Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fading Recollections from Paris....

Now that we are back in London, the memories of Paris are already starting to blur.... still....some memories linger.   For example, I remember that Day 2 started early.  Alex, having spent the evening throwing up everything in his stomach, woke up early (ie. 4:30am) and famished.  I kept telling him to go back to bed til something opened, but he was insistent.  I finally gave at at 6am, and went out with him looking for a bit to eat. It being July 14 (Bastille Day), I was a bit skeptical that we would have success. Still, off we went. The streets were not quite silent. Indeed, we walked past one of the nightclubs which was just closing down.  I had forgotten til that moment that the clubs close just when the metro starts running again in the morning.  So... we shared the streets with the nightclub crowd.  We were treated to an entertaining interaction between two women, both dressed to the nines, and both pretty inebriated.  They were in good form, and messing around.  The winner was the one who managed to pull the wig (a seriously "Tina Turner" edition!) off the other.  :-)  quite a sight......One of the boyfriends helped girl number 2 to reposition the thing, and then all wandered off in another direction, seemingly happy and content.

We continued on our own wanderings.  A few blocks further, and we finally found a boulangerie that was just opening. Yea! We picked up a baguette (a 'tradition') some pain raisin, pain au chocolat, and Alex asked for a piece of flan: his first one.  Yep... nothing better than a pain au chocolate on the balcony for breakfast.  To complete the picture, you do need to get the right sounds of Paris in your mind.  Well... the sounds in this case were of road construction taking place immediately beneath us!   A pretty good incentive to get out of the house for the day!  .

After that, we decided to take it a bit slower and headed off towards Montmartre.  We walked up Magenta, past the vendors selling roasted corn on the corners of the streets (which they were roasting over bins of open coals carried in shopping carts), and the seemingly thousands of hockers on the corners holding out bottles of channel perfume, or designer sunglasses (either 'hot' or knockoff) for sale. Then up the stairs to Sacre Couer, along with the other throngs of tourists out for the day. We walked into and through the cathedral. Steve showed the boys that you could buy a candle and light it for someone. Duncan said he wanted to light one for the red haired grandmother. the process of getting it lit did involve a bit of a burn, but nothing too catastrophic. alex got into the spirit of things too with his own candle, also involving a bit of a burn.

stairs or slide?
a hole in the shorts?!
Wandering around, we of course always ended up at stairs.  Here, Duncan noticed some kids who had figured out that the smoth stone on either side of the stairs could be used as a slide.  I put my parently protective instincts (which have always been rather minimal) to the side, and let Duncan try sliding down on his bum.  He loved it, and spent a goodly amount of time running up the stairs in order to slide down again.  After his 15th run down, he gave up the game.  But maybe you can see why?  :-)

We had lunch at Montmartre, at "Ma Mere Catherine" (given the choice, i like to eat in venues named after my siblings), and wandered home through the winding streets, taking a moment to pass by the Moulin Rouge (which is of course another of my favourite movies!).  Now... if it had been a different time or place, I would have tried to arrange for us to go to the midnight show of Harry Potter, but... age (or the early morning and lingering jet lag) was creeping up on me, and I was asleep by 7:30pm. 

the film about to begin...
Day 3 will be forever marked as  the day we saw the final Harry Potter film.  It shoulda been day as, as the boys and I have had a tradition of attending the midnight premieres.  But i was too tired!   Both boys were disappointed by that, but I figure there is still something impressive about seeing the last film in Paris.  In the morning, my ipad informed me that the closest cinama was Le Grand Rex.  We made it there in time to catch the 9:30am show, but then discovered that Le Grand Rex shows films ONLY in VF (dubbed).  oops.   The ipad neglected to explain this to me.  Dubbed into french was not going to work for Duncan (nor, I confess, for me... i wanted to hear the voices I love so much).  So instead, we worked our way to Forum des Halles, took some minutes to play on the giant head/hand sculpture, then headed off to the movie.  Sweet!  Here is us right before the film started, Steve wiped out from the 45 minute queue (in a stiffling hot line up).  :-)

investigating Duncan's feet
one rude parrot!
After yet another delicious cafe meal (yes, there was a whole lot of "cafe" going on!), we headed off in the direction of the Louvre.  Duncan was, at this point, insistent in his complaints that his feet hurt.  A bit of investigation revealed both a bad case of "turf toe" from runners that are now apparently too small (plus a rash between his toes).  Once again, we negotiated with a pharmacist for an appropriate salve, and then, rather than heading to the Louvre, headed for a store to get new shoes for Duncan.  :-)  That task out of the way, we decided to give the museum a rest, and instead wander past all the pet shops.  The parrots were the highlight (we think one of them told Duncan to "get lost"!)

