6 May 17
After sleeping in to 8:30, I ran out for morning pastry and then whipped up ham and eggs to accompany. The day was cold and damp, but the rain subsided right as we hit the street. We headed for the Ile de la Cite, starting at the Marche aux Flores which hosts a bird market on Sundays. Eli is very into birds and could barely be contained in his stroller!
Next stop was Notre Dame Cathedral in all her glory. The largest chucrh in Paris was built between 1163 and 1345. We arrived during a morning mass that included a standout organ performance. By the end of the service, it was so loud and heavy that I would almost describe it as “heavy metal organ.” Jaime and Joan lit candles and Noah liked the construction models.
On the theme of churches we also visited Sainte Chapelle. No stroller access here, so I had to carry Elijah up two flights of narrow spiral staircases. I don’t know parents survived the middle ages! The Sainte-Chapelle or “Holy Chapel,” in the courtyard of the royal palace, was built to house Louis IX’s collection of relics of Christ. It’s very small church that is completely housed in stained glass. Hard to photograph, easy to appreciate.
Noah started asking for lunch, a clear signal that we had reached maximum culture quota, so we were off to the famed L’as du Fallafel in the Jewish quarter of the Marais. Holy wow! Grandma Joan’s first falafel was one for the books. Eli was pleased with his Shwarma. While eating, I was kindly offered and then harassed by a member of the local Chabad to lay tfillin. Sorry, Dude, not today and not while I’ve got my hands covered in deep fried chickpea deliciousness. For all the talk, the French have been nothing but kind, so it’s ironic the rudest behavior should come from a fellow Jew Yorker.
After, I was craving a little…something. From the corner of my eye the bright yellow doors of the Sacha Finkelstein Yiddish bakery called out like the siren song. Noah and I entered and everything was easily within reach so I kept his hungry hands close. Linzer tarts, challahs, rugeluch, bagels…and then I spotted French Rainbow cookies. Six please! Not quite as garrish as their American counterparts, the colors were more subtle, the cake a bit softer, the chocolate layer thinner. Noah agreed they were amazing and after said “merci.”
We returned to nap time for the ladies and babies, while Noah and I raced cars in the living room. We even had a few new vintage cars we’d acquired while out walking.
After Joan woke up, I went out for a solo adventure to explore the Odeon Quarter. I walked narrow streets and did a bit of window shopping. I visited the Church of Saint Suplice, a Roman Catholic Church that is the second largest in the city, a name I knew from the prominent role it played in Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code. I took a moment to light a candle myself, but didn’t find evidence of any basement Pagan Temple as in the book. After, I met a group of American and British Expats.
Tonight, Joan and the boys ate leftovers at home. After we bathed them and got Eli into bed, Jame and I slipped out for a quiet dinner together. It is really nice to have some time to connect during our trip. We ate a quiet meal at the Ambassade d’Auvergne, a 50 year old restaurant just around the corner. The room was cozy, service warm, food outstanding. Bread was served with pate instead of butter. We shared a fish tartar with garlic toast to start. I had heavenly sweet breads, Jamie enjoyed duck breast with alicote for entrees. Alicote is a magical blend of mashed potatoes and cheese that looks like traditional mashed, but pulls like melted cheese. Before serving, the waiter brings it out in a copper pot to demonstrate. The meal wasn’t even that expensive. I love dining like this.
On the way home, I took a picture with a Unicorn on the street.