Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Bastille Day!

What a difference a day makes.  I woke up around 7:00 feeling good,  refreshed from a full night of sleep and ready to take on a day of enjoying Paris.

We took things slow in the morning. I made a shopping list and went to Monoprix. We got the basics, a  baguette, cheese, pasta and sauce, and ice cream. We had to go home and enjoy the bagel with cheese and Nutella before heading off on our next activity. With the fireworks near the Eiffel Tower tonight, we knew the city would be crazy. We were all a little nervous about riding the metro after twice getting separated yesterday. We finally gathered our courage and headed on the metro to the Arc de Triumph. 

We found when we got there that we couldn't buy tickets and climb to the top. The ticket office was closed until 5:30.  We came up from under the street and took a few pictures before a group of official-looking people with whistles told us all to leave. The confused mass of tourists were slow to move, but as much as they did move, the gendarmes (police) put barricades to block their return. We were shooed from under the arc and down the stairs, herded like unwilling and dim-witted cattle back to the central area underneath the street.  The whistle-blowing officials didn't follow immediately, so we paused to consider our next move. Our Break was cut short by the arrival ofa group of the tourist-herders from above.  People started to move, but not very quickly. One of the women with a whistle appeared on the steps and blew it loud enough to let people know she meant business. With our ears still ringing from her whistle, she yelled for us to get out in the kind of voice that people use when there is not an option for debate. The mass of holiday tourists admitted defeat and headed to the exit tunnels. I exchanged a smile with one of the policemen as we passed.  The woman had put us all in our place.

Back above ground we decided to head to a lesser-known museum between the Champs Elysée and our apartment. We walked to it, considering stopping at another cafe for lunch. The prices at the ones we looked at were a little high, so we opted to have a picnic.  We stopped at another Monoprix and let everyone choose a main course and a drink.   We chose sushi, a sandwich, salads, sprite, orangina, fruit, chips, and cookies. We ate it on a bench outside the shop. It was probably one of the best meals we've had so far in France, and the cheapest.   Although, in true Becca fashion, she wasn't satisfied by what she chose and ate almost nothing yet again.  After our street-side picnic we went into the Jacquemart-André museum.  It's a beautiful chateau which the owners filled with art to the point that after they died the home was turned into a museum. It was a good way to start the museum part of our trip. It was not very large, less than 15 rooms of art to view.

And we were surprised to discover that they have a kid zone. There were some fancy costumes for the kids to try on and pose for photos.  There were easels with big sheets of paper and packs of pastels. There were coloring pages of scenes from the art in the building that looked very much like the ones we used in art lit for the project on David. The kids could sit at a table and color them with markers, crayons, or watercolor and pastel pencils. There was also a set of building blocks that looked like thin Jenga pieces. We were all thrilled. The girls settled in with coloring pages.  Kip took an easel.  There were no other kids there and with everyone else in Paris heading toward the Eiffel Tower already, the museum was very quiet. William took some time to realize that we were going to be there a while, then took another easel for himself. I joined the girls coloring and chatting with the girl in charge of the area.  Eventually, I left the kids and Kip and went to enjoy the museum. There were some beautiful things. I especially liked some of the furniture.

We opted that night to go watch fireworks from a park in eastern Paris, Belleville.  Everything we read or heard said to get there very early and get a place.  We did, bringing another baguette picnic and card games.  I was tired and chose to lay back and enjoy the view of the evening sky.  The clouds were billowy and the sky was a soft blue.  We had set ourselves on the edge of the flower garden and the flowers waved in the breeze just above me.

The only unpleasantness was that so many people in Europe smoke. We were surrounded by people drinking and smoking.

Before the sun had set, a park employee with a whistle came down the walkway announcing that the park was closing and we all had to leave.  Most people got up to go.  The large group of Parisians next to me didn't budge.  I asked them if we had to go.  They said yes, probably, but made no move to do so.  I waited until the park employee came a second time and Kip and the kids returned from the play area, then we packed up and headed out.  We ended up taking the metro home.  It was good to do before the post-firework-madness.  And we got home just in time to watch the fireworks on TV.  It was fun to see it with the music and in the comfort of my apartment.  Of course, I kept falling asleep. I thought it was better than watching standing outside with only a partial distant view of the Eiffel Tower.

1 comment:

Janean said...

I love the pic of the girls in the medieval style dresses. I forgot about those kid zones. it's always so fun to play with the stuff even as an adult. :)