Day 13 – Slowing down and smelling the roses and wine

by Jenn

Bonsoir!

Today Jenn and I went to several parks we had seen the days before, Palais Royal & Place de Vosages.  They were great places to sit back relax and take in the city life before we go back home.  The lifestyle of Paris is very different from Southern California, we don’t sit at a park to relax and people watch, nor do we let middle school kids run all over the park playing football (soccer).  There would be some helicopter mom thinking these men sitting on the bench were going to kidnap her kid, or some jogger pissed off that the school kids got in his way.  It is such a different mindset here, more relaxed and carefree.  More trusting and knowing that the worst is not out to get you.  It is so easy to get lost in the day listening to the sounds all around you, not traffic but birds and people laughing.  Oh and for all you who have seen the South Coast Repertory’s “A Christmas Carol”, we saw Ebenezer Scrooge today!  His trench coat and signature red scarf.  Bah Humbug to this cold weather we are having in spring here in Paris in deed.

So that was noon until 4:00pm, after 4pm we went to O’Cheateau for some wine tasting.  Clemment, our sommelier, was amazing!  It was a great end to the day as we both tasted 6 different wines, all at a 1/2 glass pour.  This was a lot of wine!  Jenn had her red wines from the Bordeaux regions of France and I had a white wine selection from all over France as well as some very sweet late harvest and noble rot wines.  The nobel rot is a type of fungus that grows on the grapes in particular regions of France, this fungus leeches the water out of the grape making it sweeter than usual.  I had a 80% rotten wine… it was FANTASTIC!  Problem was it cost $100 to get a bottle.  Yikes.  Jenn and I settled for a glass of our second favorite wine to finish off our bread and cheese.  Jenn loved our cheese so much we went and got a small 1/16 of a wheel to take home.  It is called Ship’s Milk cheese and was so delicious with our wine in the afternoon.

For now we are relaxing in our room, packing and getting ready for an early night to bed.  A 6 AM wake up is in store for us tomorrow along with a long trip to the airport and flight home.  For now au revoir!

 

Day 12 – Now at Marriott

by Jenn

We left our cozy little flat in the 6th arrondisement today for Marriott on the Champs Elysees.  It is a whole different world over here.  We left our bags in the morning and walked up and down the street shopping and eating.  We had McDonalds for lunch – at which you have the choice of either a soda or a beer with your meal – same price – odd, right?

Did a little bit of shopping mostly for me – Jeff spoils me far too much.  The displays in these stores are incredible.  I liked the Eiffel Tower in the Disney Store, Jeff was taken by the velvet wrapped car at Mercedes.  Tomorrow we might have to make a pit stop at the crystal steps of Swavorski.

After lots of walking we stopped at Cafe George V for a coffee.  My cafe ordering skills must suck because instead of deux cafe au lait, we got 2 double cafe au lait.  Woooo caffine!  This revved us up and after the nice time relaxing outside at the cafe while it snowed around us, we checked into our hotel and made some plans for the evening.

We decided to go back to La Cochonaille for dinner.  Same meal, more wine, and walked around the Palais Royal area for photos.  After that, we came back to Marriott for a night cap in the lounge then a relaxing bath for me.

It was kind of an aimless day but we had a lot of fun.  Tomorrow – cheese and wine tasting as a last hoorah.

Day 11 – Paris in Bloom

by Jenn

This morning we prepared for our move from the flat into the Marriott.  We will be heading over to the Champs Elysee tomorrow so blogs might slow down without free internet =(

After packing, we rode over to the Eiffel Tower since there were blue skies that would make for nice photos.  We found that more plants have bloomed as if over night.  The wind wasn’t so bad today but several clouds kept the sun from warming us.

We took a moment to just sit down and admire the tower from behind some buildings, then each had a nutella and fruit crepe before heading to Saint Sulpice Church.

The church was warm out of the chilly wind that had picked up – and it was truly awesome to see the monument and learn about how it was built so many years ago.  It is hard to imagine the plans that must have gone into it and it really got me thinking about the importance of math in everyday life.

We walked from there back to the flat and I am glad as we saw the world’s smallest bakery – seriously no wider than the door and only about 6 feet deep.  Hillarious!  We may have to go back to try the sweets.

Picked up some food and drinks at the store to cook dinner tonight and we are catching up on world news while we have some down time now.

