To be truly Parisian...
Trip Start Jan 17, 2010
42Trip End May 18, 2010
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Where I stayed
rue de Lourmel
This past weekend, my cousins Patricia and Matt came to visit me in Paris. They are living and studying right now in Leiden, Netherlands. With only 3 weeks left in Paris (crazy, I know!) I made a huge list of everything I need to accomplish before I depart. Well thanks to the help of my two visitors, I blew through half my list and still did things, I never thought I'd ever get to do!
After rendez-vous(ing) in the morning at Denfert (they were staying in a hotel near my school), we flan(ed) from there to Luxembourg Palais and Jardins and stopped for a cafe at a brasserie. After discussing my endless "must to-do" list with them about Paris, we decided to rent bikes and bike Paris
Paris has an amazing rental bike system. There are dozens of bike stations all over the city, where all you have to do is become a "Velio" member; charge your card for a down payment of 150 euro (it's only 1 euro a day unless, you know, you decide to steal the bike, then it's 150 euro haha) and then choose between 1 and 7 day rentals. You can pick-up and drop-off the bikes at any one of the stations. After grabbing our bikes, we stopped at Monoprix and grabbed food for our afternoon picnic...in the Champ de Mars (Eiffel Tower Gardens!).
Perfect Picnic Necessities:
2 types of fromage
Bottle of Wine (which finished too early and half-way through, we searched and bought a second haha)
So after biking along the Quai D'Orsay (road along the Seine River) from Le Sorbonne to Champ de Mars, we picnicked in the clear blue skies (rarity in Paris) from 14h-18h! This is what it means and feels to be a Parisian. No cares, no need to keep track of time...you continue on when the wine runs dry. After finishing up with the setting sun, we picked up new bikes and continued along the Quai Branly, crossing the Seine at Pont de Bir Hakeim and biked along the North Quai of the Seine, until finishing in St
We rendez-vous(ed) at Denfert once again and decided to rent bikes for another day and bike up to Montmarte (the highest point in Paris and location of Sacre Coeur). To give you a sense of the distance, we biked from the middle of the 14th till the bottom of the 18th (uphill). Not to mention, the thrill of being on the edge of your seat while biking through Paris traffic (scooters, cars, buses...) was absolutely crazy! If you hesitate for one second, you're done. Luckily, once we got up near the 10th arrondissement, there were bike paths on the sidewalks, instead of biking in the street. Most thrilling part: biking through Place de la Republic (giant round-a-bout). That was insane! Once we got to Montmarte, we climbed up to Sacre Coeur, enjoyed our packed coffee-to-go and then biked back down to the 6th for some gyros for Patricia and Lebanon cuisine for Matt in St. Michel.
As if that wasn't enough for the day, we then decided to "flan" along the Quai St. Bernard, enjoying the Parisian open-air boutiques (little pop-up stations that sell old posters, books, Paris collectibles, etc) until reaching the Jardin des Plantes. Which upon arrival, much to mine and my cousin's surprise, has a menagerie (or a little zoo!) We stuck to just the floral gardens, but we did however get to see some kangaroos and ostriches! lol Who knew?!
At this point, we have exhausted every muscle, limb, etc. so we decided to crash on a grassy spot next to the Seine and enjoy a nice bottle of cider, before heading back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.
We ate at La Petite Chaise (claims to be Paris's oldest restaurant and Matt and Patricia's favorite in Paris) which is a small, two story place on Boulevard Grenelle. The downstairs had a cute, little, old wooden bar and brick/stone walls and the upstairs was covered in old, yellowy/gold wallpaper that looked like it popped out of Louis XIV's bedroom! haha
My 3 course meal:
Starter: escargot (Yes, I ate snails! I never thought I would, but I just decided to go for it! They were amazing; hot, covered in a pesto/garlic/butter sauce. A little chewy, but the flavor masked that!)
Entree: duo des poissons (cod and salmon with veggies)
Dessert: Crumble aux pommes (apple crumble with gingerbread topping and a scoop of vanilla ice cream)
Let's just say after finishing our meals, all 3 of us were in a "coma-like" state until being able to get the motivation and move. hahahaha Could not ask for more.
I found out that today just happened to be the Paris Marathon! So we rendez-vous(ed) at Quai D'Orsay (outside the Musee D'Orsay) and watched the handicap cyclers and front runners of the Paris Marathon! Crazy! And to top it off, there was no ropes or barriers for pedestrians: we stood on the Quai de Tuileries and if I truly wanted to, I could just join in and run along side the marathoners. Which some people actually did! Everyday citizens were allowed to run and bike along the route of the marathon as it was actually happening
After enjoying the marathon for bit, we headed back over to the Musee D'Orsay, where Patricia and I wandered through the beautiful museum (once an old Paris train station, now remodeled into a museum) and looked at the works of Monet, Renoir (our favorite), Haan, Rodin, etc.
And of course, to finish off the day, before they headed back to Leiden and seeing as it was Sunday and all, I took them to Le Marais for falafels and some flan(ing).
No need to rush, no need to squeeze everything in, just enjoying the fact that you are in Paris; couldn't ask for anything more. This place will be my "movable feast"...you can bet on it.