18 June 2011

Paris promenading

overnight: we all got a good night sleep. yay. it really was a quiet hotel despite its location.

morning: we were intrigued to explore the neighborhood so we started out in the direction dave had walked with X the night before. we wandered into an organic shop (pimlico) and got a few good snack items for us. then we headed toward the area dave thought he had read was the neighborhood marketing area. it was starting to drizzle so this was a perfect time to duck into a covered saturday market and get the fun food vibes. we even found a beer stand that dave looked longingly at.

after a brief downpour, we followed the trail of people streaming down the street with multiple baguettes under their arms. success. we found the source to be coming from a tasty organic bakery near the market (moisan). dave nabbed a loaf of sliced raisin bread and a warm, crusty baguette. this is what i had been missing in grenoble! we were never able to find a really good, satisfying bakery there. thankfully paris solved that problem.

while we munched on bread we came upon a neighborhood playground for X. it was drizzly, but we let her down to mill around while we snacked. then we scooped her up and found an entry up to the promenade plantée. this is a cool place. an old railway was coverted into a narrow above ground green space. it seemed just past it flower blooming peak, but was still a gorgeous little find. good work dave.

(raisin bread at the playground; walking along the promenade plantée)

**this is where i will insert some advice for paris: if you arent in need of "doing paris" then you can certainly "experience paris" by finding any well-rated hotel in your budget (try booking.com) and booking a room for a week. each arrondissement (there are 20 numbered sections of paris) has multiple neighborhoods. they each have a life and vibrancy all their own. if you wander and find out what your neighborhood has to offer you will inevitably end up living the life of a real french person for a short while: lots of walking, sitting at cafes and people watching, finding out who your neighborhood food vendors are and choosing your favorite nearby bakery to frequent regularly. in this way you will actually absorb the real paris and i would argue are much more affected than any trip to the louvre or elevator ride to the top of the eiffel tower would give you.**

and, back to our story...after the promenade, we picked up some lunchables and came back to the hotel to eat and nap.

(smiles while playing at the hotel window. french windows are awesome and these looked out onto the busy street, which X loved)

afternoon/evening: we walked to the jardin des plantes from our hotel. it began to rain. while it lightly sprinkled, we were sheltered under the dreamy canopy of trees lining our path in the park. our destination was an indoor activity, which was perfect due to the rain. we did the galerie de l'evolution. a nice museum, though not as awesome as billed.

(the second floor had tons of huge mammals lined up in procession. it was neat to be up close to life-sized versions)

as we exited the museum, it was sunny! we walked for a while trying to find a place for dinner and ended up at a random brasserie (le 38) and it was decent! i got veal with fries and dave got a steak with pepper sauce and fries. a good, simple meal. we realized it was our first restaurant outing in france. it went smoothly, but even just one day away from the grenoble apartment with its refrigerator and permanency was causing issues for us with having a good variety and quality of food to offer X at each meal. she did eat the veal with me though.

after dinner we walked the promenade along quai saint bernard all the way up to notre dame. it was way too touristy so we walked back to our hotel along the other side of the seine. the first part of our post-dinner walk had been lovely, but as we entered tourist heaven it just got unpleasant and un-french. plus X barely ate enough at dinner to keep her focus. she was picking up trash and was not in the mood to follow instructions. it wasnt fun. it was a bummer that we werent going to make it to see the eiffel tower glitter at 10p. :(

(walking along the quai next to the seine river; notre dame at around 8:30p)

when we got back to the hotel, i was hungry for vegetables or food, in general. i managed to order veggie cous cous to-go from a place near the hotel. the cous cous was a hard dish to pack to-go so they let me take their plates and cutlery back to the hotel and eat in our room. i then had to bring the plates back. it was weird. but the food was decent and cheap. X ate a few carrots and chickpeas, so that made me happy. and we all managed to get to sleep with fairly full tummies.

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