European Adventure 2011 - Day Three: Paris Continued

Posted by Amy O. , Tuesday, May 10, 2011 12:45 PM

We were super American this day - that is, we packed in as many sights of Paris into 15 hours that we possibly could.  We first took the Metro to the neighborhood of Notre Dame and hunted down some breakfast.  We found the most delightful little patisserie and I successfully ordered in French - un pain au chocolat, un croissant, un café et un café au lait - oh la la!  I still got it :-).

 SO AMAZING.  Cruel, I know.  Your mouth is watering, isn't it?

Although I could've died happy after breakfast, we then we made our way over to the magnificent Cathédrale de Notre Dame.

The spectacular rose windows - they take my breath away!

I love this shot that Patrick got of the front rose window with the organ pipes!

I confess, one of my favorite parts of our tour of the interior were the three groups of French school children that were on a field trip.  They were wearing neon vests (each group had a color) and they were all taking (what I'm sure will be terrible) photos every 3 feet of whatever they were looking at.  So precious!  And so lucky!  I can't remember any school field trip quite like that.

Just outside, these very brave girls were letting the birds land on their hands and arms!

Then we walked around to the back.  Can you guess who took these?  These roses were gorgeous!!

I was so wanting to show Patrick the amazing view from the towers, but we waited in the line for almost an hour and barely moved - and we had a lunch date!  So we decided to make our way over towards the Metro and see a few more things instead of just sitting there waiting to go up.

On our walk, we stumbled upon the Holocaust memorial, honoring French who risked and/or gave their lives to save Jews during WWII.

We got all turned around trying to find Victor Hugo's house and when we finally found it, it was just a plaque on a building - but now we were running late.  We made our way to the Metro again to make our lunch date...but unbeknownst to us, that Metro station was closed down!  So we had to walk all the way back to the previous one.  Once we got there, we were good, but late.  We got on and were riding peacefully to our destination when a lady from the car in front of us hurried back towards us, loudly proclaiming  (in French) that someone had just gotten off and left two bags abandoned in the center of the train car.  She was visibly rattled and told everyone who would listen about the bags and that she was afraid.

I confess, after recent political events, I was a little bit on edge about any sort of retaliation that might occur and not willing to take a chance.  After an eternal minute or two, the train reached the next station and there was a mass exodus from the train, though a few brave (or clueless?) souls stayed behind.  It was not our stop, but we got off, too.  As we waited for the next train, we didn't hear any I assume it was nothing more than a forgetful passenger...but, boy, were they going to be irritated when they realized they had to track down their bags!

It wasn't long 'til the next train but now we were even more late!  Finally we arrived at the apartment of Heidi & Dave Onken - over an hour late!  But they were gracious and lovely all the same.  Heidi and I met in Toulouse in a French class, my last year in France, and her first with a team of 10 other Americans who'd come over to work with Agapé France.  This was the first time I met her husband of 2 1/2 years, and the first time for Patrick to meet both of them.  Heidi made a wonderful meal for us and we were so blessed by their stories & their beautiful spirits.  (But I very much regret that I was so taken up in the conversation that I didn't think to take any pictures together!)

After lunch, we hopped aboard the Metro again for the Arc de Triomphe.  I had consoled myself about not going up the towers of Notre Dame with the fact that we could still get the view from the top of the Arc.  I regret to inform you that we also did not get to do that.  You see, there was a ceremony taking place that evening and so it was all roped off, and a tribute was being set up at the tomb of the unknown soldier.  (We later learned it was the day Germany invaded France in the Battle of France in WWII, and would've been less annoyed if we knew that then.)  We waited a long time while I mustered enough bravery to ask people what was going on (but remember the rule about people who are paid to be helpful?).  I got only enough info to know that we could not go up. It was disappointing because it's one of my favorite views of Paris.

But we were in Paris.  So we got over it. :-)

So we strolled down the Champs Elysees into the Tuileries (which was strangely lacking flowers) until we reached the Louvre...

 The red shoes are proving their worth :-).

This next one I find very amusing!

I love this view!!!!!!

Unfortunately, nowhere near enough time to go into the Louvre.  But, of course, we must save some things for the next trip ;-).  

After this we returned to our hotel and found a wonderful (had to be) French restaurant called Le 14 Juilliet.  It sounded lovely from the website, but when we got there it was tiny and crowded and noisy and we were seated at the only remaining table, practically in the laps of another couple.  There were no menus to be found, only a chalkboard with the dishes available (and not all the ones from the website) in an impossible-to-read cursive.  I was about to leave, when the very animated French waiter saved the day.  He didn't care that I looked terrified.  He didn't care that my French was tired.  He didn't care that I couldn't make sense of his chalkboard menu. He wanted us to be there and, in his jolly fashion, he was determined to make it fun!  And it ended up being so great.  Totally fun ambiance.  Absolutely delicious food:  chèvre chaud croustillant starter, steak & frites, and pork curry...and (you're drooling, I know) crème brulée and tiramisu for dessert.  I am so very glad that we stayed!

1 Response to "European Adventure 2011 - Day Three: Paris Continued"

Pierrick Says:

Start with food, finish with food. Real french day it seems...

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