is made up of two chapels with the upper chapel being the portion everyone comes to see. The lower chapel was uninspiring for us and if you didn’t know about the impressive stained glass above, you would wonder what all the fuss was about. The lower chapel was designed for a place of worship for the people living within the palace.

The upper chapel’s stained glass windows are composed of 15 immense windows and is breath taking. The rose window faces west and sunset of course is the best time of day to see the full glory of the rose window. We were there on a sunny morning and I have absolutely no complaints about the lighting coming through the windows. The windows are so impressive that I think anytime of day would be worth going to admire them. It was fairly crowded in the upper chapel when we were there, but you are really only looking up towards the windows anyway, so it wasn’t claustrophobically crowded.

Sainte Chapelle

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Flashback: Delphi, Greece 2011

Continuing with my flashback series to our Greece September 2011 trip, we headed from Ancient Olympia to Delphi. Delphi was one of the biggest surprises of the trip for me and I really enjoyed our time spent at both the sight and the town itself. We had added Delphi as a stop after putting both Ancient Olympia and Meteora on our itinerary and Delphi made a good stop in between the other two must see sights for us. In the end, some of my favorite memories from the trip are from Delphi.

After arriving in town and checking into our hotel, it was nearly dinnertime and we had an excellent dinner at the restaurant recommended by our hotel. At dinner we were granted with a gorgeous sunset over the surrounding mountains.

View from restaurant

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Paris: Notre Dame (EuroTrip Day 5)

When we were researching how to spend our four days in Belgium and where to base ourselves, we stumbled across a chart showing time and distances for train trips from Brussels. When Brian realized we could make it to Paris in less than 90 minutes from Brussels, that won his vote on how to spend one day. I had visited Paris back in 2009 with my sister on our 3&1/2 week backpacking trip and had spent 3 days there. Paris hadn’t been my favorite spot on the trip, but a lot of that was due to how much money we had spent in London and we were trying to not completely spend all of our trips budget in the first week, hence we basically ate nothing while in town. We also hadn’t paid close enough attention to days of operation and thus completely messed up our itinerary when Versailles was closed on the day we had planned to visit and weren’t able to visit it. So therefore, I always had a return to Paris in mind at some point in the future, so I said okay to the day trip knowing we could always come back to another city in Belgium another time.

My one requirement for a day trip to Paris, visiting Notre Dame. It was my absolute favorite place my sister and I had visited while in Paris and I couldn’t go to Paris without visiting it. I now also have a third trip to Paris in mind, when I saw that on certain nights in the summer you can take an after hours tour of the Notre Dame towers.

We took an early morning train from Brussels to Paris Nord and took the RER to St. Michel then walked to the cathedral. It was a fairly quick transition and we arrived at Notre Dame less than thirty minutes after arriving at the train station. From the time we arrived, we had about an hour until the towers opened at 10am. There is a limited  number of people they allow up in the towers at any given time meaning the line can get very long for the Notre Dame Towers. I remember waiting for what seemed liked forever when I visited in 2009. Due to our limited time in Paris, I wanted to make sure we were able to go up to the towers shortly after the towers opened. Therefore we kept a pretty close watch on the side of the cathedral and as soon as we saw a couple people get in line around 9:30am, we made a beeline and got in line as well. Luckily while we were waiting to get in line for the towers, we were able to visit the interior of the church and grab breakfast from a nearby croissant and coffee place.

Notre Dame Cathedral

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Photos of the Multiple Days

With Internet and cell coverage so limited, here are the final few days pictures of the Day. We headed to Isabela Island on Thursday and had a really nice snorkel and then watched a nice sunset from the pier complete with sea lions. Friday we did the hike to the Sierra Negro volcano and had a delicious lunch at a nice farm. Saturday we left the islands but got to spend about 6 hours in Guayaquil during a layover. 

Photos from the past 3 days

Internet access has been limited for the past 3 days but finally can update. On Monday we spent the day snorkeling in the area around Kicker Rock. Yesterday visited the highlights of Santa Cruz area on Tortuga Bay and a giant tortoise farm. Today we did a day trip to Seymour Island. 

Photo of (yesterday) + today 

Putting up today’s early to wish everyone a Happy New Year! 

Spent yesterday enjoying Quito and ate good street ceviche. Then welcomed in the New Year with the widows and effigies.