If you’re feeling particularly inspired, click the links below for my previous Parisian posts:
I left off last time with our glittering view of the Eiffel Tower. A perfect ending to a beautiful day. Or so we thought…
It was around midnight, when we attempted to catch a taxi to take us home. Key word here: attempted.
For the next hour, we tried everything we could think of—waving wildly, dancing, showing some leg, standing at high traffic street corners, low traffic street corners—all to no avail. Every taxi we spotted whizzed past, ignoring us completely!
Except one. Somewhere around 12:45 a.m., a taxi pulled up alongside just to let us know that he would not accept our fare.
“Mais pour quooooiiiiii?!” I whined through his open window.
He indicated a young couple across the street from us who had only just stepped up to the curb.
“Because,” he explained in halting English. “Zey standing under ze sign.” He indicated a miniscule “Taxi” sign above them which we had failed to notice. And with that, he raced off with the beautiful people, leaving us breathing in his exhaust.
Image by: Dave Newman
A short while later we admitted defeat. We were freezing, our feet ached like crazy, but we started walking the endless miles back to our apartment. We distracted ourselves by singing loudly (& badly) as we trudged along and by watching Joshua try cool Parkour moves on the nearly empty sidewalks.
At one point we cut through the Jardin des Tuileries park. It was so dark we could barely see the dirt path, but I smelled an unmistakable aroma.
“Watch where you step!” I warned. “We don’t need horse poop on our shoes!”
Becoming grumpy and slap happy in turns, we laughed hysterically after encountering a young couple on the darkened path, walking in the opposite direction. They were each towing a huge suitcase through the dirt and horse poop. We didn’t need a translator to understand what the woman was saying in an unending French diatribe.
“See kids,” I giggled. “Things could always be worse!”
Famous last words.
Now, there are positives to staying in an old Parisian apartment building, and there are negatives.
Positive: You get to experience life as a true Parisian. You get to open screenless windows each morning and experience the delightful fragrance of fresh baked goods while observing the pigeons roosting on your neighbor’s rooftop. (I wonder if they ever fly in through one of those open windows?)
Negative: You get to experience life as a true Parisian. Arriving back at our apartment around 2:30 a.m., we discovered that while we’d been gone some pipes had burst. The apartment above us had leaked toilet water all over our kitchen counter, soaking everything on it including our food and my camera battery charger complete with back-up battery.
But we were just too tired to care.
In the morning we called maintenance, then closed the door on the mess inside in favor of enjoying a L’Open Bus tour.
It was lovely riding around, listening to French music and learning about the city via the multilingual headsets. At Ashleigh’s insistence, we got off the bus to explore notorious Moulin Rouge.
I knew the area had a “naughty” reputation, but I had no idea how naughty. At one point a woman approached Chris saying something I couldn’t quite catch, while he just looked surprised. Suddenly, she glanced behind him to see me, Ashleigh and Joshua hot on his heels.
“Oh, you’re with them,” she said in English, and moved away.
“What did she want?” I asked curiously.
“I’m not sure,” he said. “But I think she was a female pimp.”
Interesting. Are you paying attention to all this culture, kids?
We caught the next bus for Montmartre to see the famous Sacre Coeur Basilica, constructed with donations from people who thought the French Revolution and Paris Commune uprising of 1871 were punishment from God for their lack of faith.
“Hey guys,” I said, as the bus glided to a halt. “Did you know that every time it rains, the basilica’s white dome gets even whiter because of the type of stone they used?”
“Mmmm…” Ashleigh and Joshua murmured, quickly exiting the bus.
Hmph! Well, I was excited I was finally going to see this famous building. So you can imagine my disappointment when we reached the top of the hill and saw this:
Nice historic building, eh?
I guess one man’s historic beauty is another man’s regular ol’ church picnic complete with inflatable slide.
After our day of bus touring, we celebrated Joshua’s 17th birthday at the lovely Chez Clemént on the Champs D’Elysées.
“Well, Josh,” I said with a smile, once we were seated. “How many kids can say they celebrated their 17th birthday in Paris?!”
“Uh…everybody who lives here when they turn 17?” replied my smart-aleck boy.
Jusqu'à la prochaine fois, mes amies!
(Until next time, my friends!)
All photographs © Holly & Chris Bowne unless otherwise noted.