Let them eat steak!

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Europe » France
August 2nd 2012
Published: August 4th 2012
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I think this may be my best blog title of all times. We are in Paris, known for the famous "Let them eat cake!" quote atrributed to Marie Antionette--who lived in Versailles where we were earlier this week and I came up with this one while we were (no suprise) eating steak! Stay tuned. It will all make sense.

We came too quickly to our last day in Paris. We all agreed that the day should be less structured and allow for shopping (Emily) and down time (Nathan). This time I had a bit of an agenda. While try as I might, I could not find a Zumba class that was in session--tons of people go on holiday during August--I was sure we could check "run in Paris" off the list. The nice woman from the night before suggested we go to Jardin du Luxembourg, a park that is popular for running. It was a park we passed by on an earlier day in the trip but we hadn't spent time there. The weather, as it was the entire trip, was gorgeous. Mid 60s and sunny heading toward 75 and sunny.

We agreed to walk to the park, go for a short run (my idea, and no, Mark did not join us for the run) and then we'd go shopping. I brought a skirt in my backpack since I didn't want to wear running gear to go shopping. I was in Paris, afterall. Fashion first. The park was perfect. It had a dirt path that went around in a circle that I clocked at a mile using my Fitbit pedometer. We parked Mark at a fountain and set off for what would be a mile run for the kids. I did a second lap on my own and listened to my music and ran with a giant grin on my face. I was running in Paris! I was RUNNING in Paris. My goodness that was fun.

Next we went to do some more exploring and shopping. Emily had a few agenda items of her own. Beret, souvenirs for self and others, and she had money to spend. Emily ran a successful house sitting venture this summer. She watered plants, trees and grass and kept several cats fed over the course of the summer. She scooped kitty litter and said it was worth it because she was going to have Paris money! I was proud of her efforts and glad she was funding some of her own shopping. The girl can shop.

During the course of our wanderings, we walked through an area with a flower market and I realized it was the same market we had visited on our 10 year anniversary trip. Mark is a very subtle romantic. He intentionally led us back to this spot and snapped a picture of me in front of the same market. Sweet.

Everywhere we went, Emily seemed to get a free gift or a gift with purchase. Small things like a free bracelet or an extra keychain. At one shop, after browsing, we said merci and were heading out when the salesperson (perhaps the owner) gave Emily a 2012 Calendar. It is a really nice, journal style calendar and has great pictures.

Somehow it was 2:30 and we hadn't had lunch. We tried to find a place our sushi friend recommended but it was finished for lunch by the time we got there. So were the other spots we saw. We decided to go back toward home and get something at the bakery or grocery store. On the way back Emily and I found some yummy salads at a to go place and we also bought some bread and brie. Things are pricey in France, but cheese and wine are bargains!

Can we please see a menu?

We took a rest for a short time but then it was back down the 90 steps and off to dinner. It was (as you may have been wondering from the title) Steak Frites Night. My dad and much of the online foodie community recommended we go to a place that serves only Steak Frites called Le Relais de l'Entrecote. Vegan and vegetarian friends, you can skip this part if talk of meat eating offends you. We got there early to line up (it opens at 7pm) and when you sit down there is no menu, they just ask you how you want your steak. We ordered a house red,that the owner makes -- they were winemakers before they were steak sellers, it turns out. The wine was great, the steaks (medium) and frites were heavenly. We also had a nice salad house salad that was served before they steaks.

Emily finished her steak first and jokingly asked if they have refills on the steak. Mark and I laughed because the surprise for the kids was that yes, in fact, they bring you 2 servings of steak and 2 servings of fries. Yowza. I'm not a big meat eater but another thing I try to do on trips is not be "that girl". I went along with it and had my first steak in a while. It was exceptional. Mark had warned the kids not to ask for catsup and they didn't. They ate the amazing sauce that comes with the steak and asked for more. The waitress was impressed with the kids' appetites and good manners.

Dessert. Had to. Profiteroles (cream puffs filled with ice cream inside with chocolate sauce generously applied) and a dessert the restaurant was famous for called The Tower. It had layers of merengue and ice cream and chocolate sauce. We were beyond stuffed and left to check our last item of Le List.

From one tower to the next…

After eating a chocolate and merengue tower, we headed off to the Eiffel Tower. We had seen it on our first night, but we needed to go up. Emily said it was her dream to go to the top. We walked a bunch and then hopped a Metro to get the rest of the way there. We were on the train with some very obnoxious (OAFs as Nathan named this category of our countrypeople or: Obnoxious American Fools). You can choose your own F. Freaks was also suggested. What did you think I meant? They were screaming and loud and some sort of high school tour group. Their parents would not be proud. We got off the stop after the OAFs and caught some great pictures of the tower on our way over to line up. It was a very long line because they only had one elevator (lift) running. By the time we were about halfway through the line, we were told the top was closed and we could only go to the second landing. We decided that was fine and better than nothing so we stuck it out. I remember being a bit scared at the very top on a previous trip.

We got some fun pictures and the kids enjoyed the view and then it was time to go back down. We took the stairs all the way to the ground. It was a long way but we were trying to get to the Metro before it closed at 12:30am (or so we remembered reading). I had noticed I was very close to getting a new personal best for number of daily steps and I saw the counter go to 30,000 while we descended the Eiffel Tower.

We made it to the train, staggered up the 90 steps to the apartment--it got harder every time! and went to bed. Flight to Copenhagen the next day, but we would have time to pack in the morning. Paris was perfect. We were sad to have to say goodbye.

No taxi for you!

I must brag a little and share that we didn't take a single taxi in Paris (or Copenhagen where I'm writing from now). Emily begged at times, offered to pay "with her own money" but we took the Metro and we walked our feet silly. I am so proud of our commitment to go without the indulgence and the expense of taxis. We went back and forth across the city, bags and all at times, with our expert guide (Mark) and never once took a taxi.

Some random side notes:

On almost every train and nearly every corner there are street performers and musicians. They were almost all really talented. We enjoyed the entertainment and happily dropped a few coins here and there for their efforts. However, there was also a very large homeless population. We had a man living on our street during our stay. Odd thing was he was sitting there, dressed quite nicely, with a hat out and all the while he was reading an e-book. I just could not imagine how that could be a successful way to raise funds. Nonethelss, he was there, with his hat and his book every day of our stay.

The other random note is that Paris really is a fashion town and I couldn't help but stop to stare at the shops filled with cute clothes and shoes. We rarely went in--seeing the price tags from the street. Finally, on that last day, Emily and I popped into a cute shop near our apartment. I scored her a couple 50% off shirts. The black and white one is featured in our Eiffell Tower photo shoot. How could I take Emily to Paris and not buy her some couture?

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