Monday, 14 May 2012

I turn 52 in Paris with Seb and Den!

After our long walk on Saturday and a quick dinner in, we marshalled our energy and went back out to take the Seine cruise.  It was a beautiful evening and the trusty 69 bus took us to Hotel de Ville, where we got off and started walking around slowly, showing Seb more sights of Paris and trying to give him a little history at the same time.  I know that he's missing 8 days of school by taking this trip, but I really believe that travel is the best education you can get and I can see that he is really absorbing what we tell him.  As we cross the bridge to Notre Dame, there is a beautiful sunset and I feel so blessed to be in the city I love with the people I love.

We show Seb the statue of Saint Denis on the outside of the church and then go in and wander around quietly, telling Seb we have to respect the people who have come here to pray.  It's not a long visit, but I did want him to see what a 1000 year old church looks like and to imagine how this building got built without any machinery over 150 years.  We then stroll across the plaza in front of the church and walk towards the end of Ile de la Cite, where we will board our cruise.

There are lots of young adults sitting on the banks of the Seine, drinking wine and beer, singing, chatting, and looking into each other's eyes.  Ah, to be young and in love and in Paris!

Our cruise is about an hour long and it's cold and windy, but we are well dressed for the weather and Seb loved the boat ride.  Of course, the highlight for him is the Eiffel Tower, but he enjoys seeing all the different buildings lit up at night.  We see Eiffel sparkle from afar and Seb tells me he loves Paris.  I've created another monster, lol.

Once the cruise is done, we walk across Pont Neuf and wait for the 69 to take us back home.  We get home around 11:30pm, tired but very happy with our day.

We all sleep in until almost 10am the next morning and Seb and Den serenade me with Happy Birthday.  We laze around the apartment for the rest of the morning ~ Den goes to get our ubiquitous pain au chocolate, croissants, and pain au raisin.  We have strawberries and kiwis (so that Seb's mom knows we are feeding him some healthy stuff, lol), yogurt, coffee and milk.

We make our plans for the day and do a load of wash.  As we are waiting for our laundry to be done, I remember that our very kind landlords have left a split of Champagne for us.  We decide to sit in the sunshine and toast my birthday.  Seb passes on the champagne but munches on a bunch of olives and plays on the iPad.

We leave the apartment a little after 1pm and take the metro to Denfert Rochereau so Seb can see the big lion statue.  He also spots another Space Invader!  We walk towards the Luxembourg Gardens, hoping to find a bakery to buy some sandwiches so we can have a picnic in the park.  Unfortunately, it's Sunday and everything seems to be closed.  We walk along blvd de Montparnasse for a few blocks and find a little pastry shop that sells macarons, so at least we have dessert!

We decide we will just go into the gardens and buy lunch there ~ it's not what we had planned and we know it won't be the baguettes we had hoped for, but hey, we're in Paris on my birthday!  We get some grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and some water, and sit in those green chairs that are scattered around the park, munching, drinking and enjoying the scenery.  The macarons are delicious and I have a specaloo one that is really fantastic.  Specaloo macrons ~ who knew!

We give Seb the option of going to the playground or pushing one of those little boats on the pond.  He opts for the boat (it's only 2 euros for 30 minutes, one of the great deals in Paris) and he has a ball pushing his boat, trying to figure out which way the wind will take it and hurrying to the other side to be able to push it out again.  There are kids running around all over the place with these long sticks and I know this would not be allowed anywhere in North America, where parents and lawsuits rule, lol

After Seb exhausts himself running around for half an hour, we exit the park in front of the Senate buildings, taking the time to look at the Medici Fountain and giving Seb another history lesson.  We take the metro at Odeon, transfer at Strasbourg St Denis and get off at our little stop, Voltaire.

We rest for a little over an hour and back out we go.  I made reservations at Chez Clement near La Bastille online through La Fourchette.  It's a beautiful night for a stroll and there are so many people out enjoying the balmy evening air.  The restaurant has reserved a great table for us on the inside terrace, and they are so kind with Seb.  He gets a special menu, some little gifts and even a Chef's hat.  Most of you know that when we come to Paris, we usually enjoy finding the newest and coolest places to eat and get very adventurous with our meals.  Since this is Seb's trip, I've tried to choose places that will be welcoming to a child but also have some choices for us.  I know that Chez Clement is a chain restaurant, but we are quite pleased with our meal and especially the welcome they give Seb.

Dinner is a leisurely 2 hours and 15 minutes and I'm proud to say that Seb was so well behaved through all of it.  We started with some more champagne (hey, it's my birthday) and then I ordered oysters as my entree and salmon with pureed potatoes as my main.  Den had spinach ravioli to start and duck confit as his meal.  Seb had pasta with ham and cheese and a chocolate crepe for dessert.  A bottle of cold muscadet went perfectly with our meal and Seb helped us finish our desserts of creme brûlée and Ile Flottant.  Dinner was a very reasonable 110 euros and we are off to climb the Arc de Triomphe and see Eiffel sparkle again.

We take the metro at Bastille and walk quickly to the Arc ~ we have about 15 minutes to make it up to the top before the tower starts its light show again.  Up and up we climb, around and around the stairs go, but we make it with a few minutes to spare.  My old lungs and legs are burning, but it's all worth it to see Seb's face when the Eiffel Tower does its thing again.  Once it's done, we take a walk around the Arc as I point out various sights to Seb and then we begin our descent.

We decide to walk down the Champs Elysees for a little bit just to show Seb how grand (and full of tourist shops) it is.  We turn off at rue la Boetie and walk to metro St Philippedu Roule so we can board on line 9 and avoid a transfer.  We are back in our little apartment by 11:30 and we all fall into bed, tired but very happy with our day.  Seb has been such a good boy, never once complaining about all the walking and climbing he has to do.  We are so proud of him and happy to he seems to really "get" Paris.

We all sleep in until 10:30 this morning (are you seeing a pattern here, lol).  Den isn't feeling well, so Seb and I will take a little walk to Place des Voges for a picnic lunch and maybe some Berthillon ice cream later this afternoon.  We'll see how Den feels later on ~ Pizza Momo on rue St Antoine may be dinner tonight.

Thanks to everyone for all the birthday wishes on Facebook ~ this has truly been an unforgettable birthday!

lunch at Luxembourg

and macarons for dessert

specaloo macaron!

A child with a big stick

Medici Fountain

Chef Seb at Chez Clement

Bonne fete a moi!

lots of desserts

sorry, not in order!

champagne for breakfast!


space invader


  1. oh my goodness Muriel!! You are having such a good time! Love your reports and love that you are showing your beautiful grandson Seb the sights and sounds of Paris... he has such a gorgeous smile!! So pleased you enjoyed your Birthday lovely.... hugs to you all xxx

  2. Mother of Chaos14 May 2012 at 23:57

    What an amazing way to spend your birthday! We are going to Paris for two weeks this summer with our 4 kids and your blog is very informative! I will have to go back and read more. What a lucky grandson you have :)

  3. Happy birthday Jo. What a wonderful wayto spend it in your favourite city with your beloved grandson and husband of course.

    Glad the rain dances worked and you have got sunshine.

    Love from Tallinn.