Well, folks, here are the promised pictures. I’d love to tell you stories and details about each one, but as I’ve got more important things to do… hehehe… I’ll just give you a few of my favorite recollections from the trip.
Story 1: Since we were doing “Paris on a budget,” I found a well-recommended reasonably priced hotel online. Well… the “up-and-coming neighborhood” has still yet to get up and while the hotel staff were kind and the place clean, our room was a little wonky, to put it in Irish terms. Haha. The room itself was stuffed into a corner of a corridor (sort of like a Harry Potter moment) and once inside, the walls and ceiling were going all different angles! The bathroom smelled like rotten eggs and was sporadic with its hot water supply and we were only allowed one pillow each. We had a nice flatscreen TV, though, with about six channels – three in French, two in English (BBC and CNN) and MTV in German!!!
Story 2: On Friday, we went to the lovely little village of Montmartre. The cobbled streets and art galleries were everywhere, along with tacky gift shops (my weakness) and, on the nicer streets, cheese shops, chocolate shops, gourmet wine and spice shops, bakeries, toy stores, and cafes! We had lunch at Les Deux Moulins which, as fans of the film “Amelie” remember, was the cafe where Audrey Tatou worked. The strangest thing, though – I ordered what turned out to be a toasted cheese sandwich and the cheese was so strong that my lips and mouth began to tingle and itch like crazy! I thought it was just me, but Frank felt it, too, when he had some of the sandwich! Nice flavours, but a most unpleasant sensation! Oh well… it was a fun and romantic lunch anyhow!
Story 3: On our way up the hill to the Sacre Coeur in Montmartre, we (I) were stopped by a gang of African men making bracelets. No matter how many times I said, “Non!” and tried to dodge them, I got caught in their web and before I knew it, one of them was tying a “good luck” bracelet on my arm and telling me “don’t be afraid!” Of course, it was all a scam to get money (“Please lady, this is only 5 euros”), and in Frank’s attempt to rescue me, he got caught in the scam as well, though his bracelet seller charged him 10 euros. I honestly can’t remember the last time I was so infuriated (and embarrassed when Frank chided me). But what can you do in a situation like that? Walk away and not pay? Get stabbed on your Honeymoon in Paris??? Sheesh.
Story 4: My favorite meal was at this amazing Patisserie in a chic part of town, just down the street from the Louvre. Ironically, we followed some Americans in and, finding the price for lunch to be affordable, went in. The place was called Angelina, and it was gorgeous! From the lush decor and sunny windows to the fastidious waiters to the incredible desserts, it was a real highlight for me. Frank had a sandwich and I had an omelette with a green salad, and then – THEN! we dug into mind-blowing desserts. He had their calling card pastry, The Mont Blanc, which was a meringue filled with cream and topped with noodles of chocolate fondant. I don’t remember what mine was called, but it was a little lime cheesecake with strawberry cream, a white chocolate shell, and a strawberry, strawberry marshmallow dots and edible gold leaf on top! We also split a cup of their hot chocolate, which is basically melted chocolate in a cup with cream! (Anyone remember Starbucks’ Chantico? This is way better!)
Story 5: This one is a little funny and a little embarrassing! On our last morning in Paris, we caught the metro down to the islands so we could see Notre Dame Cathedral and the St-Germain des Pres area. However, we got off a stop too soon in the area of Les Halles (in the middle of an amazing shopping centre, I might add, that I did not have time to peruse!!!!). After walking around for a few minutes, I declared that we were looking at Notre Dame right in front of us. Frank disagreed. “The front doesn’t look right,” he said. I insisted I was right. “Look at the flying buttresses!” I said. “This is a gothic cathedral!” I said. “Why don’t you ever let me be right?” I said. Still, he disagreed. I got huffy. He told me if I was going to act like that, then I could just sit there by myself. So, together we went into the church which, as it turns out, was NOT NOTRE DAME. It was instead, the lovely and less-touristy Cathedral of Saint-Eustache (which did resemble Notre Dame, at least give me that much!). It was in the middle of being carefully restored and cleaned, but we both agreed, even after seeing the real Notre Dame Cathedral, that Saint-Eustache was even more impressive and beautiful. So my mistake was not all bad!!! 🙂
So now we are back to real life, and happily so. We enjoyed Paris and would love to go back… but it is nice to return to English speakers and frequent cups of tea!