Catacombs of Paris
Robert, The Boy and I met up with boss lady and her husband to take the metro to the Catacombs of Paris. We arrived early, about 45 minutes before the opening. When we finally got in I was pretty excited but it got a little old after about 10 minutes of seeing room and after room of carefully stacked bones. I dunno. Would I suggest you not go? I don’t know about that. I’d suggest you go when they’re open and get in line if it’s a short line.
I’m a total idiot, btw. We’d brought one flashlight and I only realized AFTER we left the catacombs that my phone has a flashlight. I spent then next 15 minutes realizing my phone had all kinds of cool things it could do.
After emerging from the catacombs we all walked together towards Rue Mouffetard in the 5th. We were starving and a few of us (boss lady’s husband and I) were getting pretty grumpy due to hunger. The walk over was a bit boring. In my head I pictured every square foot of Paris to be magical. Nope. The 14th appears to be mainly residential (as was the 16th where The Boy lived). We eventually heard music and just like that we were transported into another world. As we entered the Rue Mouffetard area, everything came to life. Musicians were playing accordions and string instruments, while people of all ages danced; others sat on the edges of the dance area, eating delicious looking picnic lunches.
As we entered the street, the scene became even livelier. The shops! The bakeries! The wine! The color! At this point we split up with boss lady and her husband. They were planning a sit down cafe lunch, while we were trying to go more frugal. We ended up eating a gyro sandwich with fries and a coke in probably the least charming food establishment on the street but I didn’t care. It was so pretty and fun and I will go back there again and I will buy a picnic lunch. I will listen to music. And I might even dance.
I had one last place on my beer agenda I wanted to try out that we just off Rue Mouffetard. It was a place called Brewberry.
A true beer geek’s paradise, Cécile Delorme’s shop near the tourist- and student-friendly rue Mouffetard stocks hundreds of different beers from traditional Belgian and German to cult favorite Danish and Norwegian. A rotating selection of beers are stocked cold for immediate consumption, but any bottle you like can be chilled in her fridge. Bottle prices remain the same whether taken seated on the small patio or to go. The collection here is deep, and staff are only too happy to advise and guide your selections. Reservations can be made on their website; sandwiches and snacks available.
Alas, it was closed.
At this point, The Boy wanted to get back to his apartment and fetch a few items for us to take home, plus grab one last pile of laundry to do back at our apartment. I figured we’d go with him because I’d been wanting to get one last close-up of the Eiffel Tower and view it from across the river at the Trocadero near The Boy’s apartment. What I didn’t realize is we’d spend the next 2 hours going from one metro line to another in a zig-zag fashion all across the city because a major line was closed. On top of that the trains were all full and hot. I felt like Elaine and Kramer in that one episode of Seinfeld.
Last walk in The Marais
At last, after what seemed like a few days, we arrived back at our apartment. After doing some last minute shopping in the area and grabbing some baguette sandwiches, we came back to the apartment and enjoyed the last of our delicious beer and wine. At dusk we headed back out for our last night in Paris. We walked all around the tiny streets of the Marais, peeking into windows and people watching.
Ice Cream and the City of Lights
After walking through the Marais we walked over to the Ile de la Cité once again to see Notre Dame at night. It really is a sight to see, all lit up at night. And looking back, you see the Eiffel Tower way off in the distance, all lit up. We then headed to the Ile Saint-Louis for one last viewing. We came upon an ice cream shop and I insisted we stop for wine and dessert. It turns out the ice cream shop is a famous one – Berthillon. And also expensive (unless you order to go at their ice cream stand). $13 for a scoop!! The Boy was in heaven (he’s the only one who got a scoop). No regrets. It was a wonderful way to end our trip!
The following morning we said goodbye to The Boy and we headed off to the airport via the metro. Everything went smoothly until we arrived inside the airport 3 hours before departure and found Icelandair’s check-in area unattended. It was filled with people waiting to check in for the 2 flights to Iceland that leave 5 minutes apart (so, like, 500 people). There was no signage (or rather, there was one small sign that obstructed), a lot of confusion, and 1/4th of the passengers (including us) waiting in the wrong line. When the staff finally showed up an hour later to start checking people in they kicked us to the back of the line. The back of the line was approximately 80 miles away. I’m only exaggerating a little. In the end, we were in line for nearly 2 hours and had to rush to grab food before boarding and our gate was changed at the very last minute. It was all unfun but the flight home went smoothly (I watched Pacific Rim which was a ridiculous movie but entertaining and enjoyed a little bottle of Jack Daniels). When we arrived in Seattle we took the light rail downtown and caught a bus to Ballard. After being in Paris for a week our city looked so drab and dirty and the people seemed so lifeless. The Dot “greeted” us at home and I would have wrapped my arms around her had she let me. I’d really missed her and I also wanted to share all our Paris stories with her. It’s a place I know she’d love to visit.
I really enjoyed many aspects of our trip but I know I could have gotten a lot more out of it had I not been so nervous and hadn’t over-planned. I hope that the next time I go back I have a little extra spending cash and a more open agenda. It really is a magical city and the people were all so kind. I’d like to capture it in pictures a bit more because I can’t describe it in words.
The two memories that I will cherish the most were completely non-touristy. The first was walking to the 11th via Oberkampf and sitting in the tiny beer bar, La Fine Mousse on Ave Jean Aicard. The second was sitting in Parc Monceau in the 8th, eating my baguette sandwich, just chilling out and taking in the scenery. Robert probably has his favorite memories but I think he really enjoyed these two experiences as well and I’m so happy we got to spend them together.