After a rough night’s sleep (Norah woke up a few times crying – she is getting her molars in, yay!) we ate a hearty breakfast of french toast with yogurt and peaches, and coffee, of course, to keep us going for the morning. We left the house at just after 10am for a walking tour. Our first stop was the Place d’Aligre which we never made it to because on the way we ran into a garage sale or “boot sale” along the way. Because Parisians don’t have garages or yards, they rent a spot along a designated street and sell their goods. They are not really advertised so you end up just bumping into them along your way on a Saturday morning. Most sales stretch for a couple of blocks and it’s really fun to walk along and look at all the neat things they are selling. I do, however, find this much more amusing that Richard does… so after conceding that mom and I might look through, it was decided that we didn’t have enough time to go to the market. That was ok with us though, since it was much more fun to experience a Paris garage sale than a food market (we didn’t need food), though it would have been nice to have time for both. To be fair we had quite the docket for the day, so we didn’t really have time.
Next stop was the Jardin de Plantes there are beautiful flower gardens and paths, etc. as I have written before. Today it served as a beautiful walk through as we headed up to the 5th arrondissment to see L’Arène de Lutece – the old Roman ampitheatre we had visited previously.
The 5th arrondisment (or Latin quarter) itself is quite beautiful. Filled with many beautiful old churches, buildings and cobblestone streets. We had a great time walking and chatting and ogling everything around us.
Next was the pantheon, an amazing monument that was first built as a church and then later on after many changes was then turned into a secular mausoleum that houses the remains of many distinguished French citizens. Then a few blocks down we passed the Sorbonne (University of Paris). Eventually we hit a wonderful little area of narrow streets filled with vendors and restaurants. Although incredibly touristy, it hasn’t lost it’s charm. We took some pictures at the entrance, but I they do not come even close to catching the charm. Because we were enjoying the walk so much we forgot to take pictures as we walked. Anyway, we bought some touristy things and mom got me a cute hat. Thanks for the hat Mom O! There were many falafel and gyro stands. They looked so good that we decided to pick a couple up for lunch as we walked through the streets. It was a huge meal. They take a pita (or bun if your prefer) and add taztziki sauce, a salad of romaine and tomatoes, and then pack in tonnes of meat and french fries on top (so much you don’t think it’ll fit) and roll it up into a cone. Such a good idea and so yummy !
Because Opa knew of some organists who played at the Église St. Sulspice, we decided to make it on our way. Inside there was a beautiful and incredibly large organ. It would have been nice to hear someone play it. Norah especially loved this stop because she very quickly realized that the enormous space inside the church magnified her voice and echoed a little. So much fun!
By then we were getting pretty tired, so we headed back home to put the girls down for a nap and put our feet up for a while.
After some rest and coffee at home we decided to go see the Eiffel Tower. Pictures cannot begin to give you the feeling of how big it is! On our way Oma bought a few Eiffel tower key chains from one of the (seemingly) hundreds of men selling tourist trinkets along the way. 4, 5 or 6 for one euro, depending on how interested you look in the merchandise. The trick is to look interested for a minute and then say « no » and walk away. They will follow you lowering the price or offering you more for your euro. It reminded me of what Richard has told me about India…. though most of the men selling the trinkets are not originally parisian.
After waiting in line for about an hour to buy tickets (there was a huge line, but the way the set up the line, it doesn’t look like it’s that long until you have been waiting for about ½ an hour. You then look in front of you and realize that the line winds and turns more than you thought). The wait was totally worth it though. The Eiffel tower is quite an experience and not one you should miss if you are in Paris, especially at night! We were lucky, we got up just before sunset so we got the best of both worlds. By the time we got down, it was dark and we were able to see a bit of the city of lights at night! I think I like Paris at night best, It’s gorgeous and very inviting. It is, after all the « City of Lights »
Sorry I didn’t put up any pictures of our way home. The batteries died in our camera while we were up on the tower, so we used Opa’s and Oma’s camera (Ruth-Ann’s actually) to take pictures of the Eiffel tower all lit up. When we got home we realized that we couldn’t get the pictures onto our computer without the camera cord that was back in Ontario. Anyway, maybe Ruth-Ann will send me a few so I can post them… though I’m sure that by the end of this you are tired of looking at my pictures….