I let the kids sleep in a bit the next day, but before too many daylight hours past, we headed towards Notre Dame Cathedral. Once again, it was raining, but we found a flower and bird market I had read about and it was really something. You could hear the chirping as you climb out of the metro station. Bunnies and a few rodents were for sale, too. Notre Dame is magnificent but the line to enter was way out of our league so we continued on my plan to find the best ice cream in Paris- Berthillon. Youngest Child had the most flavorful fraise ice cream I have ever tasted while Middle Child had citron vert, Oldest Child had noisette and I indulged in Earl Grey. We wandered miles that day, as the sun came out and with ice cream in hand, it was easy to let time slip away.
We had been so busy with other activities, we had not even seen our neighborhood. Our apartment was close to the Marais, a hip area with cool shops and restaurants. That evening, we set off in search of a falafel joint I had read about. I know, falafels in Paris. Well, it's true that Paris is very expensive and when feeding four of us, bistro fare is not always possible. C'est la vie. We wandered through charming neighborhoods with parks and cafes and restaurants, cool shops and pretty buildings. Brick lined streets took us to the Jewish district which was full of life and activity on a Sunday evening. And there was our falafel place. A line of about 50 people were waiting to place their order and take it from the emporter window. Yes, they were absolutely delicious with their crispy chick pea fritters, shredded cabbage, hummus, cucumbers and eggplant stuffed into a pita.
The next day we got an early start for Versailles, but not early enough. By 9:30, there were thousands of people in line, colorful umbrellas forming a ribbon to the entrance. Yes, it was raining again. No matter, time went quickly as we were surrounded by English speakers and we were starved for conversation. Once inside though, we found the crowds close to unbearable, so rushed through the first half dozen rooms, just to get away from the pushing and elbowing. Finally able to relax, we marveled at the opulence of the French monarchy in the time of Louis XIV for a century or so. After hearing plenty of stories about Marie Antoinette and King Louis, the kids were happy to see the crazy lifestyle of these famous people of history. The rains made our venture through the gardens fast but once again, the grand scale of Versailles is perfectly evident.
We made it to the top of the Arc de Triumphe, walked along the Champs d'Elysees, through the Tuileries gardens then over to the Pompidou Center which is the modern art museum of Paris. For a splurge, I took the kids to a brasserie for a fine dining experience French style. We had a wonderful meal with impeccable service, exactly what I was hoping to show the kids. Yes, it was a very busy 5 days, we covered alot of ground and we adore Paris.
Part 3 will cover our Normandy excursion. Stay tuned.
|Hall of Mirrors, Versailles|
|Arc de Triumphe|
|Shopping on the Champs d'Elysees-yes, it is real.|
|Locks of love.|
|We know how to use the metro!|
|Symphony for metro commuters.|
|Sunday bird market|
|A whole street of birds|
|One of the oldest Paris metro signs|
|This is the falafel place.|