EuroAdventure Day 14: Paris in the rain

(posted by Emily)

Wednesday 9 July
Daily Step Count: Emily - 35,315 Rick - 32,675

Wednesday was an early morning for us--we were catching a train to Paris at around 8am, and walked to the station in the rain. Surprise, surprise!

rainy streets in Brussels
At the train station, we picked up a baguette and some OJ, to have for breakfast along with cherries we had brought from the boat. We also spotted some Starbucks at the grocery (note the "Seattle latte") and a charging station powered by pedalling.

breakfast of champions
I wonder what makes something a Seattle latte?
pedal for your power
We took a Thalys train to Paris, with no delays this time! The train was in good shape, and the trip was easy.

When we got to Paris, we picked up our Metro tickets and headed to Gentle Gourmet. When researching food in Paris, we found that the restaurant had great reviews, and lots feedback about wonderful vegan pastries. We arrived a bit before they opened, and explored a small garden near the restaurant, on the banks of the Seine. 

Once Gentle Gourmet opened up, we headed inside to find no pastries--they've stopped making them! Rick perused the menu, and decided we should stay for lunch anyway. It's not like I need any convincing when it comes to food! :) We ordered a hot chocolate (which was more like dark chocolate dissolved in water than the kind we are used to at home), the Caesar salad, and the risotto, made with artichokes, peas, and lemon cream sauce. 

Lunch was delicious--it is rare that a dish causes us to slow down and savor every small bite, but the risotto did just that. The flavors of the salad were spot on, too. 

While at Gentle Gourmet, we were online doing some research about where to find vegan pastries (I was very dertemined to get some croissants!). I found information about Un Monde Vegan, which is a small vegan grocery store in the same area that most of the vegan restaurants in Paris are located. We decided to walk there (saw a Space Invader on the way), and were so excited to find vegan croissants, nutella, non dairy cheeses, and a host of other goodies. We picked up croissants, the nutella-type spread, and three different kinds of "cheese." One of my goals for the trip is/was to have a cheese/apple/baguette picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower. 

our vegan groceries
After our grocery trip, it was time to check in to our flat. We found a great place on Airbnb, and have a view of the Eiffel Tower from the window. The apartment is very hip, decorated in white, gray-brown, and orange. It is a studio, but has plenty of space for us for a few days. 

We were pretty pooped from our early morning and the long walk from lunch to the grocery store, so we took a quick nap. We realized that the Louvre's extended hours were on Wednesday night (they stay open until 9:45pm), so we decided to check out the museum. Even though it was packed near the more famous pieces, and pretty hot, we had a blast seeing the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, the ancient Egyptian artifacts, Venus de Milo, and a number of statues of Athena. Rick particularly enjoyed the ancient historical pieces, including the Code of Hammurabi

Winged Victory 

yes, past that crowd of people, in the very small frame, is the Mona Lisa

We saw the sculptural interpretations of these in ATL this spring at the botanic garden!

Venus de Milo

Egyptian jewelry 

Vermeer's The Astronomer
The Napoleon apartments
When we were finished up, we decided to head out to see Cafe de Flore. It was raining a bit, but the cafe isn't far from the Louvre and it was on our list of musts for the trip. Cafe de Flore is also an amazing French Canadian film that you should all see (it's on Netflix) and a piece of jazz music that is very catchy. We love the film, so had to see the real thing. Right next to Cafe is Les Deux Maggots, famous for it's expats and artists in the 20s/30s.

For dinner we wandered over to our favorite little food area near Notre Dame. Similar to Brussels, it has winding streets with regional and ethnic cuisine. We stopped at Maoz, a vegetarian chain, for what else--falafel. 

We continued our walk along the Seine, with the intent of seeing the Eiffel Tower at night. I don't know why I thought it would be a good idea, but I had chosen to wear my Toms instead of my Chacos. Both of us had soaked feet, but mine felt like I was slogging two little puddles around with me all the time. This is also why I had such a high step count--the traction was terrible on all the stone and cobble, so I had to take super tiny steps. Both of our legs were dying, but the views along the walk made it worth it. 

A brass choir next to the Seine

The lock bridge that "broke"--not the bridge our lock is on, but this is the one in the news. In reality, one of the wire panels fell over. 

We finally found the Eiffel Tower :) 

Soaked and exhausted, we decided to nip in to the little cafe up the street from our apartment for the rest of the football match.The penalty kicks made it worth it!

Finished our day with a view of the tower out our window!



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