Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Au revoir


It is not possible to do Paris well in just a few days but we tried our best.  You just need to be willing to forgo a bit of sleep to pack it all in :) 
A late Fall morning walk through the Luxembourg Gardens was a wonderful way to start the day. Keep in mind that the design of the gardens is perfect for children. You can find a playground, a zip line, a puppet theater and...oh, how Parisians love their carousels. We saw them in every town.
Sometimes they are musicless but always turn and spin with grace. What I found intriguing was the game children play while riding the horses. If you are on the outside horse you hold a small baton or stick in your hand. The attendant unhooks a pear shaped wooden egg and slips little tin rings into the egg. As children race around they try to spear the rings dangling from the egg onto their batons. As the carousel picks up speed it gets tricky for the child to catch a ring on their stick. There is no reward for being able to spear the rings on the stick just the satisfaction of accomplishing it. 


Love Locks
Now can you guess why all these padlocks are hooked to the fence? It seems in Paris there is a custom of attaching padlocks to bridge railings, fences or other public fixtures as a way for couples to pledge their undying love. Lovers attach a padlock engraved with their names or initials or dates on it and then the key is thrown into the river. Most couples throw away their key, but as stories go some hang on to it as keepsakes for their children. It was quite the scene to see padlocks filling up the fences all across the Pont des Arts Bridge. This custom has its link to a 2006 novel Ho Voglia di Te (I Want You), by Italian author Federico Moccia. All along the street near bridge padlocks were for sale. 

Even though Paris has the nickname City of Lights one could add City of Steps. After a metro ride with a transfer there were over 100 steps to get out of the subway to reach the Montmarte (Mountain of the Martyrs) area and then over some 400 steps to reach the Sacre Coeur, a Byzantine looking church. While this 130 year old church was impressive so were the Sunday crowds listening to an impromptu concert.
Imagine trying to have your wedding pictures taken on the steps near the entrance of the church. 
View looking down from the church.


We definitely needed an espresso fix at one of the many, many cafes bordering the streets before heading back to the hotel. At least going down steps is easier and faster.

 Au revoir or Salut

P.S. Some French recipes acquired along the way will be coming soon. I need to figure out how to convert the ingredients to our American measuring standards.
Hope you enjoyed hanging on to our shirttails as we cruised starting at the Cote d Azur (blue coast area) to Provence on to Burgundy then to Paris.  

2 comments:

  1. Carousels in most parks...how sweet is that. And the game the children play while riding is especially interesting. I enjoy hearing tidbits like that.

    Do couples write messages on those locks? I'm curious.

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  2. I enjoyed your travelogue. You served up many delicious slices of French life.

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