Or Quatorze, if you will. Imagine being so lucky to be in France for La fete nationale, or Bastille day as we call it. It was our last day so we packed in quite a bit. The crew was growing weary of our all out pace, but we only had one more day. We got up early, skipped breakfast, and headed to Notre Dame. We arrived early enough that there were no lines. We toured the cathedral with it’s eerie quietness. I struggled with enjoying the history while also being mortified by the history of the church. I’m not sure the kids had quite the same experience, and I didn’t want to be a downer. Afterwards, we had breakfast at a cafe across the street that was incredibly disappointing.
Next, we took a train to Versailles and ventured around the grounds. It was too busy to do a tour of the inside, but the grounds themselves were impressive. While we were strolling, we saw a group of big helicopters with military escorts. Turns out our great orange one was also in the country getting a military tour. I’m sure he thought all the festivities were for him. Sorry France.
After the gardens, we stopped in town nearby and had Chinese food at a street cafe. It was excellent, and a fun break. We left recharged and headed back to Paris proper. We needed to pack and prepare for our departure the following morning. The kids were exhausted, and I really wanted to get them out later, so the downtime was welcome.
We stepped out for dinner and wandered the neighborhood around Centre Pompidou, which was fun, but no one could really agree on what we wanted to eat. Looked at lots of menus, stomachs grumbled, feed started to hurt, tensions started to rise, and we defaulted to an Italian restaurant. The restaurant appears to cater to a primarily gay clientele, and the waiter was very outgoing and friendly despite, as he called out, the most embarrassing and vile american also being in town. But he said he wouldn’t hold that against us. The food was mediocre at best, and things listed as filet were actually flank steak. The kids enjoyed the cat who wandered around though.
Since we were disappointed in the food, we skipped dessert and headed back to our neighborhood and got dinner at the one of the local restaurants. We indulged in cheesecake, tiramisu and a creme brulee. All were fantastic.
Later that evening, Hilary and I forced the kids to get up and head out to a vantage point near us where we could watch the fireworks show on the Eiffel tower. We weren’t alone. Any place with a view had people, and we found a few utility sheds that we stood on for a while (so the kids could see) and tried standing in the street for a bit. The kids were very tired (and kinda whiny) but the view was excellent and the crowd was fun.
After the show, which included lasers and fireworks, we headed back to the apartment and crashed hard. Happy La fete!