Monday, July 25, 2011

Paris Day 1, or "Paris makes me sick!"

waiting at St. Pancras Station
We arrived in London on Monday, July 11, and headed off two days later for a week long visit to Paris.  This meant getting up at dawn, walking 15 minutes to the tube station with our suitcases, and heading off to King's Cross/St. Pancras to catch the Eurostar to Paris.  Yes, the train goes something like 300 km/hour.  Which really only means that you get nauseous if you spend too much time trying to look out the window!  :-)  But it also means you are Paris in less than 2.5 hours....

the view from our balcony
We had rented a place not too far from the gare de nord (the home of a french academic who spend his summers in New York).  We hopped off the train, and bustled down the street to the apartment....The view from the balcony was nice... which was some form of compensation after getting there:  it was on the 5th floor (ie. 6 flights of stairs) in a place with no elevator.  Certainly made you think twice about how many groceries you want to buy (confronting the thought of lugging everything up all those stairs!)

After dropping off the suitcases at the apartment, we headed off for our first 'french cafe meal' (with Alex expertly negotiating the menu in french), where Duncan was introduced to a chocolate cake with creme anglaise.  The waiter, ever watchful, realized fairly soon that the cake held no allure, and that the attraction was the sauce on the plate.  He returned with a glass full of the stuff, which Duncan happily drunk (any thoughts of cardiac arrest apparently far from his mind).  What could be better?!

Bodies nourished, Steve lead us off towards his favourite haunts: Opera, Place Vendome, etc....   There was, of course, a ton of walking.  After a few hours of this, Duncan, bored and complaining that his feet hurt, pronounced that this vacation was the worst one in the history of time.  But, a few minutes later,  we arrived at le jardin des tuilleries.... where the summer fair was in full force, with rides and midway games aplenty.   Check it out here on "Emma's" blogspot!  At this point, Duncan proclaimed that Paris was awesome and this was the best vacation ever. The two boys, armed with euros, headed off in different directions to explore, and steve headed off to the beer gardens. Everyone was happy. Duncan headed for the flume ride (yes, getting soaked), and then spent his time at the shooting range blowing away balloons. He was actually not bad, and ended up winning the prize of his dreams: a small b-b-gun. sigh. Alex, on the other hand, was trying to win an ipod 4 in the tent with the games of skill (chance): you had to match the blocks up in ascending levels.... He could get all but the last row. :-) So close!
Near the Place de la Concorde

Arc de Triomphe
Then we headed off to the Place de la Concorde and Champs Elysee, where bleachers were being set up everywhere in preparation for the parade on Bastille Day (July 14th)...then,... off to the Place de la conchord, and up the Champs Elysee (where we stopped at the groovy 5 story motor shop to examine their display of hot sports cars), then to the Arc de Triomphe.  At that point, Steve gave in, and agreed we could take the metro back rather than walking home.  Talk about an insane press of people!   We were squashed in like sardines.... i thought the train would start with one man half in and half out the door.... he just kept shoving in til his derriere was no longer getting squashed between the closing doors!

Finally, we made it to the metro stop closest to home, and hit the market to buy provisions for dinner.  I just let everyone pick what they wanted most, and we headed off to our flat, and the  6 levels of floors to be climbed... a little less exciting at the end of a day, laden with groceries.  Ah well.... we settled in, each with their chosen meal.  Alex heated up his Thai Noodle Supreme, and started chowing down with pleasure, pronoucing them the most delicious ever. I was busy heating up soup.

Then Alex said, "Mom, does this have shrimp in it?" A look at the label confirmed it:  "crevettes" (aka 'shrimp')  The last few times Alex has shrimp, he complained that his mouth and throat hurt, and then he threw up.   Ah.... here we go again, thought I!  Within minutes, Alex was curled on his side on the couch.  Steve ran out to find a pharmacy, hoping to figure out how to ask for antihistamines with his elementary french.  I stayed back with Alex.   After a few minutes, Alex lept up and ran to the bathroom, making it just in time to empty the contents of his stomach into the tub.  Alex has his father's prodigious skill for projectile vomiting, so I was delighted that he chose the tub rather than the toilet!   ...easier to clean....   Steve returned with drugs 15 minutes later, Alex munched back the pills, and then drifted off to sleep, concluding that "Paris makes me sick".... literally.  :-) And all that was just Day 1.  .... yee hah to Paris!


  1. Such great posts! So excited you are in London and in Paris. What fun! And I agree Alex: shrimp! ICK!

  2. Hi! I'm glad you and your family liked the Tuileries' Fun Fair - so did I! (Thanks for putting the link in your blog too.) But poor Alex! How long are you in Paris for?


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