Thursday, June 11th
On Thursday, Pierre's sister Anne accompanied us into Paris for a day of site seeing. We took the Bateaux Mouche which is a nice leasiurely way to see the primary sights of Paris in one sitting. The Bateaux Mouche is basically a big tour boat with open air seating on the top to get the best view. The weather was still mixed so it was freezing cold and windy on the top deck of the boat.
To make up for the cold morning we decided to have lunch at the Creperie de Cluny in the Latin quarter. This particular creperie specializes in foods from the Normandy region where Pierre's family originally came from. The crepes went down really well with a bottle of cider or bouteille de cidre, which is basically fermented apple cider (another speciality of Normandy). Instead of dessert, I opted for an injection of caffeine from an espresso.
By the time we finished lunch, the cold wind and dark skies had evaporated and it was almost hot. We decided to walk around Notre Dame since it was right there at the edge of the Latin quarter. The square in front of the
Alyssa and the Eiffel Tower
Alyssa poses in front of the Eiffel Tower from the Bateaux Mouche
church was packed with tourists and a long line snaked around the entrance to the church and another line around the side if you wanted to climb onto the roof with the gargoyles like Quasimodo. So we took a stroll around the outside of the church instead, which is awe inspiring in its own right. Evidently, they had cleaned up the church in recent years because the black smog imprinted on the stonework was gone and brilliant natural beige color stood out.
After Notre Dame we took a walk through the Gardins of Luxembourg. The way Anne explained it, this is the park where the local Parisians take a break or go for a walk. The Tulleries garden which is near the Louvre is where all the tourists go. The garden was so relaxing, with seats everywhere, comfortable grass to lie on, fountains and sculptures everywhere, not to mention trees with plenty of shade. There is even a giant Easter Island like head in one part of the park. We finished the day by walking to the church of Saint Sulpice, made famous by the Da Vinci move. By now the kids were tired and ready to go home.
The Gilmore's pose in front of Notre Dame
Trains are fast and easy once you know where you are going. Seems like the Metro is always crowded and you are always standing. Whenever we exit the train, there is always a mass of people surging for the exits, so we usually step to the side, put on the Sherpa bag, get our bearings and then make our way out. While you can still buy individual tickets, we bought a pass for the week that was good for all the zones. It is basically a card with a microchip that you swipe at the entrance to activate the turnstile. God forbid if you are unsure of how to work the card, because if you miss the moment of activation you are stuck on the wrong side and the card won't work again. I believe this is an anti-mooching method to prevent other people from borrowing your card. That doesn't stop the Parisians though. I've seen plenty of people jump the turnstiles, go in through the exit, or squeeze two people in at a time. Sometimes someone will even take pity on the hapless tourist and help them out as well.
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