Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Paris, France
Yes, it was all delicious.
With our little family together for a week in Paris, we decided to celebrate Chip's birthday a bit early -- and then again later -- and maybe again. But for today, we made sandwiches with bounty from the open market at the end of our street. (More on that later!) We plied fresh baguettes with butter, Camembert, tomato, avocado, aged meats, and delish sauces available in little jars for 50 cents each: Bearnaise, Aioli, Bourguignone and, quite amusingly, Americain, which is the same as our French dressing.

First stop: Notre Dame, for a tour of the inside.

I could do an entire photo essay on Notre Dame, and maybe I will. It is a massive and massively beautiful structure.

Love that row of Kings!
Joan of Arc.
In keeping with Catholic tradition (one I don't know anything about), there were lit candles at the various stops inside the church. I felt strongly that another tribute would be appropriate rather than placing lit candles at the feet of Joan of Arc. Seriously?

From Notre Dame, we walked over the Seine and through St. Germaine to the Jardin du Luxembourg for our birthday picnic.

The palace in the park was built by Marie de Medici (yes, those de Medicis), who, as the widow of Henry IV and regent (acting for a minor royal) to her son Louis XIII. It now houses the French senate.

Besides the fact that the garden is beautiful, we chose it for Chip's birthday, because it is near the Pantheon, number one on his list to visit in Paris.

The Pantheon is worthy of another photo essay. It is truly spectacular. The history of the building could fill a book unto itself (the kids bought Chip one such book).

Both the exterior and interior are breathtaking. Below ground, it houses a crypt for some of the greatest minds of the last centuries: Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Emile Zola, Marie Curie, Louis Braille, and Alexandre Dumas. Most crypts are dark, dank and creepy. This one is well-lit and beautiful. Why wouldn't great minds want to hang out here?

Voltaire and his very large shadow.
Just when you think it can't be any more impressive, you exit the building to a sprawling view of the Latin Quarter and the Eiffel Tower in the distance.

Then, at his request, an outdoor cafe for a very French café and a smoke under the watchful eye of the Pantheon.

And then to our little apartment for dinner (pasta with Creme Fraiche/mushroom sauce), the four of us plus Remi, and oh-so-yummy French patisserie treats.

Birthday Part One: Check.

An architectural ornament on exhibit in the Pantheon.
A transportation exhibit on exhibit outside the Pantheon.
S.W.A.K. (and a glare?)

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