Sunday, September 27, 2009

Paris Part Trois

Our last day in Paris, so sad :-(
While getting our coffee that morning, we had our first experience with the "Paris waiter", except it was a waitress, but either way. We sat down at a café and ordered our coffees and while we were waiting for them to be brought out, an older couple sat at the table next to us (and proceeded to smoke while the wind blew right at us....yuk!) which still happened to be still dirty. The waitress took their order and in a few minutes, came back with their drinks, at which time, all hell broke loose. The man next to us (of course, this is all in French, therefore, our translation is mainly speculation) said something to the waitress about needing to clear the table before giving them their drinks which escalated into an all-out yelling match between the waitress and the man (something that would never be tolerated in the US's "customer is always right" restaurant industry) with the waitress making the argument that they could have sat at any of the clean tables while the man got angrier and angrier. Eventually, what seemed like a manager or head-waiter came by and tried to calm everything down but by this time, the customer was livid and said to his wife, "let's go". The waitress was in tears while the manager tried to comfort her, telling her it was ok and not to worry about it. It was a very strange incident for me to witness after all of my years of restaurant work, but on the whole, that was the only negative experience we had with the servers in France.

After coffee we did a lot more walking around; we went to Île de la Cité (island on the river, originally, the city was sequestered to this island) to see Notre Dame de Paris and other landmarks that I don't remember anymore(such as the one pictured below).
By this time, we started to get anxious for lunch so we began to search for a store to supply the lunch we had in mind. Eventually we found an open grocery store, well, it was only open for 5 more minutes so we ran in, grabbed a round of cheese and some wine (which took some strategy, since we hadn't brought the corkscrew...mental note for next trip), then a few streets over, we managed to find an open bakery where we bought a baguette, then we took our loot to the other side of the river to eat our lunch on the river bank with a beautiful view of Notre Dame and Île Saint Louis, which was thoroughly enjoyable. After lunch we walked across the bridge to Île Saint Louis which was the French's first attempt at city planning resulting in blocks and blocks of magnificent mansions connected by one way streets. They were gorgeous but I can't imagine living somewhere so massive. I thought we had a lot of stuff, but I'm sure that everything filling up my parents basement and the guest room at the Reindl's wouldn't even be able to fill one floor of the 7 or 8 floor houses on the island. We then walked back to Île de la Cité where we contemplated climbing the stairs to the top of Notre Dame, but we were already planning to walk up to the 2nd floor (remember, 43 flights of stairs) of the Eiffel Tower and decided that doing both would just be too much. We did get the typical touristy pictures in front of the church though.

The walk back to the hotel/Eiffel Tower was fairly uneventful although I did find my Parisian dream house. It's the little one with the big blue door, squashed between the two 6 story houses. And to go along with my adorable house with the big blue door, I will drive this will blue car. It will be perfect!

The walk up to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower was not nearly as strenuous as I had imagine it would be, but I have also been walking at least 2 miles (and some days, many more) every day since moving here over a month ago. So I guess in a way, we had been "training" for this ascent. The view was amazing and only one girl came running down the stairs crying and looking as though she would be sick from the height. Here I am after the climb.After walking up the first half (roughly) of the tower, we bought tickets and got in line to ride the elevator to the top floor; unfortunately, there aren't stairs to the top, otherwise we would have done the whole thing. The Tower was pretty packed, which wasn't too much of a surprise since all of the stores were closed and what else are the tourists going to do on a Sunday?
The photo above is my favorite view from the top of the Eiffel Tower, although we still haven't figured out what the building is.
And here is a super cheese picture of Michael and I on the top floor. I hate kissing pictures, I guess I'm just really not a PDA (public display of affection -- for you clueless people) type of person, but Mary made me promise to get a kissing picture on top of the Eiffel Tower. So Mary, this one's for you!
And the whole time in the tower we were 5,849 km or 3,634 miles from home, or close to home at least.

Since it was a Sunday and so many places were closed, we couldn't find anywhere we would rather eat than the little place next to the hotel. It was nice and familiar by this point. Michael ordered a croque madame which is exactly like the croque monsignor I had earlier in the weekend (opened faced ham and cheese) but with a fried egg on top and I ordered french onion soup; I think we were still trying to recover from the massive amount of food we had eaten on Saturday. By this time we were getting a little depressed at the though of having to go home, but we had an hour left so we got our bags from the hotel and did one last lap around les Invalides which is a large block of buildings which was originally used as a war hospital but is now a museum and the final resting place of Napoleon. Here is a picture of it all lit up at night:
And finally, I'll leave you with a favorite picture of Paris taken with the help of a stone wall because we don't have a tripod.

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