Thursday, June 30, 2011

I Left Paris Hungry

I am re-posting this from another blog that I started, but do not keep up.  Going to keep all of my good tidbits here... Hope you enjoy.  When my daughter talks about Paris and all of the wonderful food, I think back to this article I wrote and I still feel the same way... I left Paris Hungry.... 

I had the wonderful opportunity to take a mini-break in Paris, during the middle of the week.  A friend of mine had taken her sons to Paris for their Spring Break and asked if I would like to join them for a few days.  What girl wouldn’t want to take up such an opportunity?  So, my daughter and I boarded the EuroStar and took the train from London to Paris.  (Gotta love modern technology...only 2.5 hours UNDER the English Chanel).

It was a very, VERY quick trip with lots of walking.  Two days isn’t nearly enough time to Paris.  Even though I had recently been, there were still places I wanted to see and more experiences were to be had.  Currently living in England, I understand how expensive it is to live in Western Europe...when you convert pounds to dollars, the £7.95 burger you just ate at the pub actually cost you $ adds up.  Though England has nothing on prices compared to Paris.  Little cafes in the back streets of gay Paris will charge you 8.95 Euros for Croque Monsieur – two pieces of white bread with a slice of ham and cheese that had been placed under the broiler for about 3 minutes (The one we had actually cost 14.95 Euro).  Outrageous! 

For me, I have a difficult time eating while travelling.  It’s my fault, really, being a picky eater... I’m a chicken and plain vegetable kind of gal.  It was rare to find chicken on a menu that wasn’t covered in a heavy cream sauce (I’m also lactose intolerant... France loves its milk products).  So, choices were typically foie gras (sorry, goose fat doesn’t do it for me), lamb (have you seen their cute little faces?), or duck (too gamey).  Plus, as previously mentioned, everything is very expensive.  While I loved the opportunity to go to Paris, we did have a budget.  So, my stomach and wallet both came back very hungry!  First thing we did when we got back to London (with friends in tow) was treat them to some good English Pub grub.  I had one of the tastiest burgers in quite some time!  I don’t know if it was because I was basically starved, but the meat was flavourful and juicy....and it was a burger!

I also came back hungry for more of Paris.  It was such a tease!  We did a lot of walking the first day around the Latin Quarter after meeting in front of Notre Dame de Paris.  We were planning on going up in the tower, but the upper level was closed and there was a very long line.  By the time we discovered this, we walked back to go inside; however, the line wrapped around the block and I didn’t want to waste their vacation waiting in the line, since they had been in the day before.  I felt like Kate from the movie French Kiss (starring Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline... if you haven’t seen it, DO!)  Throughout the first part of the movie, all she wants to do is see the Eiffel Tower, being a history buff.  Notre Dame (interior) was my Eiffel Tower.  I love the outside...but one day I will actually see the INside.  My daugther’s ‘Eiffel Tower’ was the Haagen Dazs store on the Champs Elysses.

While walking through the Latin Quarter, we found our way to the Pantheon.  I was also really looking forward to going into this building, as I had just read Anna and the French Kiss (cute YA book by Stephanie Perkins) and there was quite a bit of detail about the inside of this very cool structure.  So, it only made me want more.  We then went up to Montmartre and found one section of artists, but I didn’t have time to have my portrait done.  So many things to do in Paris!

The following day we were able to see Versailles and we ended up spending most of the day there.  Once again, though, it was too large to see everything and still make it back into town for dinner reservations at 7 pm on the Ile de St. Louis.  I will have to go back to able to row a boat on the Grand Canal and see Trianon, along with the Hamlet and the Temple de l’Amour.

Walking around Paris is a wonderful thing to do.  There is so much to see and to soak in.  It deserves more than 48 hours here and there.  Each museum alone can take all day to see everything, to be able to sit and absorb the paintings (like falling in to Renoir’s Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette)…to watch the world go by while the paintings stand to be admired.  Walking in to a cool cathedral and hoping that someone will be practicing the organ for the upcoming weekend, seeing if others are in wonder at the beauty and history before them.  I definitely left Paris hungry for MORE!  (Though I will bring my own snacks and lots of lactose enzymes to eat croissants all day!)
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