We woke up at 11am after a long slumber. Even my parents who are early risers were surprised they slept soundly. As soon as we all got ready, we bought our first croissants from the bakery downstairs. The boy was right; croissants in France are flakier than American ones. Then I bought a cup of real hot chocolate across the street at Cacao et Chocolat. It was drizzling but we were adamant to start our walk around Saint Germain and the Latin Quarter.
On Saint-Germain Boulevard, we stopped by the St. Nicolas church on rue de Pontoise to dry up and get our bearings. Not knowing how to read a map even if I’m stuck in a big city, we kept trudging on toward rue des Ã‰coles until we finally saw a sign that said PanthÃ©on. We walked up rue des Carmes and voila!
We paid our â‚¬7-admissions–at $1 = â‚¬1.42 rate!–and spent a couple of hours checking out Louis XV’s thank you gift to Sainte-GeneviÃ¨ve, the patron saint of Paris, and visiting the tombs of France’s most influential figures. My mom was most impressed with the naves and the dome, while my dad, as expected, mentioned that there’s a “similar” building in Ilocos Sur. I rolled my eyes at my mom and she gave me that knowing smile. Down at the crypt, Voltaire, Hugo and Dumas–Marie Curie as the only woman–are among those buried.
I was hungry when we stepped back out in the rain. We walked down the hill and decided to have lunch at La Paillote D’or, a restaurant that “spÃ©cialitÃ©s Vietnamiennes.” If my French serves me right, why, I believe that means they got phá»Ÿ inside! I struggled when I ordered, but I managed to get my parents beef satÃ© (boeuf) and grilled pork (porc grillÃ©) and myself a bowl of phá»Ÿ with papaya salad (salade de papaye). My very faint deux bols de riz, s’il vous plaÃ®t got my dad two bowls of rice. (My mom squealed, You’re so cute!) I know that chicken is poulet but goddamn it, I’m not having boring chicken in France!
The rain let up, so we continued on without really being sure where we were headed, but when I noticed the sign for the Sorbonne, we cut through, said a quick hello and took a photo.
Jardin du Luxembourg was unmistakable on Saint-Michel Boulevard. It was so beautiful even without leaves on the trees. The Palais du Luxembourg, the seat of the French senate, was grand and it was a nice backdrop to the Fontaine de MÃ©dicis and its surrounding statues.
Next stop was the church of St-Sulpice, most famous for its Delacroix frescoes. I’ve gone into more churches the last day and half than I have in the past year! My dad bought another candle and lit it in front of the PietÃ .
We spent the last light walking back home. The rain was steadier, so we admitted it was time to give our feet some rest. A couple of hours later, we went to Aux Anysetiers du Roy to eat dinner. I encouraged my parents to be more adventurous. We ordered and shared the salade de gÃ©siers and the half dozen escargots with the sÃ´le meuniere and the fricasÃ©e de volailles.
We also bought milk, butter, tea and beer from the store across our apartment with the friendly Moroccan clerks. My mom stopped by the bakery by herself and bought a baguette by showing the clerk the universal symbol for “one” and uttering “bread.”
I think we’re getting the hang of Paris.