Today Mark and I woke up and decided that we wanted another baguette, pain du raisin and pain du chocolate. We headed over to the supermarche to pick up more fromage et une coke that we accidentally drank last night out of the mini bar. Mark had asked for a beer and I handed him a diet coke. It was gross, and we felt obligated to drink it because it was 3.50€. We went to the store and replaced it, so hopefully they don’t notice!!!
We had planned to go up the Eiffel Tower today, but decided that it was over rated. Why go up the tower, and see the city… without the tower?? We went to the Montmartre district of Paris, and more specifically to the Sacré Cœur (Sacred Heart) church. This church is the second highest view of Paris after the Eiffel Tower, and you can see the tower from the church. The church was amazing. It had the single most beautiful picture of Jesus I have ever seen above the altar. The church also had little altars on each side, each with a huge mosaic of a beautiful biblical scene on both sides... They were just lovely. I wasn’t able to take pictures because they asked us not to- but they had a gift shop and I bought a book. We decided that we wanted to see the crypt of the church, and followed the signs labeled “To the Crypt” thinking it would lead us to the crypt. We saw that the crypt and the tower had the same staircase, so we paid the 5€ and walked 300 stairs straight up into the tower. We were perplexed as to how our trek to the crypt led us into the tower. We met a nice couple from Boston at the top of the church who had just gotten engaged the day before, right near our hotel. They were very nice, and we joked and laughed about the crypt, because they wanted to find it also. Long story short, after wandering around, taking in the lovely view, and going back down a gazillion stairs, we found the crypt at the very bottom of the stairs… and it was closed. Ugh!
We walked around the Montmartre district and saw a ton of artists at work. It was really fun to see that. We stopped at a bakery and got our first French chocolate éclair… it was superb. It was amazingly delicious. We walked over to the Salvador Dali museum and took in all of his insanity. It was pretty neat, but none of his famous paintings were in it. We then ate our lunch of bread and cheese on a bench overlooking Paris. We walked down the hill (Montmartre is on a huge hill) and ran into the Moulin Rouge, it was neat, but nothing special. We keep running into a place called Flunch, and it makes us laugh. We also saw a place called Chicken Corner, that had fried chicken. From there we hopped on a train home from the Metro station.
Once at home we broke down and paid the 15€ for internet at our hotel because our computer broke, and found a new hotel for tomorrow night. It’s in the area we keep finding ourselves in, and we love the Latin Quarter. (Mark)After that was taken care of, we headed out to find something to eat. We thought we’d check out our neighborhood to see if there was anything we missed out on, but it was only 6 or 6:30, and since the French generally don’t eat until after 7:00…nobody was serving dinner. It was nice explore another part of Paris, but we were hungry, so we moved on back to our favorite neighborhood. Everyone we talked to about Paris said they kept going back to the same place and we are finding this to be true too. The Latin Quarter is the coolest area we’ve found so far. There are young people walking around, eating and hanging out. It’s kind of like some place we’d hang out back home…if something like it existed. After a little walking we found a place that had some outside seating and sat down. It was a great location right on the corner so is was excellent for people watching. It was neat to see so many different cultures all in the same place. Rachel and I enjoyed checking out the different fashions as people walked by. The difference between French style and American style is striking. Everyone here seems to dress nice, or “appropriately” as Rachel said. Nobody was wearing sweats because they weren’t at home or at the gym and nobody was wearing Ugg boots because it wasn’t snowing or whatever you wear Ugg boots for. Those are just a couple examples, but it was nice to see people actually put some thought into their clothing. Anyway, the food at the restaurant was pretty good. Not as great as the restaurant last Tuesday, but it was still tasty. I ordered a medium beer and Rachel had another glass of Beaujolais which was really good. We sat and talked for quite a while and then shared another glass of wine. After that we got up and did some exploring. I still don’t really know my way around, so it was fun to get lost and then figure out where we needed to go. We stopped at a creperie and each got a crepe. Mine was chocolate and banana and Rachel had one filled with honey. I don’t know how we managed to make room for them, but we did and it was awesome. The crepe guy is close to the RER station, so we got on and headed back to the hotel. Our bodies are really taking a toll from all the walking and stair climbing, so there will definitely be some bathtub soaking tonight.
Rachel again- I had to note that fashion here is so incredibly different. Everyone puts some thought into their appearance, and nobody is fat. Not everyone is wicked skinny, like I expected, but I am heavier than most French women. Its nice to see people take some control of their lives, most people walk everywhere they go, and ride public transit- which is something we should be pushing for in all of the metro areas of the US. The ladies all had nice hair, and they didn’t go overboard with makeup- none of that pancake make up that chicks wear back home. Also, we noticed that everyone here is brunette. It’s a strange thing, especially coming from California and Kansas City, where everyone is bottle blonde. There was no “in” hair style and I noticed that the older ladies just let their hair do whatever it did naturally without fighting it. If someone had windblown frizzy hair, they rocked it and made it look good. I saw a couple teenagers with flat ironed hair and blonde highlights, they were American- which became more obvious when they were all yelling at each other in line for a crepe. Not to be so down on Americans, but it was nice to see women especially, embrace who they are and work with it instead of against it. None of the older women were fighting the aging process, and looked amazing in the process.
Also, we have been truly enjoying the dogs here. I stepped in poop, but other than that, its been really fun. We saw a baby English bulldog, a few French bull dogs, a bull terrier, and lots of little dogs. The French love their dogs, and take them on the Metro, into stores, and out to eat with them. I think we have a lot to learn about dog culture from the French. Tonight Mark and I saw an off leash Doberman pincher run into a bar. The owner soon followed and took his seat in the bar with the dog. It was pretty neat seeing the dog just go to its destination. It was rush hour and a dobie was running off leash, down the side walk and nobody cared!
Tomorrow we sleep in, change hotels and maybe make it out to the catacombs!