Sunday, July 03, 2011

Sunday Morning... in Paris

Sunday morning, we took the metro over to Ile de la Cite. For some reason, I thought that Notre Dame took up most of the island, and we wouldn't be able to miss it. The island really isn't that big. But we couldn't see it, so we just wandered around a little bit. We ran into a little flower market selling fresh flowers and pets all along one of the streets. I've heard about places in some cities where locals (especially men) will gather in the evenings or on weekends to just sort of relax and chat. This seemed to be one of those places. It was fun wandering through and looking at all the little bunnies, hamsters, guinea pigs, birds (Dave has been in Russia too long, and wouldn't allow petting or holding), but I really liked watching all the locals. I don't know why I didn't take any pictures...
Here in Moscow, almost all of our neighbors leave the country for every school break (which is every six weeks during the school year, and then all summer). We knew at least two other families that would be in Paris at the same time that we would. We ran into one of them in front of Notre Dame this morning, and asked them to take our picture. Thanks Beth!

They were in the middle of a service as we wandered through with approximately 500 other people. I can't imagine sitting through a church service while tourists wandered all around the whole time. They won't let you in wearing shorts though, so everyone was dressed pretty respectfully, and everyone was quiet. Our kids were the only kids I saw. Thankfully they were quiet too.

They were singing prayers and scriptures the whole time we wandered through, peeking into tiny chapels and seeing all the beautifully carved confessionals. It made for a peaceful, reverent stroll.

After seeing the inside, we grabbed a little snack - crepes for the kids and croque monsieurs for Dave and me (French class special - had to have it! "Je voudrais un croque monsieur, s'il vous plait.").

And we wandered around to the back to get a different view.

We contemplated climbing the stairs to the top or taking a tour of the crypt, but decided against it this time, preferring a relaxing stroll over to Ile St. Louis.

We were there early in the morning (apparently 10:30 is relatively early for a Sunday morning), so a lot was closed, but Ile St. Louis is such a cute little quaint island. I originally wished I would have gone there first thing in town, but I think it was a sweet little finish after visiting all the crowded, more iconic tourist areas. I can't wait to go back there one day.

We had to pass several ice cream shops before we found this Berthillon (and it was open! what luck!) - the ice cream we had travelled hundreds of miles to eat! And it was so worth it! Ask Dave about it today, and he will melt just thinking about it.
The kids both stuck with chocolate, but to call it classic would be an insult. Yum! I had chocolate ice cream with sorbet orange sanguine - blood orange. It was delicious. Dave tried the raspberry and the white peach. Mmmmhhh, since a trip back to Paris isn't in our immediate plans, I think it's time to pull out the ice cream maker, and see what we can do. I don't know how long I can live without that ice cream.

The last thing on my to do list was a walk along the Seine, so we descended the stairs, and I'll just say this: for everyone who thinks Paris is a dirty city, I totally disagree. I thought it was just as clean as any big city in the United States. Unless you are walking along the lower level on the Seine. Maybe we were just in the wrong area, but it was disgusting. If you had to walk there for some reason, I would recommend wearing shoes and socks, and bringing along a tetanus shot. It was pretty disappointing.

So, we walked the rest of the way to the metro along these art vendors, picking up a few postcards for souvenirs along the way.
Then we headed back to our hotel to pack our bags and say au revoir to Paris, but not to France...

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