Day two in Paris is usually off to a late start. You are jet lagged, didn't sleep well or just lying in bed thinking "I am in fucking Paris" for a little while longer than is necessary. Of course, I was up early and out and about in search for pain au chocolate for my beloved. Early morning walks, meandering down unknown streets, watching the City come awake are some of my favorite times. There is something about the light and the quiet that I love.
Then back to the apartment to start the process of waking people and deciding what to do for the day.
First we wandered over to the local weekly market. The fruit, the fresh cheese, the flowers. We got fresh pasta to make a meal later that night brought it all back to the apartment and then headed for the metro. If you have ever been on the metro in Paris you know that is like a city underground. To use the metro, figure out where you want to go and which line will get you there, then follow the signs that say the final destination of the line and go in that direction. Perhaps change trains, once or twice, go up stairs, down stairs, use a people walker, wait for the train, press the button to open the doors, jump in, go, and jump off and hopefully be where you wanted to be. And remember always keep that metro ticket handy.
We went to the Hotel De'Ville and walking across the Seine to Notre Dame. On the way we saw Cinderella with her Prince Charming putting her slipper on her foot. Yes, really. It started to sprinkle and we decided to duck into one of the nearby cafe's for lunch and hope the it stopped raining. We could see the plaza in front of Notre Dame and the LONG line of people waiting to get in. It was a very long line, until it was not. Suddenly there was no one on the plaza except policemen with machine guns and red and white stripped tape. Hmm... We did not panic we simply continued our lunch and watched. I actually watched a group of people walk up and try to go around the tape, the look on the policeman's face should have been enough to stop them, but no. He had to shout at them and shoo them away. I truely believe that no matter what language you speak or don't speak, if you see a policeman with a machine gun standing between you and where you want to go, you might think twice.
We waited until the rain stopped and went outside just as the police where leaving and we rushed to get in line. Great timing. We were in within a couple of minutes. When did the line to get into Notre Dame become so long. Am I dating myself when I say the first time I went there was no line, you just waltzed in off the street?
I liked it better than. You did not have the tourist that does not understand personal space and keeps pushing into your cousin trying to make the line move faster. Notre Dame is special and I will always be in awe of its beauty no matter how many people try and push by me. Just breathe and look up.
Then we decided to jump on the Big Bus. The Big Bus is a jump on and off tourist bus that takes you all over Paris, by all the major tourist attractions. While you might pooh-pooh such a tourist trap, it really is a unique way to see the City and to see all the sites. Being up so high gives you a different perspective and being able to jump on and off all over the City saves your feet.
We jumped off at the Trocadero, which is right across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower! It is normally a really pretty place and the place to take your first Eiffel Tower picture.
Being so close to the national holiday, Bastille Day, the fountains as fenced off (this is where they shoot off the fireworks) and the police presence is very visible. You walk down and across the Seine and then you are at the foot of the Tower. While the lines to go were not terrible, the security was tight. The base is all blocked off, you need to go thru metal detectors and that is life. We did not go up.
We jumped back on the bus and headed back to Notre Dame to catch the metro and come back home.
It was late by the time we got back, so we will use our beautiful ingredients tomorrow night for dinner.
However our night was not over. We got back to our apartment and threw open all the windows only to close them soon after due to a tremendous thunder storm. Rain, rain, rain. And you know you have to close the windows when it rains, which mean you look out the windows into your neighbors windows. I must say you don't expect to see your neighbor standing in just his socks at his window. But that is what Beth saw as she went to close one of the windows. While I know that the sight of a naked man is not new to her, she was a bit shocked and we had a good laugh. Of course, we laughed harder the next time we looked because our new best friend was now pleasuring himself in the window. Perhaps looking for an audience? We did remark how could he get it up with women laughing so hard at the sight? Hmmmm.
Off to bed, listening to the rain and dreaming of another day tomorrow.
Oh, and remember when I said keep your metro ticket handy? It is because there are the ticket police and they can stop you and ask for your ticket at any time. We were stopped on our way out of the metro, luckily we all had our tickets. Not like the first time I was stopped. I had dropped my ticket at some point and when stopped could not produce a valid ticket. My friend Dominic tried to slip me his, but alas, I ended up paying a pretty steep fine, so keep those tickets handy!