Saturday, July 14, 2012

Getting Reacquainted

First off I want to thank Simon for so enthusiastically taking up the challenge to write a post for the blog. He put a lot of thought into it and it was great to see his perspective on coming to France. Simon is a persistent dude - he was telling his Mom back when we were all in PEI on how much fun it would be to meet up with us.

One of the unique challenges in keeping the blog updated is finding the time when you are in "go-mode" trying to see and do as much as you can. Case in point for us - Paris and the Alsace.

This is my third trip to Paris, and of course Heather is a Parisian veteran after working there for a year. Paris to me is one of those cities where regardless of how much time I have there, it is never enough.

We actually got into Paris a couple of days before Joanne and Simon's arrival. We found the building and got inside using the security code the owner had provided to us. Easy.

The next step was to get the unit key from under the butterfly doormat. Heather located the doormat, only there was no key. Now we had just a wee bit of doubt start to creep in. We wondered if maybe we were wrong, and we were supposed to be at the next unit down the hall (there were no numbers on the doors).

So Heather proceeds down the hall and lifts the mat.Voila - the key! She uses it to open the door and cautiously look inside and say hello. No answer, but something seems a bit off. From behind her I could see that there appeared to be someones stuff in the doorway, and there was a lit room just off the doorway with a closed door. A closed door that was now opening with an  older woman emerging from it.  A brief bit of confusion and communication followed, where it quickly became evident that yes, we had broken into this poor woman's apartment by accident. We explained about the missing key and she very graciously connected us with the local landlady who let us into the real apartment.

Once that bit of social awkwardness was behind us we started our exploration of Paris. The first night was went walkabout with the intent of simply getting to the Seine River. On the way we saw the first of many Parisian landmarks, the fabled home of the Phantom, the Paris Opera House.

From there we continued to head whichever way the river was. Of course, when we finally got there, there was this very tall point object off in the not-too-far distance that we decided should be our new target destination for the night.

The main attraction of the next day was a trip to Per Lachaise cemetery for Chloe to get a lesson in pop culture with a visit to Jim Morrison's grave. Both Heather and I had visited it in the past, and we were curious whether it still was the "hangout" place it was back then.

After giving Chloe a crash course in the Doors and answering questions about how he died and what the difference was between his death and Michael Jackson's (I'm not quite sure how that connection was made) we arrived. Very different and organized with Jim's grave actually having fencing around it now. A few people paying their respects, but definitely not the hippie hang-out that it was 20 years ago.

The unexpected part of the Per Lachaise visit happened as we made our way to an exit. We came upon a number of grave sites marking the passing of people who had perished in WW2 at Nazi concentration camps. The numbers were astounding, and a grim reminder of what the people of France experienced not too long ago. Personally it made me reflect on how fortunate I and others of my generation have been to not have to experience that which so many have. I wondered if I would have stood up to the challenge. I'd like to think so, but thankfully it's one test I have never had to take.

The rest of our visit to Paris was a whirlwind of activity as we were joined by Joanne and Simon. One of the mistaken assumptions we made about the trip was that we would encounter many other families along the way and there would be many opportunities for Chloe to play with kids. Nope - the poor kid has had to essentially make do with her parents as her main source of playmates for many months. It was great to see how quickly Chloe and Simon got reacquainted with each other.

Their reaction after having to sample escargot
The reaction after experiencing Thunder Mountain at Disneyland Paris
This is Thunder Mountain for any who have yet to have the pleasure

The rest of our time in Paris had us going from exploring the catacombs beneath the city...

Alas Poor Yorick..... climbing the steps of the Eiffel Tower to get  top deck view of the city

All roads lead to the Arc some catching some wind and burning some rubber in the Jardin Du Luxembourg

Chloe - tell your Dad to stop playing with our boat!
Racers start your engines!
.... to climbing the sainted steps of Sacre Couer getting some culture at the Louvre, Musee d'Orsay, Versailles, and Notre Dame Paris always managed to remind us why we do love it so.
Mona and the Paparazzi
The wall of misfit paintings right behind Mona's wall
One of the only things in Musee D'Orsay you can take a picture of. Unlike say...The Louvre
The majestic Hall Of Mirrors from Versailles
Joanne hoping for a drink
Notre Dame
Au revoir Paris, nous serons de retour!

1 comment:

  1. Child abuse in Paris!! Simon looks like he's been poisoned and is ready to hurl and all I can hear on the video is poor Chloe screaming with fear at the top of her lungs. Incroyable!!