Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Paris - Day 5: Au Revoir

I'm not saying we're rock stars, but hopefully the previous posts indicate why, on our fifth day in Paris, we were a wee bit tired. As I've mentioned before, the weather was so absolutely sublime and uncharacteristic of this time of year that it felt criminal to spend our days indoors, namely, in museums. Will you judge us when we admit that we did not step foot in a single museum in Paris? Not the Louvre, not the Musee D'Orsay. We're rotten apples.

That being said, with museums out of the question, we were actually feeling like we'd seen a great deal of Paris, and certainly almost all marquis landmarks and attractions. We kept our last day mellow by hopping on the Metro to explore a new neighborhood, the area around where the Bastille formerly stood in the 11th Arrondissement. It's a pretty good thing that a) we didn't explore this on Day 1 and b) our suitcases (for which we were already charged an overweight fee) were already busting at the seams, because this was the spot for home decor shopping. I found the French Pier 1, a store filled entirely filled antique chairs and settees, and countless other clothing, jewelry, and shelter stores with fantastic prices. There were a number of industrial type supply stores schelling linoleum on huge spools, front doors, etc. It was like finding a lived in, mellow, quaint neighborhood version of SF's SOMA with better prices. Poo.

Daaaaave! Will stopped dead in his tracks to take this picture and it took me a few seconds to realize why.

That's what I'm talking about. Stacks of unruly chairs saying, "please, reupholster me!"

I told you they liked their ham. Or maybe just a good place for Will to pose for another picture. Anyone else notice that he started out annoyed, but eventually came around to requesting and posing for pictures?

Dream store. Green settee back there, wanna come home with me?

Food break. Their menu listed a Bloody Mary - ah, a taste of home! Alas, I didn't think about the French committment to freshness and had a little buyer's remorse when my glass of freshly squeezed, room temperature, iceless, tomato juice was set before me. Provisions of Tabasco were greatly appreciated.

We decided that the Eiffel Tower deserved a gratuitous daytime photoshoot, as well, so we meandered over after lunch to have a look in proper light.

I admire the seriousness with which the French approach the protection of their national landmarks. I think those are machine guns, right? Could they come hang out at the Haight-Ashbury intersection for a bit? I think just a day or two would do the trick.

Out of energy, we walked back to Rue Bellechasse, picked up some junk food from the corner store, and vegged out for awhile. It's moments like these that make me proud to call him mine, folks.

Having firmly appointed Ile Saint-Louis by far my favorite place in Paris, we decided to spend our last evening there. Something of note about Paris is that bars are somewhat rare. Cafes are absolutely everywhere, but so often when you sit down at one of their tables, you feel odd ordering just the glass of wine you wanted as a refresher and end up ordering a tummy-testing cheese plate you don't really want, and certainly don't need. Following a feast of eclairs, framboise tartlette, and Lay's potato chips in hot weather, all we wanted in the world was someplace to sit and have a cold glass of white wine.

Enter Les Fous de L'Ile, our new favorite place to kick back in Paris. Sleepily wandering the streets of L'Ile like the parched little wine junkies that we are, we were thrilled to peep into their windows to see not only tables but - *GASP!* a real bar! We were more delighted to see the cadre of local sixty to eighty-year old's knocking back gin and tonics at the bars at a pace that deserved applause. We had found it. And rejoiced.

Once our happy hands were wrapped around a cold wine glass, our eyes were free to wander and take in the amazingness of their decor. Pink chickens (les fous), blue chickens, chickens covered in painted bottle caps; they were everywhere, each relegated to their own little cubby on the wall. I was kind of in heaven.

We loved it so much after our two-hour leisurely stay at the bar- and the rapid influx of patrons proved its worthiness - that we decided to stay for dinner. The waiter would bring a hand-written giant framed chalkboard to each table with the menu.

Happy to have found such a great place on our last evening that we will surely visit each time we return to Paris, we walked home and enjoyed one last evening view of Notre Dame.

We undoubtedly left our hearts in Paris. What an incredible city. What we wouldn't give back to go every year. But on to Brussels!

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