Sunday morning started with a couple of pains au chocolat early enough to beat the crowds at the Eiffel Tower. Despite our best efforts, we were greeted with what seemed like miles-long lines snaking their way in every direction. We thought we could get past this by taking the stairs, but we quickly realized that line was just as long. Not wanting to spend too much time worrying about it, we decided that this gave us a pretty good excuse to come back to Paris sometime soon in the future—and this time book tickets in advance!
We took the short walk to pier 3 on the docks by the river bank to embark on an hour-long Seine river cruise, which presented an interesting perspective from which to see the city. The boat made a U-turn around Île de la Cité, offering some great views of Notre-Dame. Upon returning to the pier, we made our way to the Trocadéro for some unparalleled views of the tower before hopping on a bus toward the Arc de Triomphe. We enjoyed some more great views from the top before continuing on.
Montmartre’s hilly, cobblestoned streets were calling our name at this point. After getting dropped off from the bus on the backside of the hill, we labored our way toward the highest point of Paris. Before getting to the top, we enjoyed lunch (including the best crème brûlée of Rico’s life) at La Maison Rose and explored some of the picturesque back streets (including noteworthy rue de l'Abreuvoir and Villa Léandre).
Taking in Sacré-Cœur on Easter injected a bit more meaning into the visit, and we took full advantage by sitting in the pews and reflecting for a while. Though there were hoards of people constantly flowing in and out, there was a striking silence in the basilica—a welcoming respite from the roar of the city outside. After finishing, we caught the Petit Train of Montmartre down to the bottom of the hill where we snagged a bus, grabbed a light dinner, and got back to our apartment.
Our last day started with a visit to Notre-Dame. After walking through the inside of the cathedral, we waiting patiently in line to climb up to the top of the towers. It was worth the wait to get a closer look at the beautiful architecture and some more views of the city on a clear, sunny day. We even got a surprise as the bells [very loudly] rang for a moment while we were up there! Back on ground, we crossed over to the left bank and into the Latin Quarter to check out a couple of bookshops (Shakespeare & Company and Abbey Bookshop).
For lunch on such a beautiful day we found our way to the Canal Saint-Martin. We had some issues finding a cafe open on Easter Monday, but we eventually happened upon one and after grabbing a quick bite to eat, we strolled along the canal toward Parc des Buttes Chaumont. The park was a highlight of our visit, offering a small lake, plenty of green space, a multitude of paths winding their way up to higher ground, and even a bridge from which to appreciate it all!
With our time in Paris running out, we got back to our apartment and enjoyed one last batch of crêpes before packing up and heading to Gare du Nord for the train back to London.