We began our first full day in Paris with a short ride on the 38 bus up to Luxembourg Gardens. Here’s a photo of the bus as it’s stopping right in front of our hotel.

38 bus in front of hotel
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After picking up a sandwich we headed over to the park for a relaxing lunch. Large, formal parks and gardens are special places, and this was no exception. With a broad grassy area, statues, flowers, and filled with people enjoying an oasis of green in the city, Jardin du Luxembourg (Luxembourg Gardens) is a delight.

Luxembourg Gardens
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Here’s an interesting doorway on the way back from the park. If you look closely, you can see an elephant above the lions.

Paris doorway
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When I picked up the SIM for my phone yesterday, the shop couldn’t add any minutes beyond the few that came with the chip. Well, those were used up on the first call, so after lunch I went in search of more minutes, which I was told I could purchase at a tabac (tobacco and more) shop.

Indeed, the shop closest to our hotel did sell additional minutes. The seller couldn’t speak English, but we were able to initiate the transaction via my pointing at the phone and saying “SIM.” He showed me some cards representing various values, and when I had selected and paid for one, he gave me a receipt with the numbers required to add the minutes to my phone.

Ok, I’ve done this in the UK before, let’s call the number. Hah! I recognized nothing that was said and so brought the phone to the front desk where the very kind staff activated my new minutes.

Later in the afternoon we headed over to the Musée de l’Orangerie, home of some very large paintings by Monet. We took the 38 up to Rue Rivoli where we caught the 72 down to the museum. This route took us past the area we stayed in during our last trip, which was kind of neat. And speaking of last time, while it was convenient to be near the Louvre, we like where we’re staying this time much better. It’s on a broad, tree-lined boulevard, mostly residential, with plenty of restaurants and shops near by.

Photos from the Musée de l’Orangerie will be the subject of a separate post, and I’ll link to it when ready.

We took the 72 back down to where it met with the 38, and then went one stop further, where we walked across the Seine. From there we hit the flower and garden district (exotic birds for sale on Sunday); there were lots of plants we’d love to take home! A couple are shown below.

Paris flowers

Paris flowers
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We continued our walk back towards the 38 bus stop, and took a few photos of Sainte Chapelle as we walked by. It looked very dramatic with the dark clouds as a background. We’ll go inside on a sunny day to better enjoy the massive wall of stained glass it’s famous for.

As we were walking, there was small crack of thunder, and we hurried to the bus; moments later a torrential downpour, complete with thunder, began and lasted for about 1/2 hour. We met someone in the elevator at our hotel who had been caught walking when the rain came up; they got completely drenched!

Sainte Chapelle
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We ended the day by doing some practice night shots of our hotel and the neighborhood. If all goes as planned we’ll head out one evening to try and get some night photos of some Parisian highlights.

our Paris hotel
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There are more photos from Paris, Day 2, on flickr.