Sunday, April 16, 2006

Joyeuses Pâques

Happy Easter - In all the times we have gone out to eat on Easter Sunday in the US, I don't remember anyone wishing us that. Here in Paris wherever we went the simple greeting Bonne Paques replaces the Bonjour that is unfailingly exchanged when entering any establishment. I know it is custom but it still makes me feel good, every time.

Sunday, April 16, 2006 Hotel International

We decided that today there would be no rushing, (Em took that to heart; at 9:50 am she's still dreaming) that we'd just stroll where we want with no real agenda. Em really likes the parks and has seen everything "touristy" she really wanted to see. There are a couple of things we would be remiss in our "duty" if we didn't show her. The first was Pont Alexander III, many believe the most beautiful bridge in Paris. Em really gets a kick out of the little cars; and of course the dogs.

Once across the bridge it was a short walk to the Champs d'Elysee. Although too commercial for us, Kat and I agreed that Em had to at least walk some part of it toward the Arch. The spring plantings have commenced and there are flowers everywhere.

Since she has become a little (I'm being kind) picky about food, we told Em that she could pick the restaurant for our Easter brunch. Well she picked a good one. Le Carre is just off L'Etoile, had just opened for lunch, and looked appealing.

We said she could have what she wanted (let Lisa and Mike be the food police) so she had her favorites: Sprite and pommes frites – perfect. I had a delicious omelet and offered to let both Kat and Em dip their bread into what they thought was “runny egg – yuck.” When they saw how much I was enjoying it, they both tried it and it was then a battle to see who could finish my "yuck", which was in fact the clarified butter they cook the eggs in and it was delicious.

At the top of the street is the magnificent Arch. The traffic around it of course isn't. We watched the drivers, wondering if anyone ever got out of this madness. We dragged our reluctant charge through the tunnel and emerged under the arch and in the center of the star. Em seemed less impressed than us.

Thinking some park time would be good, off we went to the Tuileries via metro. Oh wait, our favorite patisserie (Cador) was ouvert and it couldn't hurt to just look, could it? There was this huge chocolate Easter Egg in the window, and since we were here anyway, a little café for me, perhaps a small pastry (Em had her eye on the apple crisp), since it is in fact Easter.

Just across the street is the entrance to the Louvre courtyard, so after sugaring up, we continued our walk to the Tuileries. We parked our butts in not uncomfortable chairs next to one of the small round fountains for about an hour and watched the world go by – one duck at a time. I told Em I remembered the time her mother and uncles sat in this very spot watching the kids play with the miniature rent-a-boats. Her mom was 8 and her uncles 6 years old. Seems like yesterday.

We walked to Place de la Concord, then across the river to Saint Germain de(s) Près. Here is a little video with some nice music if you are interested.

Em called Mom and Mike – they were happy and surprised to hear from her. Then we had a coffee and 2 sodas at Café de Flor - $19 and that was sitting on the side, not even out front to see and be seen. (I did at least use the loo, so I got some of my money's worth.) We walked past the church to a beautiful park, then past Les Deux Magot (I'm still fascinated with these coffee shops), before finding a metro to take us back to our Goncourt stop.

A different mood settled upon us as we walked back to the hotel. It was the end of the week and the end of Paris, and time really had flown. We think Em appreciates that things are different in different parts of the world, not right, or wrong, just different. Small elevators, raw hamburger and egg, dogs in restaurants. Sitting in the room, we thought it was a good time to take inventory and look back on our Paris time. Here is our list of best and worst by Ed, Kathy, and Emily (EKE):

By the way: Em spells crepes craps and thinks she is funny.

Best meal: Ed - Saumon at St. Severin/Kat - Chevre Salad at La Vrai Paris/Em - Burger and Pomme Frites at Cafe Petula

Best Desert: Ed - Caramel Ice Cream at Berthillon on I'le St. Louis/Kat - Chocolate cake with crème anglais at Lys d'Argent/Em - Ice Cream (all) at Berthillon

Nicest server: Ed - Proprietor at 8 a Huit/Kat - Lys D’Argent/Em - Lys D’Argent

Most annoying: Ed - Patisserie girl on Goncourt/Kat - Same as Ed/Em - Bracelet guy at Sacre Coeur

Best Visit: Ed - St. Chappelle/Kat - Trocadero/Em - Jardin de Luxembourg

Biggest disappointment: Ed - St. Sulpice/Kat - Galeries Lafayette/Em - Comforter and Flea Market

Not Expected: Ed - Expensive/Kat - Friendlier/Em - Dogs in restaurants and stores


... at Airport: Ed - Excited/Kat - Anxious/Em - Weird & excited & nervous

… at Hotel: Ed - Relieved/Kat - Tired/Em - Tired

… 1st Metro Ride: Ed - Happy/Kat - Comfortable/Em - Weird & nervous

… 1st Sightseeing: Ed - Hopeful/Kat - Excited/Em - Excited & homesick

… 1st Real Dinner: Ed - Content/Kat - Relaxed/Em - Hopeful & Hungry

… During the Trip: Ed - Proud that Em got us home by herself and helped the woman on the metro/Kat - Proud that Em took the challenge and did it and gave the tip to the piano player/Em - Surprised at the homeless and beggars and pigeons

Irritations: Ed - Em saying “dog” all the time/Kat - No Pepsi/Em - Pigeons; Lady who gave me a dirty look when I stepped on the back of her shoe; Crowds at the end of the day; People trying to sell you stuff on the street; Graffiti on the metro; This mattress; Trash in subway and on streets; graffiti; crowds; false advertising for sprite; dog poop everywhere; people who talk loud on the phone; walking shoes (Whew! I'm glad she got that off her chest! Once she got started on that list, we had to stop her.)

Good ideas: Ed - 2 small meals a day/Kat - Picnic in our room/Em - Making a list of things to do and checking them off; Buying the metro tickets in Carnets; Carrying umbrellas to keep it from raining; Picking our lunch spot for brunch on Easter; Buying scarves; Stravinsky fountain; Packing and buying souvenirs

That wraps up this part of our trip. Next we rent a car and head off to see some of the gorgeous countryside. The question on my mind though is: How will Lisa keep her down on the farm, now that she's seen Gay Paree? Always wanted to say that.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

It's always amazed me how much she has to say when she gets comfortable with someone !