Thursday, March 28, 2013


Saturday was not just our last day in France, is was our final day abroad all together. 

We headed up for breakfast with Philippe before our last day of wandering.
For the last couple mornings Philippe had taken to putting a half a pomegranate on the top of our sliced fruit. It was too sour for me, but Jake always finished his off. 

Our rooms are on the first floor of the building. In the US that would mean the second floor. France's floors go 0,1,2,3, and so on. Every morning we got to have breakfast with Philippe in his home on the 6th floor. The first day we hiked it up the stairs. Then we realized there was a shoebox sized elevator and always used it to go up. We're slackers.

Philippe doesn't like having his picture taken, but his wife Nathalie is standing behind my Mom. She was very talkative like Philippe, but understood English a little better. She would occasionally explain things to him in French. 

We loved our stay with Phillipe. As long as it is a cool season, we would always stay with him. (His bed and breakfast doesn't have air conditioning.) If you ever find yourself headed to France, his contact info is in the photo below. 

For our final day, we decided to stick around town and walk around to some of the places we had missed.

First off, we wanted to visit a couple of the shops around our B&B. Dad was still not feeling very well, so he stayed behind to have a little nap while we shopped a little.

The roses were stunning at this florist shop. They even had mounds of petals surrounding the displays.

We walked past Monceau Flowers. 

They had some very unique bouquets for sale.

Their shop was enormous and appeared to go on forever.

They even had ranunculus. Love those!

We were headed to an antique shop around the corner, but she wasn't open yet. So, we headed back to a pastissier we hadn't made it to yet.

They were all about chocolate in this shop. Chocolate candy and chocolate desserts.

I got some macaroons to take home here.

If we were Parisians, we would need to invest in some rolling bags/carts. Most of the stores do not give bags, or they charge for them. So, on Saturdays we would need to head out with these to carry our purchases.

We went back and picked up Sleeping Beauty and headed for the antique shop. It was right across from the bus stop we would be using.

I would have to have a scooter for my kids if we lived in town. It is the only way you could get anything done walking everywhere. Zac is a horrible dawdler. We might have to get him a 3 wheeled scooter anyway. They look so much more stable than the regular two wheels.

An older metro entrance. Jake didn't like that they weren't uniform all over the city, but it kind of adds to the charm of the place.

This public park, Monceau Parc, is beautiful! Really green, with lakes and a kids play area. It is well prized by the local residents because it was very clean, and well used. I have never seen so many joggers in my life, outside of a marathon.

I liked the submarine.

The joggers just kept coming. 

Out we went to catch the 94 line.


While waiting for the bus, this woman passed by with her dog. Their coats had the same furriness.

Even the work trucks get vandalized here. I guess it's a good way to get your tag around town. After I took this picture, I noticed trucks driving around all day with graffiti all over them.

Our chariot arrived!

In we went. One carnet ticket each.

On to St. Martin!

Back out on the street, we realized we had some walking to do. Philippe had instructed us on how to get to Patrick Roger, a very famous chocolatier.


Ralph Lauren, a flagship I'm guessing.

This stores name is Izac. We have a Zac and an Isaac in our family.

We also passed this chocolatier. Look at the size of his chocolate eggs!

The assortment and execution of his chocolates were outstanding!

Our first kilt of the day. France was playing Scotland in football that evening.

After much window shopping, we finally made it!

Now, up until this point we have seen some amazing works of art in windows. Patrick Roger's weren't all that more awe inspiring. However, I could tell every display before this had been filled with little chocolate sculptures from molds. Patrick Roger's display was almost all by hand. Impressive.

Patrick Roger's chocolate makes Godiva look cheap.
He has a website and ships to the US. However, you will pay dearly.

I ended up only being able to stomach getting one package, the smallest, of something I got to sample. (The middle shelf, all the way to the right.) Now, until this experience, I have always wondered why in the world people dip orange flavored things in chocolate. Gross! What a waste I always think. However, this is why. Patrick Roger's chocolate is completely uncontaminated, pure, rich, chocolate utopia. Most of the time when I have chocolate (even Godiva) there is a slightly waxy taste, maybe even some bitterness to it. There is nothing but delicious cocoa in his creations. Plus, the item I ended up purchasing had orange zest in it. So, it was a delicious orange filling enveloped by the richest, warmest tasting dark chocolate without the least bit of bitterness you have ever savored. If I ever end up back in France, I will not balk at the price, and I will purchase all I want!

Also, see the shelving on the back wall? It was filled with bars of chocolate, organized by the country the chocolate originated from. So, if you prefer chocolate from Madagascar, you can buy a bar of it. Or maybe you prefer Mexico? Or Brazil? Or Indonesia? Or Nigeria? Whatever your taste, it is there.

