Thursday, December 11, 2014

Amsterdam-France - day 7

23 September 2014

We went to see the Île de la Cité, one of two natural islands in the Seine which is part of Paris city. It houses the Notre-Dame cathedral and Pont Neuf, which in spite of its name 'the new bridge', is the oldest bridge in Paris. The island is connected to the rest of Paris by bridges, so we just walked over.

We started with the Notre-Dame cathedral, which is among the largest and most well-known church buildings in the world. 

The queue to get inside was very long, and we were not sure if Xena would be quiet enough, so we decided not to go in.

Instead, we took some pictures just outside the cathedral.

Xena and me outside the Notre-Dame

Notre-Dame is considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture.

It is also famous for its stained glass windows.

We walked all around the cathedral, admiring the architecture. This is the southern facade. 

Xena with a clear shot of the western facade of the cathedral

Xena and her poppy admiring the cathedral

Just outside the cathedral is a rather ghostly-looking statue of the Roman emperor Charlemagne on his horse

By now, Xena was getting a bit bored by our revolution around the cathedral. Thankfully, we found a playground and she had a great time.

We walked across the Pont Neuf bridge. 

Ugh! Locks and more locks!

There were tons of roadside shops selling paintings and books. I spotted the French version of the Tintin comic book 'The red sea sharks'. It was titled 'Coke en stock' which amused me to no end. 

To our utter joy, a full morning of being carried had made Xena hungry! So we got her a sugar crepe, one of the few things she'd begun to consume and enjoy.

It was so pleasing to see her eat something by herself! It did take her a good hour and a half to finish it though. 

Next, we headed towards the Luxembourg palace. 

The Luxembourg gardens were huge and sprawling, and Xena happily explored it. 

We took a breather on one of the benches. 

Poor Viv still attempting to get the rest of the crepe into her little tummy

Viv and I were quite hungry by now, so we walked around looking for a lunch place with some vegetarian options. 

We found a great Italian place, and I was delighted as I got to speak quite a bit of French with the waiter. I had my French phrasebook along, of course, which came to my aid when ordering a pizza without ham (sans jambon) for Viv. It was a bit of a damper when the restaurant's manager sent along an English-speaking waiter "just to confirm our order". Sheesh. 

Me enjoying a mojito with my lunch (it was very strong!)

Xena wants to show off her 'mojito' too!

Viv said he'd been quite impressed at my French, especially whenever I spoke too fast for him to follow. I enjoyed his stumped look when we stopped at a restaurant and I asked the waiter if they had anything vegetarian. We'd both done the same French course in university, but because I'd watched a lot of online Youtube tutorials before the trip, I was doing better. I encouraged him to try and polish his rusty French. He seemed keen, so I asked him to ask for the bill in French. 'L'addition sil vous plait', I taught him. And what does he do? He shows the waiter a writing gesture, and the waiter brings us the bill. SHEESH! 

Xena saw this statue and said, "Mama, you count to 11 and I will roar like a dragon." Why 11? No idea. 

It was Xena's naptime so we went back to our place, where she was not the only one to get some shuteye! 

At about 5:30 in the evening, we left for Île Saint-Louis, the other natural island in the Seine

It was breezy and lovely, and there were even some street musicians playing amazing music! We got Xena to put some money in their guitar cases. 

I captured a video of their performance.

We had ice-cream at Berthillon, known to be the best ice cream in all of Paris! It was really creamy and nice, and I also got to hear Viv's first full conversation in French, when he ordered it! Finally! Well done, Viv. 

We had dinner at Burger Bistro on Rue Montorgueil. 

My happy little bunny

On the way back, we stopped to watch the lights on the Eiffel Tower. 

Can't say I was fan. The twinkling part was a bit ghastly. 

I got a video of the Eiffel tower's night lights. 

And this is me when I got home. Why did I take a selfie in my pyjamas? BECAUSE my hair was still straight! It is never this straight in Singapore. The humidity causes it to become a tropical rainforest and my poor hairbrush has to find its way with much difficulty. In Paris, my hair was straight and flowing and most importantly... under control!

Click here for Amsterdam-France - day 8. 



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