Paris Day 1
East toward Budapest
We spent three more days enjoying Paris before getting back on the bikes.

July 19 – 21, 2018

What happened…

Stephanie writes: Full disclosure. Stephanie has her diary in note format. She usually looks at her notes and then puts them into stories because her memory is so good. She’s been busy but has graciously shared her notes with me and instead of just giving you her notes I’m going to try and tell the stories of her notes until she can catch up. Hopefully she’ll read this and then decide my writing is not worthy of her memories and join us again. Until then, here’s what she’s got written up.

On the 19th I went to the Louvre with Andrew. Amanda stayed back at the hotel to relax a bit as she had already seen the Louvre. When we arrived the outside was under construction and rather than just show the construction work, it had a cardboard picture of what the Louvre looks like covering up the renovations. While we were waiting in line to get in we got slushees and I actually got in for free because I’m a student. I actually forgot my student card in Canada by I showed them my Nexus card and they took it as student ID. Inside the super tiny detailed carved man was my favorite and the Mona Lisa was underwhelming. The fire alarm went off while we were inside but nobody left. The Egyptian style stuff was super symmetrical and the painting across from the Mona Lisa was much prettier. After we left we got some McDonald’s and pain au chocolat. As we were walking along the streets a golden statue guy made a heart at me.

After the Louvre we came back to the hotel for a bit of a cool down in the air conditioning. Then the three of us were taking a boat cruise along the Seine River. We got the tickets along the shores of the river and the boat was leaving in about an hour so we walked around. The tour was about 14km in length. Sarah and Scott (warmshowers hosts) had invited us out that night for another picnic along the river and when the boat went by we yelled hello and they waved like crazy; it was super fun to know people on the shore. When you’re on the boat its a funny thing that people on the shores wave at you. When we were on the shore the night before we were waving too. The boat tour started and ended at the Eiffel tower which was great to see it again. After the tour we walked to an Italian restaurant and had pizzas for dinner. After pizza we walked to the Arc de Triomphe. You have to walk underground to get to it so you don’t interrupt the traffic flow. The Arc was very architecturally pleasing like the Eiffel Tower. After that we walked to the subway station and had to go down like three floors which was really cool. We watched some guy drop off his empty liquor bottle then run into a wall and another creepy guy who looked like a pickpocket on the subway. Sketchy people at night. On our way back to our hotel we walked past the park we ate at on the first day when we arrived at the hotel early.

On the 20th Amanda and I went out again without Andrew. We took the Subway to Notre Dame. Some kid in front of us was so stoned he accidentally bought two tickets. At the church we only waited about ten minutes to get in and then when we did get inside it was super loud but there were very efficient shushers (people saying shhhhhh). There were lots of candles everywhere. I learned that this church has the biggest bells in a church in France. There was a super cool virtual tour showing you as if it were being built. After walking around in the church we went to the crypt under the church. I got in for free as a student. There were no dead bodies or anything. It was an underground city with old grey brick and lots of old money being displayed. After we left we were walking to our next destination and there was some guy sitting on a speaker pretending he was playing music. When we got close we realized he was pretending to play a broom and he had a hat out for money. There were also 4 people playing an accordion and one of them was a kid. We went to a souvenir shop to get a pin. One pin was 3 pounds and when the guy saw I was interested he said he would give me four pins for 10 pounds. I said I only wanted one and he was really disappointed. He said he had no change before we even showed him how we were paying. Amanda said we could leave because he had no change. He didn’t want us to leave so he said 2 pins for 5 pounds and I got 2.

We were walking around a really trendy area trying to find a good spot for lunch and the restaurant owners stand on the sidewalk showing you their menus and asking you to come to them. Some can be really aggressive and basically tell you to sit down at their restaurant. Two people across a street both asked us. We went with the nicer guy that talked to us about Canada. We got cheese and chocolate fondue and it was awesome. We told the waiter the difference between close and closed in English. While we were eating some guy was looking at us and walked into a sign from not paying attention. Our waiter told us how to get to Sainte Chapelle church which was next on our list.

We walked over to the church and some girl asked for directions but we didn’t know where we were. We got to the church and then realized we had to pay. The security guys were all big with their guns and uniforms. One security guard saw how confused we were and let us go in a separate security section and avoid the line. He even opened the gate for us to get through. I got in free again because I’m a student. We met a German family that only the Dad spoke fluent English and they came around after seeing the church to say goodbye; so nice. At first we thought we were in the wrong church until we saw the upstairs part. Some girl asked me to take her picture. When we left there were more big security guards. After the church we went back to the hotel to chill out and Andrew made pasta.

On the 21st we woke up early to ride to Sarah and Scott’s house as we were staying there for our last night. Andrew and I got some unknown berries from the store. We walked to a cafe to have a drink and our waiter smelled disgusting. He was smoking and was super rude. He tried to talk but had really bad English. In the afternoon we walked to the same restaurant from yesterday with the fondue and took Andrew there. We got chocolate fondue again and tried escargot. I also tried overfed duck liver.

After lunch we went back to Scott and Sarah’s and they were at work so we were relaxing. Amanda was in the shower and I realized I forgot my retainers in a napkin on the table at the restaurant. I told Andrew and he phoned the restaurant and they actually kept them! I walked/ran back alone to get them. The guy’s brother who served us had them hidden behind a picture and he gave them to me and I headed back to Scott and Sarah’s. Phew.

Amanda writes: Sainte Chapelle church was a first for me and the stained glass windows were incredible. The whole thing was incredible. Having fondue is always a highlight in France and it was so fun sharing this with Stephanie. Seeing men walk into poles and trip and fall at her beauty is still taking some getting used to. It helps when we get to jump lines and use special entrances because of amazing smile so I’m softening a bit. I felt terrible about the retainers because when Stephanie took them out and put them in the napkin she said to me “make sure I don’t forget these”. Well clearly I failed at that now didn’t I. When I got out of the shower and Andrew told me I was just beside myself. Then he told me he sent her off on her own into the streets of Paris to find them herself, and that didn’t help my anxiety. We all know the ending and it was fine. Just shows her street sense is good as is Andrew’s ability to trust her. That or he just wanted me alone for 15 minutes. In any event I’m so glad she got them back. All in all, Paris was wonderful again.

Andrew writes:It was great playing tour guide for Stephanie, and also getting to re-visit the Louvre. I skipped out on the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. It was nice having an air-conditioned hotel room to come back to every day, but I think it had bed bugs as my legs, and Stephanie’s legs have some bites and are very itchy. I complained to the hotel but they said it couldn’t be so I left it.

Flickr Photographs

Paris Day 1
East toward Budapest