A Travellerspoint blog

Sun, Wind, Hail, and Snow

After finishing our delicious roasted chicken, potatoes, and mousse de canard with the decadent cassis flavored desserts from Lenôtre, I was tending to the dishes and laundry while Anne captured our Eiffel Tower day so well that she may just take over my blog. Here's her version of our day.
A day can't be started without a wonderful iced coffee at Starbucks. Sipping coffee outside the Moulin Rouge is the perfect way to start my day at noon. A "scenic" sunny metro ride to the Eiffel Tower entertained Catherine. Catherine squealed with glee when she saw the Eiffel Tower emerge from the trees. As soon as we waited in the amazingly short line, it started drizzling. Catherine thankfully fell asleep in line which was a blessing since as soon as the elevator opened it started raining, hailing and snowing. The Eiffel Tower was swaying and immediately I started feeling sick. There was no way I was going up to the top deck with Catherine in her carrier. A woman even came down with her stroller insisting that I not go up to the deck because it was too cold for a baby. That didn't sway my mom and Tom from venturing to the top. Video was taken of my mom holding on the railing for dear life. What a sight! We were thrown by the hurricane-like winds as we climbed down to the main deck. As soon as we left the Eiffel Tower tattered, the sun popped out as if the rain and snow never happened. Catherine woke up in time to walk down Rue Cler eyeing the fromage and flower shops. Another métro ride during rush hour. Another Parisian insisted that I sit down with Catherine who immediately said, "Merci". Clearly her French lessons are paying off.
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A Rainy Day on the Champs-Élysées

Catherine cried intermittently throughout the night, suffering from toddler jet lag,
and kept her tired mommy awake. Jet lag also prevented me from sleeping which was not the reaction I was hoping for. We arrived at the Abbesses métro station later than we had planned and purchased our Navigo passes, boarded our train, and listened to the karaoke singer who was belting out American pop songs in hopes of a handout on our way to the Place de la Concorde. Catherine's mouth opened in awe when we pointed out her first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower peeking out between the trees and the Haussmannian apartment buildings. Walking down the Champs-Élysées in the rainy cool weather made me wish I wouldn't have forgotten my earmuffs on the plane. We managed to find a Starbucks so we could order hot coffee and eat the salads that we had picked up at the Monoprix. Unfortunately there was no Palais de la Découverte, a science museum for all ages, for Catherine today as she finally fell asleep in her mother's arms.
Along the boulevard, tempting colorful little macarons in flavors of violet, rose, chocolate, orange and many others were displayed by Ladurée and Pierre Hermé along with the beautiful St-Honorés from Pâtisserie des Rêves. On our way home we took a detour down Rue Lepic to pick up Eggplant Parmesan, pizza and salads from an Italian restaurant and "à emporter" for dinner and felt anxious to try the other mouthwatering specialties displayed at the boucheries, fromageries, and poissonneries along our wonderful market street. After eating our delicious and delightful Italian spécialités, we declared Pierre Hermé the hands down winner of our macaron competition, but the St-Honoré was equally divine.
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Red Eyes and Red Lights

The sun was playing peekaboo behind the dark clouds while we were singing about the itsy bitsy spider on the way to the airport. Then it tucked itself into its red blanket in the sky as we were waiting to board our plane. Catherine was good natured with only minimal sleep until the last ten minutes before Paris when her sobs could be heard throughout the plane. After a cat nap in the taxi on our way through the narrow cobble stoned streets of Montmartre, she was newly energized. We dragged what is an excessive amount of luggage through the gate of our courtyard and Anne, Tom and Catherine waited while Bob and I went on what seemed to be a scavenger hunt for the key to our apartment. We climbed those twisting narrow streets hunting for an obscure address, climbed to the fourth floor, opened a little cabinet door in the wall behind which were hidden various compartments with combination locks, one of which held our key. We retrieved it and retraced our steps only to have each of us attempt and fail to open the door to the apartment. Luckily a helpful resident happened by. Hardly functioning from lack of sleep and nourishment, we tried unsuccessfully to open the gate from the inside in order to leave and search for some groceries. Luckily Tom had a knife in his pocket that he used to pry the latch. The route to the Monoprix, in search for groceries, was in a downhill direction and located in what was the historic red light district of Paris. The names of the shops along Boulevard Clichy need no translation. We hastily grabbed a few cans of cassoulet with goose and duck for a quick dinner. Nothing is very quick, however, when no one knows exactly how to use European appliances.
Since Catherine needed some calmness in this otherwise unending day of new adventures, Bob and I set out on our own to discover the charms of our Montmartre neighborhood. We passed by Chez Paul for some pain chocolat and bought croissants from Gontran Cherrier where we sampled velvety delicious chocolat chaud, and when we looked across the street on the Boulevard Clichy, the brightly lit up Moulin Rouge was right before our eyes.

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Toddling through Paris in 2016

We are embarking on what could either be a crazy fun or just plain crazy adventure. Before my daughter became a mom, and had a disposable income, she thought the most wonderful present to herself for motherhood would be to take her baby to Europe. After lengthy discussions about the insanity of this idea, we decided that, if and when this idea came to fruition, we would forego running to and fro and simply situate ourselves in one place - Paris.


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Dolci, Formaggio, e più Pizza

Slept late and lingered longer so by the time we were ready to leave this morning, I was ready for a nap. Turned left from the apartment and saw an excavation site of Roman ruins just steps away. We took a nice leisurely walk along the Tiber River to Trastavere. Stepped into the medieval Church of St. Cecelia, a popular wedding venue. The next church stop was the Church of Santa Maria in Trastavere, one of the oldest churches in Rome. The columns and mosaic tiles for the floors were pillaged from Roman ruins. Gorgeous glowing-with-gold early medieval mosaics dating to the 8th to 10th Century glowed behind the altar and piped in Gregorian music added to the ambience.
Our afternoon was spent window shopping and sampling and buying too many dolci from Nonna Vincenza. Our picnic lunch was eaten on the Piazza Navona in front of my favorite river god fountain and eating our last gelato from Grom.
We hardly huffed and puffed as we made it up the mountain of stairs at the Spanish steps. Anne and I were so proud of our increased endurance! But I was sweltering as I reached the Church of the Trinita dei Monti and the guard made me cover my shoulders.
We had to spend our excess euros so we walked to Volpetti's for Parmigiana Reggiano where we had great fun sampling cheese, salami and more dolci. Then to Remo's for our last pizza where we had a great time with a couple from Alaska. Coffee and dolci tonight and more for tomorrow's breakfast. I hope we make the mile walk to the train station tomorrow! Arrivaderci Roma!


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