More Stairs, this time French

by mutteringhousewife

I should start by mentioning that our Paris apartment is up a flight of one hundred stairs. I haven’t personally counted them, but a friend who stayed here a couple of years ago did. No lift.

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It does mean that once we’re out of the house, we’re reluctant to go back until dark. So it was about morning tea time by the time we wandered over to the Cathedral of Notre Dame for another crack at the stairs. There was a much smaller queue, they only let a few people up at a time, and we amused ourselves by watching French driving. I’ll put a picture I took a little later in the day, of a bus trying to turn into a very narrow street and being blocked by a girl on a bike who rolled her eyes and moved forwards a few inches every time he rather politely beeped at her.

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Notre Dame is way down the list for number of stairs, but more than our flat, of course. I’ll have to make a table. There’s a bit of a tease where you buy your tickets a flight of stairs up from where they first let you in. There’s a gift shop there with a book of biblical calligraphy that I simply must have, but one was only in there a few minutes before they ushered you up the real stairs. I have to go back. I shall go back. Anyway, gargoyles. This one was my favourite, he was eating a creature that was simultaneously biting him on the leg.

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We could have looked at them for ages, every single one is different. But they do shuffle you through.
I would rather have liked a look at Saint Chapelle on the same island, we could see it from the top of Notre Dame. But you had to pay to get in, the entrance was underground and the kids said they couldn’t do two in a row. And then it started raining and they were hungry. So we wedged ourselves into a real Paris bistro.

It’s a little bit of a torture to me that my children are not terribly adventurous eaters. I’ve looked at lot of restaurant menus, and there just isn’t anything in French restaurants that they’re going to eat. So our first dinner I made the Horror cry with joy by taking them to a sushi restaurant. It was really good, very authentic looking, unlike the one we saw in Munich that also served chop suey and tomato soup. And since then I’ve been cooking at home. Lunch is slightly easier. At this bistro the Horror had a croque Monsieur with no ham, Muffet had one with ham, and the Moose had a plate of chips. In his defence, the chips in Italy were horrendous, so he hasn’t had any for a while. I had a ham and cheese sandwich on a delicious baguette. The Horror turned his inside out so he could pretend he was eating a toasted cheese sandwich.

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Thus fortified, we walked to the Eiffel Tower along the river bank. It’s not a particularly exciting walk, the river is mostly lined by blocks of the city approved Paris apartments. So I had to put up with a fair amount of scuffling and squealing and general high jinks, which has led to me accompanying my dinner tonight with a generous helping of Medoc plonk. It was really only my problem, there were very few pedestrians out on this drizzly Monday. We did pass a building covered with plants.

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And then we were there.

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Trips to the top in the elevator were booked out, but we were happy to take the stairs. They were only opened to the second level due to the drizzle, but that was well and truly high enough for us.

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Look, there’s the pool they jumped into at the end of Rush Hour 3. It looked a lot closer in the movie.

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When we descended we crossed the river to take a closer look at the pool and blow me down if there wasn’t a genuine double story French carousel with horses with real horse hair tails and accordion music playing with no one on it. How could we resist?

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Home again home again jiggety jig, but all the time looking out for what the kids are hoping to turn into a Paris ritual – the macaron tasting. The first night we bought a box of sixteen from Maison Larnicol around the corner. We took them home and solemnly placed them in the middle of the table, put out plates for all of us and poured ourselves a glass of water – to clear the palate between tasting. We would then choose one each and try to guess which flavour it was. Tonight’s were from de Neuville, more expensive so we only got twelve, but we preferred them. The tastes were stronger and the texture a bit chewier and the flavours less exotic.

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At least they’ll end up being connoisseurs of something.

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