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Published: July 10th 2018
Beware; another big one.
Our first day in Paris started late but ended up being all we could handle. It was also a beautiful day- roughly 24 degrees all day and clear blue skies. Trudi felt awful after last night’s flight and wanted to sleep in a bit this morning, so we didn’t set an alarm. We both woke up at around 9am, and it took us a while to get out. We got ready and decided to look online for a place for breakfast (I was super keen for a croissant and a coffee, a traditional tourist delicacy here in Paris). After searching around google maps for a decently priced place, we realised we weren’t going to find anything in advance and opted to just let a restaurant owner entice us in.
We’re staying in a little pedestrian-only street, surrounded by other pedestrian-only streets leading to bigger streets. Luckily there’s a bigger one at the end of ours, which is still hardly big enough for cars but has loads of restaurants, fromageries, pâtisseries, and boucheries. We ended up at a crêperie, where I ordered mushrooms on buckwheat crepe and a café glacé (“iced coffee”, which should be advertised as a very strong iced long black. But I suppose that’s the Australian in me isn’t it?), and trude had a banana and lemon juice crepe.
We then headed to a pharmacy for trudi to get some stuff to clear up her sinuses and ears, and then to a grocery store to pick up some stuff for the bnb so we don’t have to eat out three times a day. We dropped everything at home and ended up staying there for a while, trying to read the instructions on trudi’s medications and then actually using the medications. We officially left the house at 2pm.
On our way to our first sight of the day, the Musée d’Orsay, we bumped into an adorable, Parisian blue shop full of healthy juices and salads. We were dying of thirst so we went for a juice, and my 5 years of high school French suddenly kicked in and I could read all the vegetables and fruits that were in each drink. I went for a strawberry, banana, pineapple and apple juice, which was so refreshing.
We eventually got to the museum, and were yelled at (as were others) by an American (cue eye roll) for “cutting in line”. Well, you should have moved up further in the line then, love, so we could actually see the line was still going. I didn’t say that to her, but Trudi said something to her in true Trudi style. AMAZINGLY, after 15 mins of waiting, we noticed the American had somehow wriggled her way to the front of the line, and was waiting to go through security check with the cheesiest grin on her face, leaning on her pram containing her loud grubby kids consistently slapping each other. Typical.
The museum was astounding. So many levels, so little time. There was an exhibit on called Ames Sauvages, which was all about symbolism in Baltic countries from around 1700-1940’s. It was really interesting, as was the room of Van Gogh paintings and the entire entry level full of beautifully carved statues. I wish we could have stayed for hours, but we were running late to our next monument, Notre Dame Cathedral.
On the way to Notre Dame we stopped in at the Shakespeare Company Bookshop, a super old bookshop which is well known for its early days. It was opened by a woman in the early 1900s (her name escapes me) and was a popular bookshop for authors including Earnest Hemingway! It was shut down during the German occupation during WWII, then reopened in (I think) the 70s. It was a really cool but cramped bookshop with thousands upon thousands of books (it even had those cool little ladders on the walls that slide from side to side). We then headed across the Seine to the Cathedral.
Notre Dame absolutely took my breath away. It is the most indescribable place I have ever been in, not because it’s hard to describe but because no words can possibly do it justice, no words are worthy (some may see this as a little over dramatic but I’m not going to lie, while looking at everything I sort of wished I was religious just so I had an excuse to come in every day). My jaw was hanging (I was probably being incredibly rude now that I think about it) for the first five minutes of being inside, and THEN they began a mass service. I’m telling you, I have never heard such beautiful music, I wanted to cry. That really holy smell filled the place, I have no idea what it is but you can always tell you’re in a religious place when you smell it? Sort of smokey and herb-y, i don’t know.
By the time we left the Cathedral it was 6pm. The France v Belgium soccer game was starting at 8pm and the streets were already PACKED. We wanted to go to a pub or something and watch the game there but we didn’t want to put ourselves in danger (top tip, mum) by being around drunk people speaking another language, especially if France were to lose. So we headed home, but to soften the blow of abandoning such a lovely day we bought some grapes and biscuits from a supermarché, and then went to a fromagerie for some cheese and wine. Once again my high school French kicked in and i was able to order 150 grams of Brie (we were a bit hesitant to venture out of our comfort zones so early, hopefully that will turn up tomorrow). However when it came to the wine, things got a little tricky. Here’s how it went down:
Me- “ça vin, c’est bon?”
Lady behind counter- “ahahajkdhw bqnskdjwbqidh wkqhdbwkjd qkshdbqksje. Quwjabhduwjqbw. Widhwbsobfwnqn”
Me- “ah, uhmmm....”
Lady behind counter- “ashdjwksn, c’est très, très sec”
Me- “AH-HAH! IT’S VERY VERY DRY! WE’LL TAKE IT!”
I don’t particularly like very very dry wine but I was so ecstatic to have understood something she said I kind of leapt.
We headed back to the bnb and watched the France v Belgium game on the TV with our cheese, crackers, grapes, strawberries and wine. However, our street is full of little pubs that were packed full of people and somehow had better TV connection than we did, because we kept hearing cheers and cries about 5 seconds before anything actually happened. Spoiler alert- France won 1-0.
The. Street. Went. Wild.
The game finished at about 10pm, and as I’m writing this, at 11:52pm, there are still chants, yells, cheers, and loud music going on outside. As soon as France won I opened the big window we have that looks onto the street and found dozens of people hanging out of their windows waving the French flag, and even more people on the actual street dancing, chanting a song that apparently everyone knows, and wearing the flag around their shoulders. The atmosphere was incredible. I literally FELT French.
Also, yes, you heard correctly, I am writing this on the day it happened. I’m finally up to date! Don’t know how long it will last though- don’t hold your breath.
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Fay and Ross Florence
Hail to our granddaughter
Have been loving your blog, Lucy, but your first day in Paris Really Takes the Gateau! Your description of Notre Dame will stay in the memory. It’s incense by the way. Lucky you visiting the Musee D’Orsay. Keep it up. Hope Trudi recovers. Love Nana and Grandpa