Thursday, July 16, 2015

Au revior Paris

Les Invalides
I love Paris.  We all did.  The food was absolutely delicious.  Not just at the cafes and restaurants but also anything we picked up at each market.  The bread, pastries, cakes and tarts were all so good.  We found a little Boulangerie right around the corner from where we were staying and all of us loved picking up fresh bread or croissants for breakfast.  The owner of the shop soon recognized us since we frequented her shop at least once a day.
Eiffel Tower at Night
The neighborhood we stayed in, in the 19th arrondissment was perfect.  It was a quick 5 minute walk to the metro and the shops and restaurants were easy to get to and very reasonably priced.  We found this great little sandwich shop that we got sandwiches, drinks and crepes for less then $30, now for a family of 7 that is a bargain. The crepes everywhere we went were fantastic, but probably my favorite was the ones Rachel and I got on our second to last night there.  I decided to take Rachel to see the Eiffel Tower at night.  We picked up a couple of sugar and Grand Marnier crepes and watched the tower twinkle it's lights on the hour.   We also found that most people were very friendly.  We preferred frequenting the smaller specialty shops then the larger supermarket.  The people that worked in the supermarkets just seemed annoyed that you were shopping there. Everyone we encountered in the specialty shops were pleasant and helpful.  Justin and I got lots of comments about our FIVE children. They were all surprised at the amount of children we had.  We even had a metro musician stop playing to count them all and then got an "ohh la la" from him.  I think we were a bit of a novelty in Paris.
One of the things that we noticed was that it did seem like Paris has gotten much more crowded in recent years.  We were all a little surprised that when you visited Notre Dame and Sacre Couer Cathedrals you were funneled through on a carpeted path around the perimeter of the church.  People are no longer allowed to visit the center of the church where the pews are located.  I can totally understand, because I wouldn't want some crazy tourist poking me in the head with his selfie stick while I was trying to pray.  The amount of selfie sticks are ridiculous.  I was a little offended at the lack of respect that people had in the churches.  And if low and behold you don't have a selfie stick you can buy one from one of the hundreds of street vendors standing outside selling them for 2 Euros a piece.  We even got a guy who attached his GoPro to a selfie stick and recorded our entire boat trip on the Seine, all 65 minutes of it.  I wonder how many times he will pull that out and watch it. Never. But he did annoy the people around him as they tried to get a photo without his GoPro in it and then he would suddenly move it back into their frame. Yes, every time.


The other thing that was a little nerve racking was the thought of getting robbed.  I was aware of the risk but I was surprised at how many metro workers and police officers warned us about pick pockets.  Everywhere we went we would get a warning, especially in the high tourist areas.  I over heard a couple of thieves on the Metro discussing in French how to take a tourists SLR camera slung over her shoulder.  We also saw someone try and snatch a bag from a blind man.  So my advice is to get a deep purse or bag, put your valuable at the very bottom and put a sweater or scarf over it. Despite the selfie sticks and the pick pockets we had a fabulous time.  The food was great, the sites were beautiful and the majority of the people were kind.  Paris was great!

Eden having a snack waiting for the next Metro train

Institute de France

Notre Dame from the Seine

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