Monday in Paris was a very French day, at least the eating part. The children were tired, so Allie let them rest all morning. We met one of Allie’s students, Paula, and her husband Dave for lunch around 12:30 at Chez Gladines, a Basque restaurant in our little village of Butte aux Cailles that they wanted to try. All of these places are tiny, so moving 8 of us into a table with an infant is quite a production. Then we spent awhile trying to figure out the menu, and checking out other patrons’ food to see what looked good. Food was finally ordered and received, (lots of deep fried potato slices, ham, duck, cheese and salads) plates traded, more wine brought, children got dessert, adults got cafe, and lot of talking and laughing later, we left at 3 pm. According to Allie this is a typical French lunch. I am not sure when these folks work, but this may help explain why the cafes are full of people eating dinner at 10 pm on weeknights.
With our goal as Notre Dame’s tower, we made our way across the city until we were ambushed by the bouquinistes (booksellers along the Seine), which really are quite picturesque and fascinating. Stan and I looked longingly across the river at Notre Dame as the minutes ticked by with Allie and kids in full shopping mode with books galore, plus vintage posters, magazines, and newspaper pages.
At 4:30 we reached the line to the tower which had closed 15 minutes before. On our way to the other line to get into the Cathedral we took pictures, fed pigeons, and lost and found Daylen (age 9) a couple of times.
Inside is awesome, one of the few times in life that word is appropriate. While the rest of us wandered around, Allie fed Lani. Churches are great places to nurse babies: quiet, good seating, semi-dark, and everyone minding their own business.
Time for another cafe stop, which is pretty much the only place you get to use the bathroom in Paris. Mulled wine, cafe creme, hot chocolate, gateau and sandwiches for the kids fortified us for the trek to Sacre Coeur.
We loved the funicular ride up the hill and wonderful views up there. The church is made of travertine marble and absolutely glows on its hilltop perch. The interior is equally beautiful with dozens of huge gorgeous mosaics.
Afterwards we headed down the hill on foot through Montmartre. This is usually very busy, but now it is well after 8 pm, so the tourists are gone and it’s pretty quiet. Allie and I manage to find a place just closing that still has hot mulled wine to go. The alcohol content is very low.
We are on a quest to find the Moulin Rouge at the bottom of the hill, Emma has a recent crush on the movie. Pics are taken from a distance since it is now pretty much a Las Vegas type show with plenty of inappropriateness for children, and actually adults too.
Beyond exhausted, we make our way back home, and Allie, Stan and kids head up to their place. I have not eaten since lunch, so I cross the street to the local creperie and order one to take home to my little apartment for a late dinner. I am ordering and frequently conversing all in French this trip, and so proud of myself. C’est bon!