8 to 11 May
Today is another holiday in France. May is my second favorite month, after August because depending on how the holidays fall, you may not work a full work week in May. So far, no more than 4 days of work for me a week!
We started the day by dealing with our landlord who told us we wouldn’t be able to get the water fixed until……THURSDAY. And we cannot hire our own plumber either. So frustrating! So we literally had to wait until Thursday and make the best we could out of it. At least we could still shower! We rigged up a system of towels, buckets and spit shine to keep the water at bay. Oh là là.
We then headed out to CDG to pick up our next visitor, my cousin Julie around 1pm!
We took the train back from CDG to the apartment to let Julie settle in before heading to grab lunch at Le Wilson.
We then took our token Trocadero selfie on the way.
We then walked all the way from Le Wilson to Arc de Triomphe then down entire Champs Elysees. Nothing screams Paris like this walk.
We came back to apartment to relax before heading to dinner at La Rotonde.
Step Count: 13,596, 9.7km
While Julie is on vacation, we still have to go about certain daily things. So this morning Jer had class and I had to go to work.
The benefit of this for Julie was that she got to sleep in, uninterrupted, with the black out shades down. As she put it, it was glorious.
Before Jer went home to wake up Julie, he was in desperate need of a haircut. He was able to go see Francois, thank god.
Later in the day we went to the Catacombs. This was on the top of Julie’s to do list. It was in the middle of the pack for us so I am glad we had a visitor that wanted to go. We did not pre buy tickets but luckily only waited 20 minutes to get in.
I am going to start out by saying that the catacombs are not for the faint of heart or for anyone that has a fear of death. They are creepy. Likely Halloween spooky, well at least for me. But let’s be honest, I get scared watching crime dramas. On a more serious note, they are not handicap accessible or for anyone who is claustrophobic either. You are literally below ground with one way in, and one way out (now re-read that in a goolishy voice, maw haha.) Also, it’s not all bones, you have to walk a bit to get the history of the catacombs until you reach (your) final resting place.
The history and autonomy behind the catacombs was very interesting. In Paris, the catacombs were not created to house the dead originally. They were created as part of a quarry system. Under the city is a gold mind of stones of which the city was literally built with. As time progressed, say late 1700’s they were no longer using the quarries but they were starting to have collapses where the tunnels of the old quarry would collapse and take the new city blocks with it. So the mayor of Paris decided to reinforce the quarries. Also, there was an issue with the dead. No there were not zombies running around Paris. But there was the plague and the dead could not buried. They needed a place. So for sanity reasons the bones were moved to the catacombs from over flowing graveyards. (Fun fact if you walk around the old graveyards, nothing really dates back into the early 1800’s because they are all down here).
Whole graveyards were moved to the catacombs. The mayor was also a smart man to make the catacombs a ‘tourist attraction’ and they arranged the bones in patterns like those seen today. They were also smart and used the bigger stronger bones to build the ‘walls’ then add the more fragile bones behind in a heap.
The hardest thing for me, being there with my cousin who is a nurse, she could look at the size of the bones to say if they were from an adult or….a child. Also for skulls, you could sometimes tell the reason for the untimely death, say a bullet hole..
After we found our way out, soul and all, we headed over to Moulin Rouge. Another fan favorite. However we did not go to a show but enjoyed the show of the tourists outside.
Moulin Rouge is not far form Montmartre & Sacre-Coeur. Well by our walking standard it is not far. We walked all the way up the stairs (had to be 200+) to the top for a wonderful view of the city.
We then went to L’Ete en Pente Douce for dinner, recommended by good ole Rick.
After dinner we went back to the apartment to rest our weary souls. But got this beautiful picture on our way home.
This morning we got a call the plumber was coming a day early! This never happens! Everyone is always at least 15 minutes late, never early. So this morning I stayed home to wait for the plumber and get some work done.
As we mentioned before, we were not allowed to call our own plumber or we would have to pay for it, which can be very expensive. The plumber arrives, whistling away all happy that the sun is shinning. I am ready to kill him for taking 4 days to get here. We speak a little in broken French and hand gestures about the damn leak. Literally 10 minutes later, he announced he is done. I’m sorry, seriously. I waited 4 days for a 10 minute fix. I think he can see the utter shock on my face. He explains to me, the washer cracked and just needed it be replaced (this was the first picture Jer sent along with the email days ago, but of course we couldn’t do anything). I hate and love him at the same time. He then bids adieu and goes on whistling. Maybe he is whistling because he is rolling in cash form my landlord to fix a washer…..
While I stayed home, Jer took Julie for some shopping. The main things that the kids wanted her to bring home were cool European HotWheels cars and of course Kinder Eggs (whoops we may have created monsters ha). So Jer took her over to the toy store close by at Passy Plaza where they could also go to Monoprix and pick up the Kinder Eggs. They were successful in getting what they needed and came home to no more water everywhere!
Later in the day we head over to Galleries Lafayette for some additional shopping and of course the roof top view.
We then had a very late lunch over in The Marais to have a falafel at Chez Hanna. The falafels never get old.
We also stopped at my favorite tea shop, Marriage. We then walked past Hotel de Ville for Julie and she did some additional shopping on the walk to Notre-Dame. Where we stopped for a quick photo op.
After a few other stops, we are Back to apartment to get ready for dinner.
Julie had also requested an Italian dinner while she was in town. So we took her to our favorite place for dinner at Settebello. This place is like Italian heaven in France. The owners are so fun and warm and jovial. We walked in and for those of you who know Julie, you know she has some tattoos. So the one owner seats us at our table (there are only 30 seats in the whole place maybe) then comes over, grabs Julie’s arm and starts adding to her tattoos. I was in shock and awe, but Julie was laughing so loud. Needless to say, this is how dinner went on. The food, as always, melted in your mouth.
After dinner, we walked down to our special Eiffel Tower picture spot before heading home for the night.
This morning Jer had to go to class early so I stayed back to run some errands with Julie before getting her on the train to the airport.
First, went to get some decadent treats, my favorite packable bake goods, madeleines. After the catacombs, we had tried to see a graveyard but they had all closed for the day so we were out of luck, but this morning the cemetery by our place was open. We literally walk past this cemetery every day and never go in. It was eerily beautiful. We walked around looking at all the different headstones and mausoleums. (Non pre-dated the catacombs).
After one other stop, we were headed out from the apartment to get Julie to the RER B to get to CDG. She made it safely on the train and then I headed to work.
The rest of the afternoon/evening was spent trying to pack to leave for Scandinavia tomorrow. What a crazy few days!