And then there was Paris…

Last weekend I met my family in Cinque Terre but the weekend before that, I went to Paris. Since I am a bit behind on the blog and not feeling particularly motivated to spend time on it with only two weeks left in Italy, I’m resorting to a disappointing but sort of detailed list of bullet points.

(Written 5/4/09, 11:06)

Paris left me feeling slightly unfulfilled. It’s not because I spent any less time there than any other place or did less things. It’s not that I didn’t love the elegant cream and grey buildings and I was certainly charmed by the quaint streets and amazing food. I think it was just that Paris was huge and even if I had been more forceful about the things I wanted to do, it would have take a lot of focus and a lot of money and maybe we still couldn’t have done it all. So next time I’m in Paris I’ll walk through Montmartre, I’ll go in the Louvre, and I’ll ogle the Moulin Rouge. Next time I’ll eat a quiche and a baguette from a vendor, not at the airport. Next time maybe I’ll make a little picnic near the Eiffel Tower and take more pictures of ivy covered buildings and people sipping espresso at cafes.

However, despite my long to do list, we got to do a lot in the last two days and here it all is:

Friday

– Met Dan and waited for Jess in the airport. Lovely reunion.
– RER train to hotel, man playing violin on the train, hotel was cruise ship-esque in decor and along a very busy highway.

– Ambled indirectly (passing the oddly inside-out Pompidou Center) to the Jewish Quarter for “The best falafel in the world.” Very very delicious. I even liked the eggplant.
– Walked to get grandma-recommended ice cream on Île Saint-Louis. Saw some musicians on the bridge back to the mainland playing “A Train.” Ate ice cream and sang along.

– Walked through Notre Dame during a service (Eucharist and stuff) and then climbed up the tower to see the neat gargoyles and the big bell and a pretty but foggy view of Paris. Saw Eiffel Tower indistinctly through the haze.

– Strolled past the Sorbonne (lots of policemen- teacher’s strike) to Jardin du Luxembourg, called a “mini Versailles” by Dan. Sat by the pond watching ducks and flowers while waiting for my friend Fanny who I went to OCHSA with (in Unplugged together) and who was a friend of Nici Held before even I met her. She has been in Lyon since Junior year of high school and has been studying in Paris for the last 5 months. It was amazing and strange to see her. Conversation was easy. She is the one who noted that I talk about “someday” a lot.
– Walked with Fanny and her sister Magali to the Pantheon. “Some famous people are buried there,” Magali informed us. Fanny offers to “Sic Sarkozy on someone’s ass” for me.

– Took metro over to Tracadero to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night. Dan naps on a bench and we are harassed by people selling “Bling Bling Eiffel Towers” and 5 keychains for 1 euro. Eiffel Tower sparkles. Ooh. Ahh.

– Walk a long and exhausting route to Bistro Paul Bert, a favorite of food-blogger Orangette. Very French and very good with big chalkboard menus propped on a chair, one per table. I had a typical French egg dish with morelles, tried J’s fois gras salad, and ordered scallops in the shell (a first) and lighter than air mashed potatoes. Was blown away by the magnificent desserts; Chocolate Basil souffle, Tarte tartin, and a smelly smelly cheese tray.
– Home by 2am.

Saturday
– Woke up late.

– Admired the Arch du Triomph.
– Strolled down ChampsÉlysées
– Lunch in a sailor themed cafe; Croque Madame (delicious) and “French” onion soup. Yes, I really called it that when I ordered, as if they had any other kind.

– Walked past both Grand and Petit Palais and an Obelisk, through the Jardin Tuliers to the Louvre. Didn’t go in the Louvre but looked at the nifty pyramid and took some pictures.
– Crossed the Seine to the Musee d’Orsay. Lots of Monets, Van Goghs, really really beautiful paintings and pictures are allowed!

– Walked with aching feet to St. Germain (Latin Quarter). Dan rested on a bench while J and I hunted down Laduree macarons. Ate macarons in a little park. Deliciously delicious and so many flavors. I get pooped on by a pigeon at some point but don’t notice it yet, thus it smears on my bag and the sweatshirt J let me borrow. Gross.
– Wander through the area sampling food from street vendors (hot dog in a baguette, nutella banana crepe) and looking for a diner venue. Settle on a fondue restaurant. Dan gets Beef Bourgignon.

– Night falls and we climb up to the second level of the glowing Eiffel Tower. Climb is not so bad, even after Notre Dame the previous day. At least the steps are nice wide metal ones with handy painted counters, not ancient spiraling stones. Unfortunately the top level closes before we can get to it, but still lots of nice views and not very many nice pictures.

– Get banana nutella crepes from the cart across the street and sit on a ledge along the Seine eating said crepes and looking at the Tower. A lovely and magical moment.
– Get home at a slightly (but not much) more reasonable hour than the previous night.

Sunday
– I get lost on the way to the airport and have a mini breakdown after almost boarding a bus to Orly even though I wanted to go to Charles DeGaul. Helpful man at the Metro station lets me back in the gate with a helpful saving me about 8 euro for the train ride and another large sum for if I would have missed my flight.
– Turns out flight is delayed so I eat a baguette and cheese in the airport and fly back to Perugia.

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