I was determined that today would be an epic day. Epically Parisian. I’m not sure exactly what that is, but I was prepared to do whatever it takes. This day would be rated E for Epic. I would not back down.We left the hotel at 11, which is not epic. Most of us slept through breakfast; also not epic. Our first stop was the catacombs but the line was about 2 hours long (un-epic.) But the rest of the day? Epic.
Everyone splintered into little groups today. Ames, Emily, and Nate went to the Pantheon, visited Montmartre, and did the boat tour. Tatijanna and Whitney revisited Versailles. Josh, Aubrey, Devin, Jason and I determined that we would not do anything that required us to wait in lines. And we didn’t! Mostly. Sometimes you just want to wander and see things in your own time and in your own way. That was kind of us.
We stopped first at Shakespeare and Company, where we leafed through some books and hung out upstairs in the music room. I played the piano and these ladies were very impressed.
I typed on a little typewriter and looked at Notre Dame out the window. It felt super Hemingway!
We headed to the Cathedral next and judged the entrance line to be “not too bad” and “worth it.” So we made it inside just for a mass. I finagled a way for us to get into the worship service, where we stood up a lot and sang “hallelujah.” At one point the priest quoted St. Paul and I felt particularly pleased by that. Of course it was some kind of circumcision quote, but that’s always been Paul’s thing. I loved sitting in the mass as the light shone down through the stained glass. When it came time to eat the wafers we snuck out and headed to Ice Cream Island!
Ice Cream Island is really the Ile de St. Louis, but we call it that because every other shop sells Ice Cream. The boys bought some baguettes, chips, and Red Bulls while the ladies bought some crepes with terrifying amounts of cheese in them. We sat by the Seine and yelled things at the boats going by.
We walked through Le Marais for a bit, stopping at a Starbucks to use the bathroom and steal the wifi. A creepy old gypsy lady muttered things at us in the corner and counted her money. We decided we wanted to go swimming at Piscine Josephine Baker, a large swimming pool built right on top of the river! But we couldn’t find swimsuits. That was a sad moment.
But then things looked up at the Louvre! We didn’t want to see the whole Louvre. That’s the great thing about a museum pass; you come and go and see what you want for as long as you want. You don’t feel panicked if you don’t hit every floor of the Denon wing. I did see the following treasures:
The Louvre McDonald’s was out of ice (which, to quote Ragtime: what is wrong with this country?) so we refreshed ourselves by taking a beautiful walk through the Luxembourg Gardens! We sat by the boat fountain and cheered on the little moor with the US flag. We took off our shoes and dangled them in the water, even if it was a little mossy. Jason regaled us with stories of how several different animals mate, and kept using the word “cloaca” even though none of us knew what it meant. We laid down on the grass and I fell asleep while everyone talked about cloacas. When I woke, I looked up and saw this:
We decided that we were epically hungry and I proposed that we eat at the Café Beaubourg, even though it was across the town and a little bit fancy. Everyone felt that you should have at least one fancy meal in Paris, and we decided to walk there. This was partially to avoid using the steamy metro one more time, and partially to just see more of the Left Bank. We also came across lots of little surprises, including a mysterious line of people looking for cupcakes and this fountain:
Now it was evening and the day had been epic. We wanted to end it in a big way. You know, like a road show. So we jumped on the metro and headed to the Arc de Triumphe. The sun was setting and it was pretty amazing up there. We played games and Josh did the sloppy swish for several tourists. When it was finally dark the rain hit again, and all the citizens of Paris, from Montmartre to Convention, huddled in doorways and churches and under bridges until it passed.