 

Day 10 – Europe

by Jenn

Woke up bright and early this morning – 4am – to prepare for our trip to Amsterdam. Today has been quite the whirlwind, arriving to Centraal Amsterdam at 10am, visiting the Anne Frank House and walking through the canal streets before hopping back on the train at 1:30pm. We arrived in Brussels just after 3pm. It is truly amazing how fast these high speed trains are.

Anne Frank House was a great historic sight. Strangely it is bigger than I imagined after the years of teaching about it, but without any furniture, so I could imagine how cramped and full of sorrow the space would be with 8.

On the Amsterdam to Brussels leg of our trip we scored first class seats complete with lunch, beer, wine, and more leg room. oh, and wi-fi! I got to chat with Mom for a bit thanks to google voice texting and we enjoyed the views of the country through our window.

Upon arriving to Brussels, we strolled down the streets in search of the Cocoa and Chocolate museum.  This tiny place was awesome and we learned neat information, snacked on chocolate, and saw a demonstration by the shop’s choclatier.

Just beyond the museum sits Grand-Place de Bruxelles, a large square lined with more chocolate shops and artists with the most amazing architecture.  The stunning flower carpet exhibition also takes place here in August: http://www.flowercarpet.be/

We walked further through town to a few other sites and stopped for a rest in front of the Palace at it’s garden.  Our last stop of the evening was at The Hotel for drinks and a view.  It was a nice, relaxing way to end the go go go day.

Our train ride home was short and we pretty much crashed as soon as we got through the door.

Day 9 – Montparnasse Tower

by Jenn

The view:

Day 9 – More City Walking

by Jenn

This morning started with a trip to Canal Street to see the system of locks in a chanel which bypasses part of the Seine.  We made a stop at Hospital St. Louis, erected in 1607.  It does have a new wing, but a lot of original features and buildings as well.

Next, we went on to continue viewing Passages around the city.  Back to Passage des Princes which was open today, we were able to get a glimpse at the toy shoppes and capture better photos.  Passage Brady was next which wasn’t much but had colorful mirrored arches above, then to Passage de Bourge L’abbe and Passage du Grand Cerf which was much more lively.

The posh Galleries Vivienne had amazing original tile floors and many restaurants.  Just across from that, Galleries Colbert was a quick stop.

From there we walked to Jardin du Palais Royal which was packed with people strolling and enjoying the flowers, fountains and sun.  Behind Palais Royal is the Louvre – even more crouded today.  We walked through the Jardin Tuileries and picked up lunch before sitting down ad watching the ducks fight over food and mates.

Day 8 – Mange Mange Mange

by Jenn

We had a little date night tonight at La Cochanaille.  A quiet little place that we passed the other night and I had to come back for some escargot.  Food was good and dessert was delicious.  After watching a street artist and walking around the shops, we stopped at Le Conti cafe for vin chaud and creme brulee.  We accidentally wound up with two creme brulees but Jeff didn’t seem to mind!

Watching the news now – glad we skipped the champs today and missed the huge protest.  Mon Dieu!

Day 9 – Shop til You Drop

by Jenn

Woke up a little on the late side today but set out for some shopping at about 11am.  First stop was Rue Cler, a street closed to automobile traffic where there is a store for just about anything food wise.  We munched on some fresh blueberries as we strolled and people watched.

Our next destinations were a few passages – mini strip malls built in the 1850s.  We went to Passage des Princes first.  It was completely closed but I was able to snap a photo with absolutely no one in it, so that was cool.  The next three are one after the other:  Passage des Panoramas, Passage Jouffroy and Passage Verdeau.

A few stores were open but we mostly window shopped.  Before hopping onto the metro to go to Marches aux Puces (the flea market) we stopped into a bakery for a chocolate chip baguette – tres yum!

The flea market was full of little shops with a ton of different antiques.  You could very well get lost in the maze without a map.  We didn’t buy anything but it was fun to look.

Back home for a Boursin snack and a rest – going out to dinner in a bit.  Here are a few photos of the passages:

Day 8 – Evening Seine Cruise

by Jenn

After an evening panini (chicken curry), Jeff and I took the Metro to Pont de L’Alma for the Bateaux-Mouche Seine cruise.  This 1+ hr long cruise took us by all the major sights of the Seine: Musee D’Orsay, Pont Neuf, Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower.  While it was chilly – the 7pm departure was the perfect time for twilight and we got back to port right before the rain started.

