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Around the World in 210 Days

France in a Round About

FRANCE | Friday, 5 October 2007 | Views [840] | Comments [9]

Sorry for the long delay in posting, but here goes. We have been in Paris for 10 days now, and my favorite place so far has been this place called Montemarte. It's this beautiful hill top where there is a church called Sacre Couer (Sacred Heart), from here you can see what must be most of Paris. You walk to the top of the mountain, and then stretched out before you is this massive city. The church though is my favorite part, it has these amazing arched ceilings, and the singing (there is a choir of nuns) just resonates and you can feel it in your bones. Just absolutely beautiful. The weather has been a mixture of overcast and sunny. Both fit the city very nicely though, the overcast gives it a little bit of a romantic feel, and the sunny makes you happy to be in a place where there is such history every where. Because that is what makes France different for me, there is a feel of history. All the buildings are beautiful--pretty much, because they are old, so they have carbon soot on the them, and these aesthetic extras that make them just seem to fit the city. And they are everywhere, each time you come out of a new subway system, old old buildings. A few days ago I took pictures of Valerie and Benoit. They are going to have a baby on November 20th, so we took pictures inside and out in their garden. I know...I know...where are the pictures. Well currently I am uploading them to photoworks, and I will add the link for it, so that you all can see them. I think there are some cool ones there, particularly the ones for Fontainbleau (spell?) Andrew decided back in the US that he wanted to go to Fontainbleau to celebrate my birthday, so that is where we went a few days ago. It was a very pretty city, and is in fact the place that Napolean gave his farewell speech prior to being sent off to St. Elba (or maybe Helena). Well you will be able to see from the photos, but that palace was seriously decorated. There were embroideries covering every square inch of some rooms. There was Marie Antoinette's bedchamber etc. The guidebooks describe it as the "unpolluted Versaille". I could see that, we toured through at a leisurely place and listened to audio tours. The weird thing about it was, each king seemed to want to leave their mark on the place. Andrew remarked that he was suprised the "H's" (for King Henry) weren't scratched out or grafiti'd with "L's" -- which is kind of funny, b/c you get that impression. These kings obviously thought they were as close to God as one could be on earth, and they thought nothing of dismantling rooms, or fireplaces of previous kings and replacing them with self-portraits. All the excess is truly impressive.

So for lunch in Fontaignbleau (I know I am not spelling it correctly, but bear with me) we went to a Patisserie and Andrew got a pizza-like thing, and I had some kind of egg-less quiche thing, and we shared a dessert-like thing. The dessert is called "1000-layers", b/c it is composed of lots of really thin layers of crust (kind of like baclava) and in the center of the three layers of crust is creme and on top is powdered sugar. Of course I laughed while taking a bite of this thing (it was huge) and blew powdered sugar all over Andrew. (Those that know Andrew know that he probably appreciated this as he loves powdered sugar). (Funny aside--the name of one of their brands of sugar here is Daddy--that makes me laugh to think of our term "Sugar Daddy") So after lunch and lots of photos we returned to Paris. We took it easy the next day and went to a Parisian shopping market with Valerie. If you think shopping for groceries is a long endeavor, you should try it in another language. The first trip resulted in us getting buttermilk rather than milk, and each time we go to the store, something somewhat similar happens. This trip though we wanted to cook for our hosts...yeah yeah...as annie said, you wanted to cook for French people. Well, I happen to think that we can make some pretty mean enchiladas. Of course, I was also overestimating the number of Mexican ingredients that would be in a grocery store. We ended up with an "Old El Paso" packet of ingredients. We bought cheese, having no idea what kind it was ,and some chips and salsa. As I am doing the vegetarian route, we decided to forgo the chicken. So in fact we weren't cooking so much as opening a can of Chef Boyardee, and smiling sadly. It wasn't too bad though, despite the cheese being some weird mozzarella-esk blend. We substituted chicken for rice, which gave them an enchirito like quality, but our hosts were very gracious, and ate their share. Poor Valerie though, she couldn't follow hers with wine, while the rest of us were able to drink liberally :) Benoit (prounounced Ben-wha) gave us an appertif which is this licorice like alcohol, I forget the name, which you mix 1 part alcohol, five parts water, and two ice cubes (yes--Andrew giggled like a girl when he saw the ice cubes). Then we had dinner, and for dessert we had brownies and ice cream...which was obviously my favorite part. Anyhow, so that is what we have been up to lately...oh yeah, Valerie showed us a game called Tarot. It's this card game with 78 cards (think cards twice as long as regular playing cards) with dozens of rules. We played that and Rook and something else, which was a lot of fun. Valerie has been helping us to find a place in Marseille which is our next stop. They have really been great, and made Paris a much easier place. Because...(drum roll)...even though it is apparent from Andrew's blogs that our language is advanced to the point that we will never be baguetteless (Did he mention baguette means stick?), it is tough sometimes having no way to fully express yourself, and there is a sense of isolation that comes from not speaking the general language. OF course we can get rid of that by visiting any major tourist attraction, which make us quickly appreciate the isolationism. But there is a sense of being alone in a way you don't necessarily get when you are surrounded by people speaking your language. I think it could be good, and I suspect it will get much more pronounced as we travel east, but it's interesting nonetheless...

