Paris... where I play games with frenchmen

Trip Start Jul 08, 2013
Trip End Aug 10, 2013

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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Thursday, July 18, 2013

What an absolutely fantastic day! I am glad that I decided not to go out to Versailles as I got to do some pretty great Parisian things today without being subjected to the sweltering heat and crowds. I am finding that my favourite things by far are just grabbing my camera and wandering the different areas of Paris, stumbling on some neat locations and interesting sights. Grabbed my Rick Steves guide book today as well to do the walk of historic Paris that he outlines in the book. It was a good way to get some extra tidbits of information about the different places I was seeing. My first stop was Notre Dame which was thoroughly impressive from the outside at least. The line up to get in was almost an hour long, and the one to go up to the top of the bell tower was just as bad so I decided to skip the interior in favour of some lesser known sights. One of these was the Deportation Memorial which was stunning and sombre. Here, 200,000 mostly Jewish Parisians were deported to concentration camps after Paris was taken by the Germans in WWII. The memorial is simple and stirring, set down below the city with high walls that make you feel trapped and two hundred thousand tiny crystals on the darkened walls leading to an eternal flame. Over the doorway, the perfect quote... Forgive, but never forget.

As I followed along the path set out by Rick Steves I saw more fantastic churches, a funky bridge completely decked out in locks, used book vendors along the Seine, gorgeous carved fountains, and yummy looking cafes. I absolutely had to stop at the famous Shakespeare and Co. Book Store, where writers like James Joyce and Hemingway once sat and wrote, and I bought a book on Paris History told through anecdotes. It looked interesting. I continued to wander until it was time to meet up with my Bellies on Foot tour group for an afternoon of gastronomic delights. Run by one of the cooking schools in Paris, the tour group was perfect with only six people, a young girl from Malaysia, a couple from Maryland, a lovely lady from Texas and the tour guide Sophie. For an hour and a half we walked through the streets of Les Halles, an ancient market place once called the Belly of Paris. The market itself is long gone, but you can still find all sorts of specialty shops along its streets, perfect for picking up a french feast. We stopped at the fromagerie to buy our cheese and Sophie was a perfect guide filling us in on all sorts of great tidbits about Paris food. There are over 4000 individual kinds of cheese in this country, which is astounding...and I want to eat all of them! We chose five to buy (all of the food was included in the price of the tour) Then it was on to the boucherie to choose our sausage and fois gras terrine. We also got a beetroot salad..yum. Next stop was the patisserie for eclairs and rum cake for our dessert. We all walked back to the cooking school where we sat in an old wine cellar and feasted with bread, wine, and all of our tasty treats. Fantastic!

After saying goodbye to my new friends and promising to stay in touch on Facebook, I headed home stuffed and happy. I met my roomate, Mika, and he invited me to come along with him for the evening. He was meeting some friends of his to play a game of Petanque in a neighborhood park. What a riot! Petanque is like Bocci, only the metal balls are a little smaller. And they don't play it on grass but on the dusty hard ground. So here I am playing the very french game of Petanque, with seven Frenchmen who don't speak very much English, and drinking wine out of the bottle while I wait my turn. Lol it was so fun and I managed to get a few points for my team and we won both rounds. Mika took me to a very Parisian bar to celebrate and we had mojitos and a little nub of sausage with bread, then it was onto the Aussie bar for Guiness! On faites come les Parisians...jouer et boire!
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twodrifters07 on

A dream city, and you are experiencing it will miss Paris when you depart, such food, such wine, such Frenchmen!

ACL on

Ditto on what your Mom said.......

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