Day 4 was dedicated to Montparnasse-Bienvenue, where steve used to live. We managed lunch at one of his old haunts, followed by crepes for dessert, then a wander down the streets, over to the Jardin du Luxombourgh. We spent a bit of time by the water, and then went over to the hear the band that was playing (they were doing primarily march music....though they did end with a lovely rendition of 'New York, New York". The wind was amazing, and at one point, blew the music off the stands of several of the musicians.

After the concert, we got up and headed out.  As we were leaving, a woman came running up to me, looking out of breath, to ask if "this" were my camera. It indeed was.  But it had apparently fallen out of Steve's pocket somewhere in the park.  She had turned it on, found the last picture (which had my red hair in it), and then had searched the park for a red headed woman.  One of those moments when I guess my hair was sufficiently distinctive (for while I am not the only person in Victoria with this colour of hair, I might well be the only one in Paris! hahaha)

We headed off to the Latin Quarter.... where we of course found another crepe stand:  the boys being of the view that Victoria is in desperate need of a good crepe stand. We headed off across the bridge, to steve's favorite icrecream shop. Again, the wind was amazing as we stood by the bridge, listening to the accordion player around the corner, while people ran in different directions, umbrellas being pulled backwards. We could see the rain coming in. or rather, we could tell rain was coming because of what we could NOT see coming in.  This time, we decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and headed to the metro for the return voyage home. Crowded like crazy, but still fun.

I am not really sure how to summarize a week in Paris... or what photo to attach.  I thought this one might help me remember the week: a sort of  "Still Life a la Rebecca".   So... what do we have here?  The dinner table in the Paris flat, with the following:

1.  The map of Paris... so I could track both where we were going and where we had been
2. My scarf... which i bought in front of Notre Dame in 2005, and which came back with me for the 2011 visit. Because the weather was so 'sporadic' during our visit, it got a good workout (duncan covering his head with it when it rained, me using it to wipe the water off bus seats so I could avoide the dreaded "wet bum" phenomenon).
3. My little green book (thanks Michelle Stimac!) in which were written the two sets of door codes we needed in order to get into the apartment (we memorized them only on the day we were leaving0 and the door keys.
4. a copy of the 'eurostar ticket' that got us to Paris in the first place
5. Nutella and crepes purchased from MonoPrix (not as good as the crepes off the street, but it was worth a try!) ... also a stack of grocery store receipts tucked under the map... from Monoprix, G20, and the funky Market at the end of the road....including a receipt for the infamous Thai Noodles (avec crevettes!)
6. The green headphones from the 'hop-on-hop-off" bus...and 4 of the chestnuts pulled from the branches that were constantly theatening to bean one of us tall Canadians in the head
7. A monster pain au chocolate from one of the two boulangeries that we frequented
8. a few euros, as a reminder of how fast our stock of them was depleted!  :-)
9.  Metro tickets.... in two colours.... the purple ones I had bought in 2005 (and left in a drawer til now) still worked fine.  But two metro trips (as packed and claustrophic as anything I have ever encountered) were enough to convince me that walking is ALWAYS prefereable!
10.  The "Abbey Vet" business card.... they hooked us up with the kennel that Kiwi the wonder dog spent her time at ... no visit to Paris for her!
11.  3-D glasses, and the theatre ticket from our trip to see Harry Potter on opening day (at the Forum des Halles... after our abortive visit to Le Grand Rex)
12.  Meds.... antihistamines for Alex, tinactin for duncan
13.  A deck of cards (purchased in St. Germain), and a chess set... both Alex and Duncan can whip their mom, but Steve still reigns supreme.

There you go....

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I can't believe the lady managed to find you in the park and give you back the camera. That's really something quite special! Luck was on your side that day, I think! :)


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