We enjoy being together as a family. We have fun together. I like being with my kids, as unlikely as that may seem according to popular TV. However, I recognize that continuing to enjoy being together requires a certain amount of upkeep and maintenance. So, in recognition of this, a solemn promise was made to the girls Sunday Night, that they would not be awakened on Monday, or expected to be out of bed before 11am. This was a very popular idea.
Now, that didn’t mean that I stayed in bed. My eyes popped open, and my thought was that I was in Paris, and if they thought I was going to sit around in an apartment for the next 5-6 hours, they were deeply wrong.
So – I grabbed my camera and headed out the door. Paris is still very much asleep at 7:30-8am. I’m sure there are people who are already at work, people driving to work, etc. But on the side streets and in the neighborhoods, it’s quiet. None of the shops are open, there is no smell of chocolat crepes drifting around. Just a few boulangerie with a people popping in for their morning pastry and cafe.
I walked up Rue St. Andre des Arts, where our apartment was located, to Place St. Michel, and then down to the walkway beside the Seine. You can’t see any cars or hear much street traffic from down there, only watch the passing jogger or dog walker. It’s such a contrast though. You can get some beautiful views of the buildings that line the river, the peaceful sound of the water flowing by… and the occasional overwhelming stench of urine. That didn’t happen often, but in a couple of places it really was overwhelming. That part was never mentioned in the guide books.
After walking down a ways, onto Ile de la cite, crossing Pont Neuf (New Bridge which is now, ironically, the oldest bridge crossing the Seine), continuing to the Louvre. Then I cross back to the southern side of the Seine, and just wandered south. At one point, I was oddly happy to realize I had no idea where I was. I mean, I knew I couldn’t be more than 30 minutes walk from our apartment, and I knew the rough direction of the Seine, but besides that, no idea.
After weaving a bit further, I found myself on Blvd. Saint Germain in need of water, and stumbled onto the Parisian version of Target: Monoprix. What a useful store! I got a bottle of water, a pair of sunglasses, and then found the prepared foods section – that looked wonderful. After a moments consideration, I picked up a few Quiche Lorraine, Spanikopita, and something else that I don’t even remember what it was. I texted Scott that I was going to bring some food back for lunch.
After lunch, I asked what everyone wanted to do. We had no set plan for the day at all, nor did we for the next. Scott wanted to walk back to the Louvre and just explore the courtyard, and the girls wanted a chocolat crepe. So off we went. We took some silly family photos by the big pyramid in the courtyard – including getting an awesome photobomb: the behind of some guy looking for change in the fountain. Then we strolled through Jardin les Tuileries, to the edge of Place de Concorde where we had had some truly yummy crepes on our walking tour. We took the crepes back into the Tuileries, found some chairs, and sat and ate while we watched the pigeons, giving them nicknames like “Fat Albert” and “Toe-less Joe.” It was relaxing and silly, and a great way to spend an afternoon.
In the evening, we found a wonderful Italian restaurant right near Pont Neuf. The waiter seemed to actually enjoy talking to us, and when he brought wine, and Scott replied with “Grazie!”, we got an enthusiastic “Pronto! Pronto!” It was a little culturally mixed up, but fun. The waiter even noticed our girls sketching at the table, and brought over a book he had with some drawings from his daughter. Then asked out girls to sketch something for her – so they wrote her a note is his book, and sketched pictures for her.
We were in no hurry to leave since rain had begun to fall, and we had nowhere to be!