9 May 17
Today I slept in while Jamie made the early pastry run. It was nice to wake up after almost 10 hours of sleep to a beautiful spread from Hure waiting on the kitchen table. We departed at 8:15 for Jamie & Joan’s 10:30 Eiffel Tower tour. First we planned to take the hop on/hop off boat, but it doesn’t start ‘till 10. Then we ordered an Uber, but he wouldn’t load 5 guests so close to a Police. Then we walked across Ile de Cite to the RER station. That RER is confusing, but Noah loved taking his first double decker train. Joan was worried she’d miss her tour, but we FINALLY arrived at 10:15.
While girls went up high, we kept it on the low. The Tower is beautiful, but the surrounding area may as well be Mos Eisly spaceport; a wretched hive of tourists and villainy. Beggers and scammers galore, with people hawking everything from cheap trinkets to selfie sticks. That’s just what a tourist trap needs: more selfie sticks!
Noah was displeased with parting from Mommy, so our first stop after crossing the Pont d’lena was for a nutella crepe. Then we headed up through the Jardin du Trocadero to visit the acquarium. The views were incredible, but we found ourselves staring at 3+ flights of old stone stairs. Given my love for fish, I took Eli in one arm, stroller in the other and had Noah hold on to my leg. Together, we made a climb that felt like the final steps on Everest.
At the top, we learn the Museum was closed. I mutter words of frustration under my breath and Noah begins asking “Daddy, Why said Shit?!” He wants a playground like we visited yesterday. We wander back around the long way as there was no chance I was going down those dreadful stairs! I take deep, calming breathes, apologize for my exclamation and try to enjoy the tree lined block.
And then I spot a perfect little playground. We play for a while. Eli impresses me with his bravery, climbing over a netted section without any help. A school out for recess arrives and runs laps around us. Then we leave and find yet another carousel; our third in as many days. Not content to sit on a bench with me Eli says “horsey,” a new word that I got to experience with him.
We meet up with Jamie and Joan after walking the Champ Du Mars. They loved the Tour Eiffel, but it was cold and they were ready for lunch. On the advice of my good friend Chicago Bob, we went to L’Ami Jean. With no reservation, this small traditional French restaurant seated us, and bore us no ill will for the boys wild-ish behavior. Joan puzzled over the French only menu. The only words I recognized were pommes, saumon, boeuf and pigeon. I knew which one she wouldn’t eat. The waiter declared he didn’t speak English, then kindly translated the menu. We tried to occupy the boys while exec chef Stefane Jego prepared our salmon, veal cheeks, and pork casserole. I had a perfect view of the kitchen and enjoyed watching him work his craft and work his line cooks. The food arrived and was PERFECTION. Every morsel was delicious. Eli covered his face and place setting with mashed potatoes. Fortunately, he’d been flirting up the hostess and she came to clean him and his setting. The whole experience was unforgettable.
We caught an uber home, and ladies and baby napped while Noah and I went out on an adventure. We procured a fresh stock of lactaid, played in a random park, ate ice cream, had an eclair and purchased a few more used matchbox cars. Noah had a blast! The only thing he didn’t like was the eclair. Shocking as said Eclair was from La Tour Boulanger (yes, as in the Tour D’Argent) and was easily the best eclair I’ve ever had.
The whole outing was a success. Just talking with him about the city, answering his questions and negotiating the day is quite marvelous. How did my little baby turn into this clever little boy? I can’t believe that he will soon be four. He encourages me to drive his stroller through puddles and loves it when we chase pigeons. We see Police cars and he sings “hey Makisupa Policeman!”
We return at 3:30, coffee for Mommy in hand to cure her of napping brain, and then head out for this boat tour for which we’d earlier procured tickets. The heat had finally come up to perfect t-shirt weather, but under a glass roofed boat, we began shvitzing instantly. As opposed to the whole 9 stop route, we took “hop on/hop off” quite literally and got off at the next stop!
We arrived at 4:30, not long before closing and took advantage of discounted admission to the Musee D’Orsay. Starting from the top, the fifth floor houses an incredible collection of impressionists. Renoir, Monet, Manet, Cezanne and here I discovered Pisarro. Noah loved Renoir’s nudes and stood transfixed for minutes. We tried to get him to leave and he yells “NO! I like it!!”
We walked the hall rather quickly though. So, we went again, backwards and took a few extra moments to appreciate. We headed to the lower levels to continue exploring. Noah loved driving his cars on the floors, and as it was emptying out near closing time, it was OK. And then, on level -1, he found a series of downhill ramps and took off running across the entire museum. I had to sprint to catch him. Not cool, but when I caught him he was laughing hysterically and I had to join in.
At another point he asks “What happens if the statue moves?” Jamie explained that statues are made of rock and don’t move. He considers that for moment, then returns with “But what if it DOES move?” Checkmate.
We ubered home, and Joan and the boys enjoyed a quiet meal. After shower, and putting Eli down, Jamie and I went out on another date night. It is so nice to spend quality time with the woman I love. I found GrandCouer on the website Eater and it was also fantastic. New French served in a hip, but comfortable setting. Our table looked out on a courtyard, with peek a boo views of a dance studio. The food and service were sublime, especially Jamie’s lamb shoulder, but the highlight was having downtime to relax, talk and laugh together.