Saturday, September 20, 2008

L'Open Tour & Rue Cler

The Bobs and I headed out on the Metro, which would become one of my favorite things about Paris.  But more on that later because at this point we were headed to L'Open Tour--a double decker, grande yellow tour bus that is filled to the brim with (!) TOURISTS.  There are A LOT of them in Paris as you might imagine.

The buses have four different tours throughout the city.  You hop on at one of their many stops, buy a ticket (we got a two day ticket) from the driver for about 30(ish) euro and get handed yellow headphones which you plug into little radio thingies at each seat.  They have seven or eight different languages and as you cruise around the city in this VERY conspicuous HUGE tour bus, you learn about the major landmarks ... or listen to French music while you chill in traffic.  And if you'd like to hope off at any of their stops?  No sweat, you can look around and catch the next bus.  Buses come about every 15 minutes and it was the perfect way for us to lay our eyes on everything we couldn't wait to see.  

Like this ...

Or this ...

The photo below is one of my favorites.  The Seine in the background, this gorgeous clock on the street corner but also the movement of the people.  This city is constantly in motion.  Bikes, vespas, walkers, joggers and cars.  The apartments are small enough to only hold what you absolutely need to get you OUT into the city.  And where yes, there were a lot of tourists, the streets were full of Parisians going about their daily business.  

There are bikes throughout the city that you can rent for a few euros, so it wasn't uncommon to see a gorgeous, well put together Frenchwoman in a skirt and heels cruising up the street with her scarf blowing in the wind.

After L'Open tour, we walked over to a market street called Rue Cler.  They were starting to close for the afternoon--but we were able to see just how distinct each shop was.  A florist may be next to a butcher who would be next to a cheese maker who would be next to a baker.  And there always seemed to be a "Pharmacie" or "Coiffure" (pharmacy or hairdresser) in the mix as well.

The photo opportunities?  ENDLESS.

By that time SSG had been awake for over 24 hours and so we made our way back to the apartment but not before a quick stop at Fauchon, a famous bakery Mrs. Bob and I had been dreaming about.  Fauchon was having their eclair festival that weekend (serendipitous, no?).  We sat around the living room back at the apartment noshing on a baguette we picked up on our way home, a glass of wine and some cheese finishing up, of course, with our eclairs.

I went to bed at 5:30 p.m. Paris time.  Full.  Satisfied.  Happy.

A snippet from my journal when I woke up later that evening:

This city does not disappoint.  I was a little worried about my expectations ... they were HIGH.  But it all is so amazing--huge, intricate, lovely set against blue skies we had today.  I am struck by how NORMAL it is to be here.  It feels like the first time I went through Seattle or Portland.  Like home. 

Snapshot of Coco:

Thank You (Dido)
Crash (Dave Matthews)
Take it to the Limit (The Eagles)
So Are You to Me (EastMountainSouth)
Forgotten Years (Midnight Oil)


Lys said...

The city seems to be a hustle of activity. I'd go crazy in that market *LOL*

There's something to be said for places that seem like "home" or "right" when you get there. Those are places that you know you will be a repeat visitor to over, and over, and over again.

wah-Dah-Tay said...

Coco is the bomb! It sounds like you made the absolute right choices for the soundtrack of your trip. I love that you used the journal as well. Ah, Paris! Did you get any photo's at the nude beach?

Big Hair Envy said...

The pictures are awesome!!! I'm ready to go, whenever you and Wade are ready to go with me........

I want to go to specialty shops that sell flowers, fruit, cheese, WINE and croissants. Do you think the concept would catch on here in the States?? We are such a "Wal-Mart World" that people probably wouldn't appreciate the quaintness of the idea.

You know, I have always wanted to be able to bike to work, shop, etc. Living in the country is not conducive to that. And I have lived in the country my entire life. Maybe someday....