[Oops, this is not Steven talking, it’s Susan!] Not to sound snobby (although sometimes I feel like we do just because of our lifestyle), but we have been in Paris many times and we’ve checked off all the really touristy stuff so we try to explore areas where real Parisians are (and where we may want to live if we can learn some French after we learn Spanish). We are also tried to make sure we can do the loooooong hikes we signed up for in Patagonia and Machu Picchu.
So, this weekend was death march weekend. That’s Steven’s name for them anyway and according to our phones, he’s getting the old man bump. Even though we are walking the same distances and walking them together, his phone always says he’s gone farther than my phone says I have walked (HA! She is just jealous of my ability to out-walk her).
Anyway, Saturday, we took the Metro to Pere Lachaise, but we didn’t play Dead Person Bingo. We just wanted to explore the 19th arrondissement. I thought there was a farmer’s market there so the plan was to buy some lunch and head to Parc Buttes-Chaumont for a picnic. Parisians love a good summer picnic. I didn’t realize that the farmer’s market wasn’t open on Saturdays, but aucun problème. Instead we hit the Carrefore supermarche (I bought curried chicken, was supposed to be served hot, but I put it on a baguette – it was delicious) and headed over to a park in which I heard no English spoken. Excellent!
BTW, we totally decided that we love the 19th. In fact, we LOVE Paris. What are we thinking when we say we want to go somewhere else. Paris is magnetic, electric, parfait! The park was beautiful, the day was beautiful and so we made our typical decision and walked home all the way across Paris. How can you go wrong (Can you say death march?)?
After the park, we headed over to Paris Plages at the canal. There are paddle boats, swimming spots, snack bars, playgrounds, and other fun activities at the water (nice little restaurants which we didn’t stop at because no drinks allowed during the death march!). We had no idea it was there, but we had past it on the Metro on our way to the park and decided to walk that way. One thing we do well is the detour. It’s always worth it to find somewhere on the map and just head over because it looks like something worth seeing.
Sunday, we planned another long walk. One of the fabulous things about Paris is that we really still don’t know it at all. We “live” close (if you are like us and think a 4 km walk is close) to a huge park and Roland Garros and didn’t even know it. Nothing is happening at Roland Garros, but that makes it 3 for 4 grand slam sites I have seen, but not been in. Haven’t been to Melbourne, yet.
Then, we headed to Parc de Bagatelle, which Google said was “more crowded than usual,” but was mostly deserted and beautiful. It’s a botanic garden with a chateau (that was closed) and a few ponds to sit around while you eat your picnic lunch on a perfect Paris day without a cloud in the sky. We ate, admired the roses and then we (I) decided that since we were so close to the Seine, which oxbows around there, we should head over.
The bad part of that was that we accidentally left Paris. Oh no! Technically we were in Neuilly-Sur-Seine, but we could see Paris across the street — phew! The big plus was that we didn’t hear any English, not that we can speak French although a few words are coming back from my four weeks of lessons last year.
This weekend we hit the westernmost park and an eastern park. We walked about 17 miles, most of the time trying to figure out how we would manage to live here … but who knows? We have no plans past our South American jaunt.
Friday night, we met a woman Steven used to work with and her husband and had a very nice Lebanese dinner at al Dar. One of the tough things about travel is that we don’t have much of a social life except with each other, so it was a happy coincidence that their travel overlapped with ours. Life is good.