Thank you to everyone who is posting, the funny, the sad, the happy, the random thoughts and suggestions. It makes the trip better to share it. We of course won't remember that the only people that seem to speak English to us are the gypsies and the people lost in the subway system, or that there was one good Patisserie and one bad Patisserie and the bad Patisserie only had a line on Wednesdays when the good one was closed. But your comments and this blog is a lot of fun for us, and we really are so happy each time we read a comment. So Merci Beaucoup!

Tags: Laughter



I don't have time to read such a long post. Could you please send me a short summary of what you posted?

JUST KIDDING! I am so glad to hear from the daughter in lawyer. I was beginning to suspect that Andrew left you with the knife guy and ran for the hills. It is good to know that you are seeing some architecture that will even impress people who have been living in a castle the last month or so.
Keep posting or the terrorists win!

  Rrrricardo Oct 5, 2007 11:25 PM


That was a long post, it's like it came from a lawyer or somthing ?

  Lefty in the Desert Oct 6, 2007 1:39 AM


Okay this is the risk you run.
You no post.
I post.

Random thoughts on the entry from Alex.

the singing nun choir sounds very cool.

And the stuff about KINGS...
"These kings obviously thought they were as close to God as one could be on earth, and they thought nothing of dismantling rooms, or fireplaces of previous kings and replacing them with self-portraits."
Sounds like a DANIEL KING I know.

I learned something. I always thought that Tarot cards were used only for divination but I now know there are at least three actual games you can play with them.

Regarding the Daddy sugar...a thoughtful daughter might find a packet of that and send it to Parker Hinesly to add to his treasures. But, he would probably just sprinkle into his coffee.

For a film reference for Andrew...did you know the next city you guys are headed to is where the FRENCH CONNECTION and the BOURNE IDENTITY were filmed? (not to mention a bit in THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA.

One last thought on Le McDonalds food. Just a reminder. Your foreign burgers may be made of horse meat. I'm just saying.

  Rrrricardo Oct 6, 2007 10:42 PM


Montmartre? TIS A VILLAGE OF SIN!!!

I know you and Andrew are being frugal people now, what with needing to stretch money for 7 months, so you probably didn't get to eat at the Moulin Rouge and see the shows, but that's definitely something I want to do when I go to Paris: head on up the village on the hill and drop some buckaroos on the food and show.

But if you did go see the windmill, how was it?

  Kyle Oct 7, 2007 3:07 AM


Fountainebleu is beautiful, they are having a program on Sunday Oct. 21 @ 5pm called Music from the Chateau, it's a shame you guys won't be there for it. Paris sounds amazing and wonderful, I am really glad you guys are having such a great time. It sounds like siblings changing rooms after the older ones leave, wipe out the former and transform to the new. Glad you three did not go in for that, thank goodness. Your shopping trips should spark alot of fun as you may plan what you want for dinner but could wind up with something totally different (not boring) be sure to buy a deck of tarot cards and write down how to play, so we can all enjoy it. do bring back a couple of packets of daddy sugar, and remember to send the link for the pictures. love to you both mom

  mardi Oct 7, 2007 1:36 PM


Here is a real email I received from world traveler Monsieur Andrew. He writes:

"Blahdy blahdy blah. We'll post when we're good and ready. It takes time to write such masterful pieces as "guy with knife" and "french trains are confusing." So there."

Can you believe his mother raised a kid like that?

  Rrrricardo Oct 7, 2007 11:52 PM


Ouch, that one hurt Rrricardo. (Just remember that was from a guy that taunts his own son about not having DP.)

Love you guys tons and thank for taking the time to post. You both write incredibly interesting stuff...

  Sandy Oct 8, 2007 2:32 AM


really good pictures

  mardi Oct 8, 2007 1:14 PM


Valerie and Benoit sound like great hosts. Glad you have them. No doubt they will be telling their friends about the unusual "Mex" food for a long time. Do the baguettes replace chocolate chip cookies?

We expect fabulous pics of all the places you are seeing.


  jean farris Oct 8, 2007 1:19 PM

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