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Published: June 25th 2013
The flower sellers
On Avenue Georges Pompidou
I can't believe Hugo has managed to get his Auskick footy from Rome to Paris in 5 weeks without kicking it over a cliff somewhere, or losing it in 6 lanes of traffic!
It dawned a beautiful sunny day today, and we had not too much to squeeze in, so off we went to the gardens around the Louvre for a kick. Frank thought it was hilarious setting up shots of Hugo marking off the sculptures. I'm not so sure it's something that's encouraged. Having said that, some of the photos are quite funny. I swear one of the statues looks as though she's ducking the ball!
Every time we go to the Louvre I notice something different. Today it was the detail on the buildings - I wonder how many hours some artisan spent carving the fantastic designs?
From the Louvre it was the perfect opportunity to hop on bikes and head for Notre Dame, just a short ride away. We meandered through the flower shops and stalls and the photo opportunities were endless. The Parisians we see on the streets are usually carrying bunches of beautiful flowers along with their baguettes, so there must be lots
Lighting a candle at Notre Dame
We have seen some churches (!) on this trip. However, there really is something especially beautiful about Notre Dame. My favourite features were the gorgeous chandeliers, originally filled with candles but now electric, and watching the children solemnly light candles for their special intentions. We all took the opportunity to sit and breathe in the serenity of the cool darkness for a while. Once outside again, it was too hard to resist the perfect person-sized notches in the walls, and the family jumped in to create some "Live Statues".
It was getting hot, so we decided on 'reverse lunch' and headed straight from Notre Dame to the famous Berthillon ice-cream shop on the Ile-St-Louis. The queue was epic, but Frank and Hugo looked after the bikes while Isabel window-shopped and I stood in line for the wonderful fruit sorbets. When I got near the front, I realised why the queue was so long. One, lone shop assistant stood behind a tiny counter as wide as a doorway, taking orders, filling cones and accepting payment. She was taking no nonsense from anyone, and if you ummed and ahhed about your order she skipped to the person behind,
A lone girl behind a counter
It made for a long queue at Berthillon, but she was still smiling....
but she was prepared to stand still with Isabel's glace mangue for a second while I took a photograph!
As we rode across the Pont St Louis, some great buskers made us stop to enjoy the music for a while. They did a great job of engaging their audience and we smiled and laughed a good way through their fabulous jazz renditions of some old Ella Fitzgerald numbers and a couple of tunes made famous by Dean Martin. We were happy to put a few euros in the hat after such a great concert in the sun!
I have resisted doing lots of shopping on this holiday, preferring experiences over things, but one of my 'jobs' in Paris was to add to the beautiful hand-painted Gien plates we were given by our French friend Sylvie and when we got married (Peter and Sylvie's girls Margaux and Marlene were our flower girls). The Gien shop was great fun to browse in, and I ended up with plates to complete our set and a couple of cups and saucers which I'm excited about. Isabel has been very frugal with her spending money but decided to choose a platter in gorgeous
Bikes at the Louvre
Isabel, Frank and Hugo
red and white toile as a memento of her time in France. Great decision - I hope I get to 'borrow' it occasionally!
We rode home, Gien bags in bike baskets, through the Louvre again, and stopped off at the Jardins du Palais Royal to enjoy the cool spray from the fountains and admire the flowers.
Today was Dorine's birthday, so we had booked somewhere a little more special for dinner. I had read about Restaurant Le Bristol online, but it was a little MORE special than we were looking for, so we opted for Le 114 Fauborg. It is the bistro attached to the hotel, and wow, having tried it now, I think it benefits from having the same chefs as the more famous restaurant. Oh my goodness. I was in heaven after the soup. It was velvety artichoke, with magnificent flavour, poured over a piece of the most wonderful foie gras. I will dream of this soup for a long time. Everyone else enjoyed their meals, and there were children's options - fish and chips - brilliant as far as Hugo was concerned. The staff were gorgeous, and understood to bring the children's meals while we
The gang. Le 114 Fauborg
Isabel in her new 'birthday dress' and Hugo resplendent in his new outfit!
ate our starters. The waiters must have heard us wishing Dorine Happy Birthday, so although she hadn't ordered dessert, they brought out a plate of delicious ice-cream with a candle in it as a surprise. Coffee came with a mountain of delicious chocolates, which pleased the kids. Total bill for the night: A little higher than we would have liked. The soup and memories, however: priceless!
All too soon it was time to say good-bye to our friends, or 'Au revoir' as I hope to think. We would love to come back one day and visit them again, but it's hard to imagine when we'll have an opportunity like this again. We stood outside and continued to chat on the footpath, reluctant to leave straight away. I don't think too many patrons of Le 114 Fauborg hop on the Velib to ride home, but that is exactly what we did, with a station waiting for us ride across the street! Too funny.
We felt on a bit of a high as we rode home, and on a whim decided to see if we could climb the Arc de Triomphe on the way for a view of the lights
of Paris. Sadly, it had just closed when we got there, but there was still time for a "Mark at the Arc" for Hugo, and a few photo opportunities. We rode home with the traffic along the Champs Elysees, and I think I'm getting braver, because I risked standing on a miniscule traffic island in the middle of the lanes of traffic for the perfect photograph! Every landmark we rode past we bid a silent farewell to - tomorrow we head to Disneyland Paris and then it's home to Australia. We waved good-bye to our local landmark - La Madeleine, before heading through our green door and up the stairs to bed.
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