Thursday, December 4, 2008

Paris



Paris was a whirlwind. On the train back I said to David, “Did we really just take the train into Paris yesterday?” We packed in a lot.

On Tuesday we arrived in Paris at 11 am and took a taxi directly to the hotel to drop off our stuff. We’ve found a great B&B that we’ve made our home when we’re there. It’s expensive, but any decent place seems to be and this is a lovely, small (12 rooms), place owned by a British couple who make their own jam (need I say more?). They go out of their way to make you feel comfortable, have a fridge and dining room you can use for meals, and have Wi-Fi.

After getting settled we walked to the Eiffel Tower and then hopped the Batobus for a quick ride along the Seine to the Musée d’Orsay. Having learned that food always makes my daughter happier, we stopped in at a lovely little Italian place for some pasta and a glass of wine first. I then decided to resort to the use of bribes to convince her to “rest” in her stroller for an hour while David and I cruised the museum. Of course, the resting never happened, and there were several meltdowns in the museum, but it was well worth it. Afterwards I had to make good on my promise, so I took us on an interminably long and circuitous route (I misread the map) to what turned out to be fabulous gelato (for A) and much needed coffee (for us).

The following morning, after the requisite croissant and jam at the B&B, we set off for Notre Dame (billed as a “castle” to Anna). Surprisingly this was among the easiest sightseeing destinations we’ve had with Anna, probably because I kept pointing out all the “kings” and “princesses” on the walls. The best part, however, was the creche which had been modernized with computerized lights that I’m at a bit of a loss to describe. I’m embedding photos that won’t begin to do it justice. Suffice it to say that we were all mesmerized for a full 10 minutes just watching the baby Jesus and his princess posse get all sparkly and colorful.

Of course by then little miss was once again starving, so we stopped for fabulous crêpes and vin chaud at a stand by the cathedral. (Side note: vin chaud is a hot spiced wine and is super yummy. I Googled for recipes and plan on drinking it daily for the rest of the winter in place of the Emergen-C I was drinking stateside.) After we refueled we headed to the Centre Pompidou, stopping first at the amazing fountain outside. Despite the rain, we all had such a great time looking at all the outrageous Niki Saint Phalle sculptures (I got some great photos — definitely head over to the Flickr page to see them all).

Inside the Pompidou I got a painfully short, but totally rapturous 45 minutes to myself in the Art Moderne 1905-1950 section, which is where my passions lie. Room after room of Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, Miró — just ecstasy for me. I will definitely be going back for several hours before our trip ends. This was followed by (what else) more food, this time awesome Israeli falafels in the Marais district (I could seriously lead eating tours through Paris). Then we raced to the previously mentioned stroller rental shop, cabbed it to the hotel and then to the train station, and were back in Rouen by dinner time.

Today we just hung out and took it easy. Anna found a copy of “Monsters, Inc.” which she’d never seen (up till now, the only feature film she’d seen was “Finding Nemo”) so we put it on the big screen here with the projector and all sat together watching it. Quite a treat to just watch a matinee on a Thursday afternoon all together.

And now, it’s bedtime. Bonne nuit.

3 comments:

Andy said...

I'm totally living vicariously through you guys. Keep these entries coming!

Oh, and what's the name of the B&B, and how much is "expensive" by Paris standards? Or is it just compounded by the low dollar?

Strongrrl said...

The B&B is the Hotel Valadon . The prices vary depending on the room you choose, but are around 150-175 Euros. Definitely not expensive by Paris standards, just by ours. I just added the photos, so you can see David and Anna enjoying breakfast in their dining room. The rooms are quite large for Paris and the location is great. Super kid-friendly too.

Rafael said...

I live rue Cler, one block away from this hotel. I could have bumped into you in the street!