 Bye Patrick Roger! You have changed my expectations for chocolate for the rest of my life. Thanks a lot.

We walked around for a little while, looking for a bistro Philippe suggested for lunch, but were unsuccessful in finding it. So, we headed back to Zen! Because it is delicious and we know how to get there. 

I thought it was interesting that this Metro stop had glass walls/doors which protected us from the open tracks (or maybe protected the tracks from us). The doors would open when the doors of the train opened. One too many people must have fallen or thrown themselves onto the track here.

This square near the Louvre is usually filled with sidewalk artists. The cold weather must have kept them away, but left this one artist with a captivated audience.

We quickly relocated Zen and three of us ordered the Yakiniku Don.

I thought it might be dead on Saturday, maybe even closed... we had to wait.

It did not disappoint the second time around. It was still delicious. 
I found a recipe for it. I am going to attempt to make it some time in the near future. 

Mom had the curry. It was good. But I think she decided ours was still better.

After lunch, we headed over to Isle St. Louis.

Isle St. Louis is the island behind Notre Dame. So, we had a little bit of a walk ahead of us. We passed a legume shop. 

We passed the most ornate Metro exit ever!

Also, a real couture shop. These were the only pieces on display. Everything is custom made here.

We saw lots more kilts as we walked toward the center of Paris.

Only a few braved the cold to open their trunk shops.

Another love bridge. They'll have a hard time cutting these locks off.

This looked like it was going to be a weekend flea market.

But it was actually a floral market.

The had every ornament imaginable for your garden.

The market was just one block over from Notre Dame.

Just past the grouchy crepe maker is a waffle stand. In both London and Paris we saw people walking around eating waffles like elephant ears or funnel cakes, topped with all sorts of stuff.

I thought it was funny that this tourist trap advertised "Free Entrance".

Jake cooled his jets while we puttered around.

Our last pass by the Rose Window.

The back of Notre Dame. The flying buttresses are possibly more dramatic than the front facade.

The bridge that runs between Notre Dame and Isle St. Louis is bustling with entertainment of all kinds during warmer weather. This one street performer was the only one present when we crossed. Dang cold weather.

Isle St. Louis is filled with lots of shops and eateries.

This shirt shop was amazing. 

Every type of patterned shirt imaginable was here.

Robot button down anyone?

The second chocolate shop we visited that day.

Not as delicious as Patrick Roger, but not as expensive either.
We found some yummy treats here!

 This store, Diwali, had the most extensive collection of scarfs I have ever seen.

They also had lots of jewelry to choose from.

The next time I come to Paris, 
I will just get all of my gifts for other women here.

There was a creepy puppet store across the street.

All of that shopping had cause us to work up an appetite.
Luckily, we stumbled past a boulangerie. I have decided I like the pastries at boulangeries best. They are heartier, less delicate.


 I got those things that look like chocolate discs, I regret not getting a dozen of them.

Jake got himself an apple tart. He inhaled it.

My choice ended up being like a chocolate muffin top dunked in chocolate.

Every bite was soft and moist. It was so very delicious. I wish I knew what kind of pan they used to create such a miraculous treat. Just looking at this picture makes me want one!

Back over a bridge we went in search of a Metro to take us to our next destination.

Mom and Dad shared a chocolate eclair. Chocolate pastry, chocolate icing, chocolate filling. Dad didn't realize it was all chocolate until they bit into. Therefor, it became Mom's eclair.

Down we go!

FYI: Before entering a metro platform, you will see a sign similar to this. This one lets us know we are getting on the 12 Line, headed in the direction of Aubervilliers, which is the last stop on the line in this direction before it turns around. It also gives you a list of all the stops in order from that platform until the final stop Aubervilliers. (I don't know why is says Front Populaire is the final stop. They possibly added it recently and kept the name of the line the same.)

There are also Metro and Bus maps posted everywhere in case you need to plan your route. That did happen to us in London one night when they closed down the line we were using. We had to hop off and head to another unfamiliar line and take a weird, winding path home.

Back to our itinerary. We were headed to Montmartre. When we got to Absesses (the Metro station we wanted) there was an elevator. We wondered why there was an elevator. 

Luckily, before heading up the steps, we noticed this little warning posted by some good Samaritan. 

Montmartre is the highest point in Paris, so the Metro is probably at its deepest point here.

Once you get above ground, you hit another cute carousel.
We were headed to the Sacre Coeur Basilica, but didn't know how to get there beside to keep going up. So, we just started walking and following what seemed to be a line of tourists; like in Versailles.

