Monday, 20 March 2017

Paris weekend trip, day two: Depressions of an Allemande Vin Vendor

Paris, France (Paris, France)
27 November 2016
When one is in Paris for the first time, one must see the Eiffel Tower. 'Tis an unspoken rule, with terrible consequences if not abided.
Therefore, on a crisp Sunday morning we set our alarms alarmingly early and watched the sun rise from between the tower's sturdy limbs. We were first in line! I stamped and jogged in place for nearly an hour while we waited for the attraction to open, and after a quick security check we got to stand in another line in order to buy tickets for the elevator. Once we ascended, we appreciated the stunning panoramic views (dad more so - I found a heater and latched onto it for a while). Dad was suitably impressed, so all the standing around in the cold and queueing was well worth it.

Before leaving the tower, I warmed myself with a paper cup full of le thé dans le cafe and had a brief wander around the souvenir stalls to bring circulation back to my toes.

Continuing our sightseeing, we popped out of the metro by the Arc de Triomphe to take some pictures and dad rather bravely stood in the middle of the road in order to acquire the most symmetrical snaps.

Then on we went to the Notre Dame. We did consider going inside, but the line was extremely long. Clearly this would also have been an appropriate sight to wake up early for and be first in line. I showed dad the attractive garden at the back of the cathedral, which was covered in colourful leaves. He chilled there while I went for lunch at a nearby eatery.

On the way, I passed by some beautiful and autumnal streets. The cobblestones and bistros...so Parisien. 

Hank Vegan Burger offered a €14 meal deal which included a burger, fries, a drink and a dessert. Such a bargain! The food was amazing, and if I had spent more time in Paris, I would become a regular at Hank.
After a quick wee in a shopping mall along the way, I rejoined dad who had eaten a hot dog for lunch.

Seeing that our hotel was only a half hour walk away, according to Google Maps, we decided to walk back. En route, we admired the grandiose Pantheon and the neighbouring church of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont. As dad still hadn't seen many European churches, we entered the church to have a brief look around, and dad gave a few coins to a hobo on the steps.

Strolling onwards, we found ourselves next to the Institut Curie, a very prominent scientific research centre (as well as some downright cool graffiti).

After such an eventful day, we rested for a time at our hotel. That evening, I went for a walk to nearby Chinatown, where I saw that even the sign for McDo was in Chinese! Several men in dark coats were hovering around selling bootleg vegetables on makeshift crate-tables.

From there, I took the metro to north Paris where I patronised Toutofu, a Chinese restaurant where they make their own tofu. They make their own tofu! I ordered the ravioli-type tofu and mushroom parcels, with a pot of chrysanthemum tea on the side. The place was super low-key and quite frankly a delight. Around the area, entrepreneurs were selling roasted chestnuts and grilled corn from improvised cookers they had made from trolleys.

Still feeling like a bit of a wander, I took a metro to the centre and after a while found myself at the Christmas market by Champs Elysée. It was there that I bought mulled wine from a terribly depressed German woman who was manning a stall that professed "vin chaud", "glühwein" and ten other words that clearly meant "mulled wine" in more niche languages. At some Christmas markets, I've been to, you're supposed to return the cups to the vendors once you've finished with them so they can be washed and reused, but the depressed stallholder seemed bewildered and somehow even sadder when I attempted to pass it back to her so I suppose that was the wrong thing to do. Instead, I rinsed it out and gave it to dad as a memento.

The next morning we boarded the Eurostar once again (this time laden with kilos of chocolate and cider) and returned to the land of Eng.

Today's post was almost called: Sunrise Chills for the Preeminent Tower Clamberers