Monday, April 16, 2012

making it up as we go

Self-take outside the gates to the Luxembourg Gardens.

On the spur of the moment, after a gloriously sedentary Sunday morning, we decided to trip into Paris - without a plan! Daring. Dangerous. Likely to end in walking our feet off...

Louis, in the backpack, on the RER, with his buddy (who is tied on with ribbon, not to be lost.)

Got on the train in Antony and then discussed where we might get off. Had a look at the map: discovered Jardin du Luxembourg is on our line. Done. Shame the weather wasn't very out-doorsy, but we were all wearing jackets.

The French do know/love their fountains.

Statues, castles, fountains, gardens and tourists (us included, I suppose.)

That big building is, I think, the Palais du Luxembourg - the Senat.

Sailboats on the lake. Not many sailing, probably cause it was gusty and cold (hands in pockets are warmer than hands on remote controls) but lots of people watching.

Fencing lessons!


Carousel! This park has everything.

Lunch! Probably should have sat inside. Intended to take our food and sit by the playground while Louis played, but it was pretty cold, Louis needed to eat, and in the end we skipped the playground: cost to go in (not much considering how cool it was) and was mostly for older kids.

We might be silly tourists (a bit) but this was not our first time in Paris - we knew to take the train, not walk to our next destination - even if it was only 1 stop away. Came out of the subway at Notre Dame.

First thing I see: souvenir shops.

Then the Seine.

Then the church.

Then the line.

Which was moving pretty quickly, so we joined it.

Outside Notre Dame.

I took far too many photos inside Notre Dame, and like most photos inside a cathedral, they turned out rather poorly. Here's a very self-controlled selection:

Not as poorly framed as it seems: was trying to capture the ceiling. Quite cool, we thought.

The first time we came to Paris we started at Notre Dame (didn't go inside though) and then walked around in what I thought/hoped was the direction of the Eiffel tower - which is really a very long way away, and a foolish undertaking. Accidentally walked toward the Ile St-Louis but then realised we must be going the wrong way.

This time we headed to the Ile St-Louis on purpose! Much more successful. It's a tiny island in the middle of the Seine river. Notre Dame is on the large island beside it.

Found 'Berthillon' ice cream, apparently a real highlight of the island (thanks Lonely Planet - good tip.)
Then found two other places with 'Berthillon' on their signs - the last of which was the main cafe. By then I'd finished my delicious scoop of Caramel Beurre Sale Glace (Salted Butter Caramel Ice cream).

Enjoyed our walk around the island, browsing the windows of the tiny shops, and the menus of the restaurants, and then walked back along the river's edge, down by the water.

On the north side of the Seine - they have these stalls all along the river, selling souvenirs, art prints and books.

Had a half-hatched plan to catch a ferry along the river but felt a bit worn out so we'll do that another time. One of the real perks of living here is that we're under no pressure to see/do everything there is in a snap. Loads of time. Though I'll bet we'll come to the end of our sojourn in France and still have quite a few sights unseen. There are an awful lot of museums and galleries...

First train on the way home. Check out the musicians in the background. I do love the buskers on the trains in Paris. 

The third train on the way home. The forth train: Louis' Thomas toy. Kept him entertained for that last leg. He was pretty tired and past-it at this point. Home for a nap before church. And a proper meal (as opposed to all the crackers and bickies that kept him going till now).

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