Mom wrote about events, but stay tuned later in the post for Ella’s!
We arrived around 8PM in Paris after a long, relatively comfortable bus ride from Amsterdam. Our bus driver was a little eccentric, and we arrived with a flourish as he tried to run over a parking place full of pigeons.
We had a pretty good walk to the metro stop, so we were whipped after hauling our regular backpacks, a bag of groceries, a soccer ball, and newly full souvenir bag. Later we discovered, near the time we were passing through Roosevelt, a shooting had occurred involving an Islamic extremist – murdering a police officer. We had been a little nervous anyways with the election happening while we were here. After speaking with several French young people throughout our trip, their election was expected to be as contentious as ours. Still, this was just the first round of elections, not the final. We had read a lot about the platforms of each candidate, and Le Pen did sound a lot like President Trump. We hurt for the police officer and his family, and hoped things didn’t worsen as election day grew closer.
Police officers and military were out in force the next morning, patrolling most places we stopped. It’s strange how you know they make you safer, but you feel so much more uneasy. Grangoo and Grandpa arrived early that morning, but didn’t arrive at the airbnb till around lunch time due to all the traffic. We caught a quick lunch on the Rue de, and tried to distract the kids from the variety of older prostitutes dotting the roadside dressed in a little black fur and not much else. Weirdest environment ever, I think we were near the Moulin Rouge. We decided since we had the good part of a day left, and Grangoo and Grandpa needed to try and stay awake, we headed on over to the Notre Dame.
The line there is always crazy, but you can’t miss climbing to the top and seeing the incredible view and creepy gargoyles, as you pretend to see Quasimoto swinging from the bells. Grandpa decided the endless spiraling staircase was probably a bad idea after his hip surgeries, so he and Grangoo sat in the warm sun in front while we climbed to the top.
I still remember climbing the Cathedral with Walden on Chris’s back, grinning from ear to ear. He and Ella were still smiling pretty big this time. I mean, this place is really cool.
The cathedral is imposing but is meant to represent the grace and compassion of Christ’s mother, Mary. Building was started in 1113 and ended in 1345. Many people volunteered to work on the cathedral, and the work was difficult and endless. Christ’s supposed “crown of thorns” is housed in the Treasury.
The church is a fine example of Gothic architecture, with the distinctive flying buttresses. The stone beams are 50 feet long and support the roof from collapse. The gargoyles represent souls trapped between heaven and earth.
This is our crazy Ella’s version of events:
“I am truly sorry I don’t speak your language people, but I’m only going to be here for a week. At least that’s what I think, all day. I guess they expect us to speak French just like we expect them to speak English, but that’s beside the point. I can’t understand anything here. Almost everyone in the world has all these romantic images of Paris: “the city of love”, “the city of light”, and “the city of overpriced coke”. Five dollar coke and no refills. It’s a crime I tell ya.
Our first day in Paris, we waited in the two hour line to go up to the top of the Notre Dame.
I talked to the gargoyles, but they wouldn’t talk back. Disney lied.
Notre Dame was impressive, but they had this net around the entire view from the top so you really couldn’t take any pictures. Fortunately, angry people, obsessed with the perfect instagram photo, ripped holes in the nets so you could sort of get a picture.
If you ever find yourself in the forever still line for the Notre Dame, be warned the bathrooms are underground, and almost as strange as those in Agra.” – Ella