It's been a long day - spent the day riding the bus looking at the other three main parts of Paris: Montmarte, Bastille-Bercy and Montparnesse. We saw lots of interesting buildings, signs, restaurants ... the city is always buzzing with activity.
We wanted to visit the Musee D'Orcy where all the Impressionist paintings are housed however, one look at the monster crowd brought back visions of our day at the Louvre and we opted out. Hoping to get there tomorrow morning before we leave for the train station.
We did visit Rodin's Museum where we saw the original Thinker and various other Rodin sculptures, including a wall of empty egg shells. It's too sophisticated for us ... we just kept wondering where the bacon went to. Jonathan was the one who really wanted to go to this museum to see the Thinker sculpture. He got up close to really inspect whether the scultpures were original Rodin's or imitation done by Alexis Rudier (we is educated now).
Went around Central Paris again on the bus and stopped at the Eiffel Tower. Sophia lifted it up so we could take a look underneath. Lots of people again! You have the
option to line up and go up the Tower in the elevator or walk up the stairs. It seemed strange to pay to climb up 250+ steps to the 1st level so we decided not to (Ann and Sophie wanted to but they were outvoted). We also went by the Sacre Coeur. This too required 250+ steps to reach the top of the mountain, and again, Ann got outvoted 3 to 2.
Very excited - we saw a KFC and more McDonald's on one strip of road than we have seen the entire three days in Paris. Northern Paris inhabitants love their fast food. This is where you'll also find the Moulin Rouge, the famous red theatre. We were going to get dinner and show tickets but it was pretty racey apparently for the children. It was very cool to see the famous building however. Jon especially clicked many photos once we reached this neighbourhood which is known for it's night life and cabarets (and girls girls girls). Robb and Jon wanted to stop there for lunch (it was 9:30a). They got outvoted this time 3 to 2.
Oh, and Robb finally talked to someone today (who didn't
sell him beer). After almost two full days of being on the bus and not speaking to anyone except the family, he got all funny and cheerful for a couple elderly ladies. Made a joke about a tree. Turns out they were English.
We are finding Paris quite pretty. The facades of the buildings are gorgeous. It's awesome to see in real life the famous attractions that you've only read or heard about. The beautiful flowers on the balcony, the gigantic wooden doors in the buildings, the stonework, the windows, the wide boulevards, vespas and all the fashionable Parisenne ladies. It's actually a lot like New Orleans (or the NO is a lot like Paris) - balconies and courtyards included. But... maybe we're hitting the wrong places, but so far, the food has been a disappointment, everything is overpriced and the service and friendliness of the local people make us not really want to return. (One bus driver totally ignored Robb when he asked a question in English. This is the bus driver for the hop on hop off tour bus which is designed for tourists from all over the world!). This is why Robb doesn't talk to anyone
who doesn't sell beer.
This being our last night, we decided to have dinner at a french restaurant. We were ignored for 30 minutes and just before we were getting ready to go, the server comes over. The food was so-so (although their french onion soup was pretty good) but most bothersome was the bill which was plumped up by a 20% gratuity automatically added to the bill. We know it is practice to include tip in the bill, however it seems that the auto tip creates an environment where poor service is allowed. Very disappointing. To end on a positive note, there is something to be praised about a city where wine is cheaper than pop (and orange juice).
Overall though, we enjoyed our time in Paris. Lots of laughing. No work or blackberries beckoning us. The five of us are really thrilled to be in this historical city and experiencing all that Paris has to offer. In truth, we have probably had more great moments than disappointing ones. We may not return soon, but who is to say that we won't come back again some day.
Well, we better go. Got to pack as we
head out of Paris on the Chunnel to London tomorrow. Everyone is pumped up to be going to England!!!!!!
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