More graffiti. I think Montmartre had the most graffiti of anywhere we visited. 
If you look closely, you'll notice that this was done with a stencil. That means the artist can carry his stencil around with him, and tag the same exact image wherever he chooses. I hadn't seen any other stenciled graffiti yet in our travels. 

 This is one of the few times in my life I encouraged following the crowd.

Poor Jake's knee had started hurting him and we had to climb two steep and tall sets of stairs. This troubadour had found himself a cozy nook in the middle of all the Saturday traffic.

Dad counted upward of eighty stairs here.

And what a treat we had when we made it to the top!
An artists square full of painters and caricature artists. 

We were forewarned.

If you had turned around at the top of the stairs, you would have noticed the amazing view of Paris.

Some artists were painting as people perused. 

My Mom and Dad ended up buying us two mixed media pieces from this lady in the red scarf. One of the Eiffel Tower and the other of Notre Dame.

Some of the caricature artists were so aggressive! Calling out to you to have your drawing done and questioning you when you refused. 
Do not make eye contact!

The square was encompassed by outdoor cafes. Lots of people were sitting around witnessing the spectacle of everything.

Love birds.

We finally pulled ourselves away and set off for the Basilica again.

It was beautiful, but in need of a little pressure washing in the back.

The view from here was outstanding! There was nothing hidden from us here.

The inside of the Basilica is stunning. Some of the most beautiful mosaics I saw the entire trip were here. However, it is one of the youngest things we saw. It is only 100 years old. Pft. It's a baby.

It started sprinkling as we made our way back to the Metro.

There was more stenciled graffiti in the elevator we took down to the Metro platform.

Hello little french ladies!

At this point, we were exhausted and needed to pack for the airport. We decided to have a picnic in our rooms. Jake headed back first to get off his knee, while the rest of us went out to scavenge for food. It was before 7 so there would be no restaurants open yet. Luckily, we ran into Nathalie (our hostess) and she pointed us in the direction of their favorite patisserie and boulangerie.

It was just a block or so down from our B&B. It is where Philippe gets our pastries every morning. 

Mom ran into this patisserie directly across from our B&B and found they had a St. Honore' pastry! She snatched one up!

There was this place called, Mum Dim Sum, a few doors down from our B&B. I've always wanted to go to a dim sum place, preferably an authentic one in Chinatown or Asia, but this what we had to work with people. So, we went and got a variety of chicken, pork, and beef dumplings. They were okay, except for the Beef one. Jake and Dad said it was awful. 

This was the largest family I saw in Paris. One Dad with his four kids. The largest before this was a family of 4, two parents, two kids.

Our feast! Baguette, aged goat cheese, salami.

Sandwich anyone? The baguette was my favorite part.

Our desserts from the boulangerie. Poor Dad paid for a pistachio swirl/roll and it got left behind some how.

If you haven't heard, I've been dreaming about this pear tart. I WILL learn how to make this. It was so delicious and hearty. Mmm. It's going to happen people. It will be my life's mission!

Mom had raspberry tart and St. Honore'. Lucky lady.

Dad's last 3 euro coke.

Our haul from today. That Bio Honey is what Philippe has on his table every morning. Jake fell in love with it and he bought some for us and my parents to take home.


Sunday morning we were picked up by a taxi. It was a bit more than taking the Metro, but we thought it was worth it. It isn't so much the metro train, but the going up and down stairs with hundreds of pounds of luggage that is annoying.


Good-bye french graffiti!

Hello, Charles de Gaulle!

We got some Oranginas for our flight, and fwi. We had never had it before, but it was delicious, and we can't get it on Amazon over her. Next time fwi, I'll bring some of you home.

The Charles De Gaulle M Gate is ridiculous. It is a Mall. And not just any Mall, a posh Mall. There was a Laduree there. A Laduree shop and restaurant! Even the website is frilly and fabulously french! Check it out.

I was grateful for the moving platforms. Gate M is very expansive.

I love the vertical gardens.

They even had music centers,

and office centers,

and the cleanest and best functioning public restrooms I have ever been in.


We had a Delta, ran by Air France, flight to Atlanta.
Jake pulled out some peach rings at movie time. 

Also, the TV controls look like an old school Nintendo controller because it basically is one. It pops out and there are video games you can play. Nothing awesome to play, but another great way to occupy the kiddos.

And that is all folks. I had some pics of my Mom eating McDonalds in the Atlanta airport but I decided not to share those. 

I hope you enjoyed the show! We had a fabulous time and are very grateful for our parents to have shared it with us!