On Saturday November 14th, I planned to meet up with my long time pen pal, we have been writing to each other since the 7th grade when I took my first french class. I texted her that morning to see if she and her hubby were still coming into Paris, since the attacks the night before. Her response, was that their train was on time and we will see them at the restaurant! I quickly facebooked the restaurant to double confirm they would in fact be open, as all national monuments, museums and a number of shops were simply closed. They confirmed that they would be open and will not hide behind closed doors in the face of terrorism. A naturally French response if you ask me. The whole way to the cafe, I was worried I would not recognize Aurelie, when in fact, I knew her immediatly. Our cafe was off the beaten path and they had to help translate the menu for us and order for us. I was the designated french speaker on this portion of the trip but honestly I was a little embarrassed to speak in front of them! What if I totally mis pronounced something!
After a truly French meal, we all took the metro to Sacre-Couer, a beautiful white church a top a hill in the Montmartre district of Paris. Even with everything else closed, Sacre-Couer was open to patrons for prayer and viewing of the sanctuary. Photos were not allowed, but the interior of the building was beautiful and I am so glad to have been able to experience it while we were there and with friends!
After, touring the church we took the metro down to see Notre Dame, which was closed but we were able to walk all the way around it and because it was closed the crowds were much smaller. We also went to the Eiffel Tower, Aurelie explained that when they come to Paris for work they don’t get to enjoy the sight seeing things. They had never seen Sacre Couer, Notre Dame or Eiffel Tower, nor had they ever been to the museums or other monuments.
After a long day, of sight seeing and spending time getting to talk to old friends, we ended the day at a cafe near the Bastille having a coffee. They talked to us about what the Bastille was and how you can still see the border of the prison on the sidewalk. In all my travels, I am so grateful to have kept up with my pen pal and spent some time with her and her husband. That night, Travis and I visited a restaurant not far from our flat for the most amazing french meal from our time there. I started with a cauliflower soup, calamari risotto and finished with creme brûlée. I may have wanted to lick the bowl…
The next morning was our last day in Paris, we spent the day with my In Laws, seeing and walking Paris along the Seine. While in Paris, I fell in love with the Art Nouveau style Metro signs…
I should mention it took a long time to get this photo, as people kept walking between me and it…
We started by visiting the exterior of the Louvre, since when we saw it Friday night it was dark. The glass pyramid is so much more spectacular at night in my opinion but I love the contrast of modern and french neoclassicism. From here we walked to the Seine and by my favorite Museum; Musee d’Orsay.
As, we walked along the river we enjoyed the casual day. This isn’t something everyone gets to enjoy when visiting Paris. But since everything was still closed we where able to just walk and enjoy seeing all the little details of the city.
When we approached the Latin Quarter we decided to stop for lunch, I had an omelet with fromage while Travis had escargot. Our little cafe was next to the most gorgeous metro sign, and I picked up my Paris Starbucks mug while Travis went to a record shop and got 2 french labeled 7″ vinyl.
That night we went on a river dinner cruise. It wasn’t nearly as amazing as I hoped. And I may have been a grump about the menu, veal or salmon. I don’t endorse veal for an ethical reason and salmon just isn’t something I like. But before getting on the boat, I was able to enjoy seeing the Eiffel Tower lit up one more time. So, yeah. That was our trip. The airport was chaotic the next day, as you’d expect so I won’t bore you with those details. Instead I’ll leave you with this.
C’est la vie!