On Thursday morning in Paris, we were scheduled to go on the Paris Charms & Secrets Tour (before you click the link, know that it auto-plays music).
I wrote a review of the tour which you can see here: Review of Paris Charms & Secrets Tour. We were scheduled to meet our tour guide at Place Vendôme, which was excellent, because we hadn’t been there yet even though it was within walking distance of our apartment.
Our walk was not entirely pleasant, because. . . .
both M and J got hit by a car!!!
I am not kidding.
Some woman drove herself directly into the pedestrian walkway before realizing that the light was entirely too red to continue. And then the big piles of pedestrians–because it was morning rush hour, so it was busy–split and surged around her, at which point she panicked and started to back up, right into our daughters among others. They were totally fine. Pedestrians made their displeasure known. Incidentally, Parisian commuters are simply the most fabulous commuters ever. Cute W and I still regret that we didn’t take a picture of this one woman who was wearing some very chic outfit (sunglasses, fabulous stole, pencil skirt, high heels) while smoking a cigarette and driving her retro-styled motorbike.
Anyway, we decided to try our luck just finding breakfast along the way, and we picked up food at Aux Delices de Maison, which looks pretty terrible on Yelp, but we thought that it was tasty and reasonably priced.
Our tour guide was Sebastian, and he was very nice and entertaining. J was not a big fan of his because he was pressing a helmet on her (no one else was wearing a helmet in Paris and she didn’t want to, either. Yes, perhaps this sounds terrifying to you, but spoiler alert: we all made it home just fine). And by pressing, I don’t just mean advising her to wear it, but literally pressing it onto her head as if she were some sort of child. Anyone with even the slightest acquaintance with a 12-year-old girl knows that treating her like a child is pretty much the worst thing that you can do. The relationship remained chilly–at least on J’s side–for the rest of the tour.
This was an electric bikes tour, which sounded intriguing, but. . . meh. Riding a bike is actually not that difficult, so the extra power seemed unnecessary to us. It was also a little stressful for me and for J, because we were on busier roads with less guidance than our Blue Bikes tours.
The point of the tour is that it’s secrets, so I’m not giving you the full details, but we did see new and different stuff, so that was good. My absolute favorite-favorite-favorite stop was Le Procope, the oldest café in Paris. I hadn’t realized that it would be jam-packed with historical treasures like Voltaire’s desk and letters from Marie Antoinette and Robespierre. It was also the site of my most awesome chocolate viennois (hot cocoa with whipped cream) of the trip.
By the end of the tour we were overdue for lunch, which we ate at La Crêpe Rit du Clown. Honestly, I can’t remember much about this lunch.
It was a lovely day, and we spent a bit of time at Jardin du Luxembourg, where you can rent and sail a boat.
Look how easy that is! And reasonably priced, too.
We didn’t rent a boat, ourselves, but we appreciated the view and the chance to see plenty of Parisians and tourists just hanging out.
Then it was on to Musée d’Orsay.
I was pretty excited for this museum. It’s probably my favorite. Well, that or l’Orangerie. Oh, I can’t choose. Nope, Musée d’Orsay is my favorite.
We’d planned our visit for Thursday because it’s open late on Thursdays, so we had plenty of time. We loved it. Well, we were really, really tired, I’ll have to admit. We decided that no one in the family particularly cares for Cézanne. Also, I got chastised for putting my foot on a bench. At one point, we girls were all collapsed on these particularly lounge-y chairs.
But mostly, we looked and looked. Of course, I looked with the girls. . . .
. . . and Cute W looked with the girls, when he wasn’t taking pictures of us.
But what was so awesome was watching M and J wander the museum together.
They were discussing and considering. . .
and occasionally walking arm-in-arm. . .
. . . and arguing and laughing. . .
. . . and looking so earnest and interested. . .
. . . for such a long time. Cute W and I had lost steam and we collapsed every time we found a free bench, but the girls were just completely caught up in looking at everything. It was lovely to see. I love it when they’re happy together.
After the museum it was fairly late, and we headed to Le Saint Germain for dinner.
We started out outside, but here’s the sort of sad thing about sitting outside a Parisian restaurant. Everybody’s smoking. Like, everybody. So we sat down, but then one of the lights was flickering annoyingly and everyone was smoking, and we’re all supposed to face out to the street instead of each other, so we ended up asking to go upstairs where the tourists belong. It was lovely upstairs. Our waiter was very nice. Our food was not the best of our trip, but we had another fun, chatty, long meal, so that was excellent. I believe at this point Cute W was showing how adept we’d become at handling our escargots, and M is cheering him on.
As we walked home we were passing right along the Place de la Concorde end of the Champs-Élysées, and Cute W said, “What’s going on?” The whole street was closed off and there were sirens. He pulled out his phone to check and news of the shooting was all over the place, and Facebook was asking him to check in and confirm he was safe.
Yep, we were. We headed home. In fact, this is likely why I can’t remember as much about what we ate for today, because instead of taking notes when we got home, I was reading the updated news. The girls, meanwhile, were asleep almost instantly.