Another delay in updating happenings. Better late than never, right?
The past holiday weekend we bused it on over to Paris to take in the sights and enjoy a bit of sun for a change. It was our first (of many, hopefully) visits to the continent. To sum up our whorl wind tour see list below. Consider this a narrative for the massive collection of Paris pictures we now have on Flickr.*Note, photos appear in reverse order, last day 1st*
Day 1- England to Paris
4:30 left house in Newmarket to drive to bus stop on base for the 5am pick-up. Three hours after boarding the bus, we made it to the white cliffs of Dover to catch the ferry across the English Channel. Olive loved being aboard and wanted to stay on deck the entire hour and a half journey despite the wind. Once to Calais, France it was another 4ish hours to Pairs with the "detour" and traffic. Scenery could have been anywhere in farming middle America, except for the large wind turbines littering the landscape.
We were determined to see a little of Paris that night before total melt down for bed time (all of us, not just Olive) The Metro took us to city center where we walked about shops and had a quick dinner of crepes and creme fresh. Scored a chocolate croissant, chocolate eclair, bread and very, very, ripe Bree for later (smelled worse than Josh's feet according to Olive). And we found a little park where O could play right outside St Eustache before we headed back to our hotel.
That morning started with a nice Parisian breakfast. I believe Josh and Olive ate a great number of croissants each day, fortified with a little jam, chocolate, and/or pat of butter.
We got a little muddled up coming out of the Metro and ended up back at St. Eustache again while trying to make it to Notre Dame. So, we lit a candle for the grandmas, took a moment and headed towards the Île de la Cité. By the time we arrived the que was already too long to happily wait to go up the bell tower, so we just went inside with the masses to view it's grandeur. Olive lit another candle for the grandmas (see a trend?) And we had a lovely little picnic lunch of grilled baguettes in the gardens behind the cathedral. There we lucked into pay toilets, a swing, and a very awesome large tilted spinning disk to play on.
As we left, we took in a little live music on the bridge where Olive happily danced until I took out the camera and she gave me the stink eye. She even got her papa up for a spell to dance around with her once I put the camera away. Early on, we decided we wanted to get O a French version of "Goodnight Moon" since we read it every single day... a little variety would be nice. We looked at the book venders along the Seine. Closest was 1950's TinTin's of questionable PC content. We did manage to find an English bookstore, Shakespear & Co, where we settled on The Little Prince instead. As we walked we saw the Place Saint-Michel, snapped a photo, and continued on. From there we took the Batobus, aka water bus, down the Seine to the Eiffel Tower. Along the way, there were many a sun bather, mostly men, enjoying the lovely weather of the day. Josh swears he saw naked old man ass. I told him they were wearing thongs. I didn't feel the need to further prove my point. Josh took a picture to prove his. You can zoom in on the flickr picture if you like. Either way, I don't need to see overly tan old man ass, do you?
By that point in the afternoon it was HOT, comparatively, to any weather we've experienced here in England for the past month. Olive didn't nap, we were hungry, tired, need of a toilet, and a little snappy. We hopped off the boat to pay an exorbitant amount for cool drinks in the Tuileries. Olive decided it was time to cheer us up by doing her "statue" poses for EVERY statue she came across. She even waited till other people moved away from their studies to do so. And, had one of the bigger fits when we dragged her away from the dozen more off the lawn. Thwarted by closed public toilets we got back on the boat to arrive at the Eiffel Tower.
There we did the walk up, under, and through to the other side. Olive had more interest seeing it from the boat, and there were hundreds of people waiting in lines. Found a public toilet (woohoo) and went to the park for Olive to dig in the sand and slide with the other kids. She nearly took out a little French boy with a stick. Time to go.
We walked most of the way back to St. Germaine's square for dinner (hitched the boat while O took a quick snooze in the ergo). We settled on a restaurant with a decent looking menu. The food was okay. View, O love waving at the golden yellow cats in the Japanese restaurant across the way. There she ate escargot, and liked it. Josh had to share his little chewy garlic treat. Me, no thanks, too much science knowledge gives too many visions of what you really are eating for my comfort. I've been back to meat now for 3 years. The thought of muscle is enough for me- all the other bits. Ick.
If we hadn't done enough. We went out after dinner looking to buy a bottle of wine. Did. But also went past Centre Pompidou. Olive love the fountain and the building. It might have helped that it was the first time she's been "out" at night in city full of music, lights, and action. It was after 10 when we arrived back at the hotel from our long Metro ride.
Similar breakfast as the day before and we were off to the Louvre. Took the Metro in, hopped in line, and was in a fair amount of time. 1st Sundays of the month are FREE in most art museums in Paris (it was worth researching b/4 going :) Olive stayed in the Ergo except for some breaks in Greek statues, foundations, and Nepolian's apartment. Lots of stairs were climbed. I feel like I need to be on the Ergo CD with all the other nut jobs swearing how wonderful this baby product is. I honestly believe it! It was a quick glance tour, but got in the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, Aphrodite, some Da Vinci, and others which I can't remember. I was talking 3 year old art- Do you see the angel? Where's the dog? What color is....?
Afterward we grabbed a meal at an outdoor cafe in the Tuileries. Olive was quiet enamered with the ice cream menu and looked at maps with us while we waited for our sandwiches. Our next destination was to Montmartre. Back on the metro, and so very, very, very, very many winding stairs later (if you've been there, you know, don't you?) we were above ground. We quickly went to the Church of St. Peter and headed up the hill. With stairs. Up up up.
We were greeted in the square where all the portrait artist are by a busker with a music box. Olive tipped her a euro and she got an orange candy. She was over the moon. At Sacre-Coeur, we quietly took our tour amongst the throng of worshipers. Olive lit yet another candle for the grandmas and headed out. Down the stairs we went listening to various street performers along the way. Enjoyed the accordions much more than the American rock ballads, but I wasn't the one trying to make the money. Got ourselves a much anticipated Crème glacée where Olive opted out of the spoon and licked it from the cup. Many a folk had to comment on the cuteness of our child at this time as we sat on the curb with our iced treat.
Many more stairs and hills we found ourselves at another playground. This time Olive played with the kids making a dog pile on the slide, and made a little bratty girl cry by standing her ground that she was indeed waiting in line for the see-saw. We managed to pass the Cafe where Amelie was film, the Moulin Rouge along a porn riddled street of NYC past, bought Absenthe (and yet to try it), and Olive took a nap on a bench in the middle of town due to all the carrying she had been subjected to all day.
We enjoyed dinner in an open air resturant watching the tourists walk by and street artist strum up buisness for portraits. Waiting for our food, Olive and I sat on the curb blowing bubbles at them. Other kids stopped to play and pop the bubbles, a dog chased them, adults smiled (mostly), an older artist kept coming by telling her how beautiful she was and how she was making magic in French, the waiter was stealing turns and blowing bubbles at her, and the smokers who sat near us left after being pumped with them. All benefits in my book. Big belly laughs from O. Somehow I hope she remembers that one on her own with out us having to tell her about it later in life. Meal itself? Yet to be impressed by French cooking. Sweets, yes, yes I am impressed, all others, so so.
Our time being almost up, we took the Metro back to city center to see the Eiffel Tower alight. We waited on the Pont Alexandre III bridge (the one w/gold horse statues). O continuing with the bubbles was trying to blow them over the water to the tower to no avail. Had yet another eclair and waited till 9pm. O was wowed. I said the lights looked like ants running up and down the tower and Olive quickly corrected me and said they were Elephants. Ants would be to small. Silly me. To that we said "au revoir" and started making our way back home.