I checked three “must-do’s” off my Paris list today. I had my hair cut. I went to my favorite museum. I had the best hot chocolate in the world!
Here’s a direct quote from an email I received from my future landlady in Ireland earlier this week: “But the best thing to do in Paris when your legs get tired is to go for a haircut. French hairdressers are geniuses!” I’ve always told everyone I could about how good the hairdressers in France are. It’s not just in Paris. In France some young people learn their trade by being apprenticed to an experienced person from around 16 years of age. They learn by doing and they learn from a master. Hairdressers are trained this way.
The second thing on my list was going to the Museum of the Middle Ages (Musée de Moyen Ages). This small museum is located in a 500-year-old abbey which in turn was built over a Roman bath. It is filled with beautiful religious sculptures, stained glass windows that are sometimes as much as 700 years old, and ancient objects made of gold. It is also the home of the famous “Lady and the Unicorn” tapestries. Here are some things I saw today.
Then I walked down the Boulevard St. Germain des Pres in pursuit of hot chocolate I remember having 12 years ago.
The last part of that name – “des Pres” – means in the field, or outside the walls. This church celebrated its 1000th anniversary in 2014. When it was built most Parisians lived on the islands in the river Seine where Notre Dame cathedral is now. This abbey was quite far out of town. In truth, it’s not much more than a mile from the cathedral but there was very little between the village that was Paris and the abbey.
Today the Boulevard St. Germain des Pres is one of the busiest shopping/restaurant/hotel streets in Paris. It’s in the “Left Bank” which means south side of the Seine. It runs parallel to the Seine for a few miles. Among its most famous tourist destinations is a pair of old cafés called Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore. It was in the Flore that I had a cup of the fabulous hot chocolate I remembered. Chocolate so thick and sweet you think the spoon will stand on its own in the cup. It was just as good as I remembered!