Les Photos:

Day 8 – Paris, City of Doors

by Jenn

After regrouping back at the flat, Jeff and I decided to hop on the metro to Bastille and take a walk through the Marais district.  The 54 degree weather felt even warmer with the lack of wind.  My main focus for this walk was doors – they are all so old and beautiful.  I am only posting a few though I took a good 300+ photos on our 3 hour journey.

We came across yet another Jeff de Bruges Chocolatier and of course had to get a bag.  Stopping in the Place des Vosages park to enjoy the ambiance – lofs of people strolling about, cuddling on benches (as we did), and reading.  It really was the perfect romantic Paris afternoon.  The musicians in the park added to the feel that we found quite a gem.

Through the Jewish quarter, we found even more doors to admire and watched lines of people waiting to eat falafles, though we were not hungry.  Back at the flat planning our evening – up next: Panini and Seine cruise.

Day 8 – Mom to the Airport

by Jenn

Woke up early and ate pastries with Mom, then she was hungry for more so we walked down the street for a Panini.  Last chance for a yummy french meal for Mom.  At about 8 we walked down the street, bags in tow, in search of a taxi.  The trip to the airport was short and I got her all checked in and handed off before taking the RER back to the city.  It was nice not lugging anything around except my mini point and shoot camera.  I had to whip it out for a photo of two smart cars parked within centimeters of one another.  Oh mon dieu!

Day 7 – Night Walk

by Jenn

After dinner, we played some cards and went out for a beautiful night stroll.  I didn’t even wear my coat and I was plenty comfortable with the crisp but not freezing air.  We made our way across Pont des Arts for views of Pont Neuf in one direction and the Eiffel Tower in the other.  The Louvre was our destination to see the illuminated pyramid.  On our way back, mom got her last glimpse of the Eiffel Tower – though maybe it will greet us again on the cab ride too the airport tomorrow.

Here are the highlights:

Day 7 – The Mom and Jenn Museum Hop

by Jenn

Jeff had a down day with errands like taxi searching for Mom’s departure tomorrow and grocery shopping while Mom and I went on the 1.5 mile walk to Napoleon’s Tomb followed by the Rodin Museum.

Neither are very accessible but the Rodin Museum is working on an elevator installation and some other construction which meant a lot of his works were in a temporary exhibit which was walker friendly.

The garden was also nice today – 58 degree mostly sunny weather is the warmest it has been.  We both had to shed our jackets before lunch which was enjoyed at the Army Museum: Salad and Lasagna plus wine and coffee and a donut!

Jeff is making dinner now, then we can take one last walk on the town during twilight before Mom’s departure.  I hope she has had a good visit.

 

Day 6 – Part 2

by Jenn

 

 

 

After a nap and some relaxation, we decided to go out and peruse the shops in the nearby St. Michel area.  We walked around for an hour or so and after countless restaurants decided to stop in for some gyros at a Greek cafe.  Delish!  The walk back was during twilight and we even went down the bank to the water’s edge for some photos by Pont Neuf.

 

Played cards back at the flat then went to get our morning pastries for tomorrow and fresh nutella crepes for dessert.

 

Here are a few more pix of today:

Day 6 – The Louvre

by Jenn

Today, Jeff, Mom and I walked to the Louvre with a plan to see the biggies and get out.  Yes, there is beaucoup d’art but as Mom says “these places are so big!” – and it is impossible to do it all in a day.  So we got there before they opened and were ushered in through a side door and giant lift first.  Jeff bought his ticket and we were off to La Jaconde!

I was shocked at how few people had made it to this giant room just yet – and then more shocked when once again, Mom was offered special treatment.  “Madame, you can come past the rope for a photo.”  We practically could have touched Mona were she not smiling shyly behind multiple layers of bullet proof glass.  Mom marveled once again at how she looks just like me.  Right… Da Vinci had me on his mind whilst painting one of the world’s most famous works of art. =P

After the Mona Lisa, we walked over to The Winged Victory and then down to Venus de Milo. We ended up at the old castle mote which was interesting to see as well.

Upon our exit, I spotted a Starbucks and Mom was thrilled that after about 27 mini coffees served in most of Paris, she could buy herself a Venti.  Addict much?  We walked the Tuleries Garden and I wished once again it was the bustling summer season.  Next time.  Despite Mom’s copious amount of coffee, she went right to sleep after lunch at the flat.

It is 4pm now and everyone is awake – what to do?

Here is part 1 of our day:

 

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