Saturday, July 5, 2014

France Day Three, Paris

It's no secret that I don't like big cities; however, I felt we were close enough to Paris (a two-hour drive) that it would just be wrong not to spend a day there. Especially since the girls wanted to see the Eiffel Tower. So while we were getting ready in the morning, Eric found a patisserie and brought home chocolate croissants, apple-cinnamon rolls and custard tarts. We were going to take the train to Paris from Arras but the machine wouldn't take our US credit cards and we missed the train, so we decided to drive instead. We found a place inside Paris where we could park for free (I LOVE TripAdvisor!) and started out our day in Paris near the Chateau de Vincennes.

Chateau de Vincennes

The castle at Chateau de Vincennes
We walked around there for a bit and then took the underground to the Eiffel Tower. We got on the wrong train and then got off and while Eric was trying to figure out which train we needed, Bianca and I found this great little clothing shop in the subway. We each bought a sweater for 10 Euro each. After we got off the train, we started off with lunch. We just stopped at a restaurant a block from the Eiffel Tower. The food was pretty good there. Eric ordered steak tartar (I don't know how he can eat raw meat), but I kind of felt like a hamburger (missing home, perhaps?). I saw someone in the restaurant eating a hamburger with a fork and knife, but I figured I'd just do it the old-fashioned way and each with my hands. It's not really a secret that we're Americans. They were nice and spoke very good English at this restaurant (and offered an English menu).

After lunch, we headed over to the Eiffel Tower and hung out at the park around it and took some pictures.

We walked around a bit after, but it was a bank holiday today and a lot of the shops weren't open. We walked a ton though. Eric was tracking it with an app on his phone and we walked over 10 miles today!

We finally did find some open shops, but shopping in Paris was a bit overwhelming! It rained for about an hour in the afternoon and we didn't have coats or umbrellas, so we went into a patisserie and snacked on some meringue treats. We did go into some shops, but the only thing we bought was a couple boxes of macaroons and a notebook for Portia. My favorite macaroons of the day were: strawberry-mint, lime basil and chocolate-coconut. Eric's was the peach...

We walked to the Louvre but it was getting late and we frankly didn't have the time to go in. The girls LOVED the Locks of Love bridge where people have locked their names and then threw the key into the river. 

We rested on some benches in the courtyard of the Louvre. Beautiful building!

Did I mention how much we walked?

. . . and walked?

Bianca, entertaining herself during all our walking
Portia says she doesn't like macaroons (crazy!) so I let her get this chocolate sucker at the macaroon shop while we were having macaroons. Portia ate it on the train back to our car. Yeah, it was so crowded in there we didn't get to sit together. At least most of us had seats!

We were exhausted by the end of our day, but I really am glad we made it to Paris. We didn't get back until well after dark and we got stuck in a thunderstorm. The navigation (we called her "Carlotta" in our rental car) tried to take us home through some ridiculous field (we could not see a road!) that was dangerously close to a lake or river. We were so scared, Eric ended up turning us around after half a mile and we realized that Carlotta was in fact trying to kill us!

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