Thursday, April 04, 2013


We booked the TVG high speed train from London to Paris.  Sydney was a bit apprehensive about traveling underwater through the Chunnel.  However, she was so busy on her IPad it was nearly over before she realized we had entered the tunnel.   We all noticed that our ears pop in tunnels at high speeds similar to the experience on a pressurized aircraft.

Paris, Oui E Vie!  We transferred over to the Paris subway line from the TGV which are not so easy to maneuver with 4 large suitcases.  Within seconds someone was already trying to hustle us, pulling us out of line and taking us to a different ticket machine and giving Matt lots of bad information.   Thankfully, he followed his gut and I never turned our back on baggage listen to his advice at this machine. 

We checked into the Novotel and headed out to find the Notre Dame.  The look and feel of Paris was quite the opposite of London.  Not quite sure how else to describe it.  The kids indulged in some gelato and crepes while we explored squares filled with people eating cafes and watching street performers.  We nearly got tackled by a man who wiped out and fell over some bicycles running away from someone.  With what we have learned very quickly hear there are many thieves, scammers and beggars who will be happy to take your money. 

The following morning we awoke early and headed off for another whirlwind city tour.  We saw the Louvre and Champs Elyse sees.

We could not help but notice the sickening smell of urine everywhere.   Public restrooms are few and far between but public urination is quite common place.  We witnessed this quite regularly so the obviously explains the smell.  So we quickly learned to avoid any standing puddles of water.  Not cleaning up after your pet is another custom I guess I must just have to get used to.

Thankfully, Matt’s high school French skills were still programmed in his brain.  We needed them on more than a number of occasions.   

Our afternoon plan was a picnic at the Eiffel Tower so we headed to this area called Rue de Cler .  This street has lots of lovely little fruit stands, flower markets, cheese stores, deli, etc.  We collected our groceries and took lots of pictures. 

We found a nice bench with a great view of the Eiffel Tower to enjoy our lunch right next to the dog park.  Everyone was very pleased.   We laid out our spread of cheese, baguette, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, currents, coqulet (small hen).   It was delightful.  Sydney was paranoid about the pigeon that was circling closer and closer.  But that is not unusual, her fear of birds is quite ridiculous.  But, little did we know this pigeon would not be our last unwanted visitor.  The next was a woman who wanted us to sign a petition, we turned her away and she swiped some of our strawberries. 

Then more beggars came asking for food.  We turned them away empty handed this time.  

In between we tried to enjoy our picnic but now were a bit thrown off.  Our next visitor was an older man trying to return a gold ring that he says I lost. Trying to convince me to take it.   I’m sure he would have wanted money in return.  Matt gave him the smelly cheese he didn’t like to get rid of him.  J  The man begged for the leftover hen carcass too.  By that point nobody felt like picnicking anymore so it was his lucky day. 

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