February 15, 2008

On the banks of the Seine

Posted in Daily life, Exploring, Food tagged , , , , , , , at 1:57 am by Lauren

The phone rang at 10:30 on Sunday morning, and Allen didn’t even hear it. I knew who it was, but I climbed off the mezzanine to listen to the message anyway. Then I went back to sleep.

At 2 pm, Allen asked if I might be getting up soon. What! I groggily pulled myself out of bed and told him we’d be having dinner with Mimi and Jack. That done, I called them back to confirm and get a time, then showered so we could take a walk.

I was in the mood to complete a City Walk, but Allen wanted to wander the banks of the Seine. City Walks has us all figured out, though, and we chose the card named, “The Seine and bridges.” We took the camera to troll for photos for Gallery Schmanz. (The best picture of that walk was the shadow of the lantern.) We descended to the river on the stairs to the right of Pont Marie and came back up at the pedestrian bridge between the islands. Dozens of people were lazing in the Sunday sun.

Once on Ile de la Cite, we crossed to the Left Bank (if I’ve got them straight) and went down to the wider walkway along the river. Passing under bridges we noticed how high the water was. We both remarked on a spot on the northeast corner of Ile Saint Louis where the water was lapping over the wall into the walkway. (We were both surprised the other had noticed it.) We smiled at the Southerners marveling at Notre Dame. Somehow listening to their happiness at having arrived in the City of Lights made us appreciate our situation even more. Paris is winning me over.

We climbed the steps up to Pont Neuf, the oldest surviving bridge in Paris. I smiled as usual at its name: New Bridge. It was the first bridge to cross the Seine where it did, and thus its brand-new appellation. I pointed out the corner of the island where our friends Rebecca and Chris got engaged. Allen reminded me that I’d mentioned that a few times before. (It’s a tour guide habit of living in major cities.) We ducked back through Place Dauphine, which seems removed from Paris. Though the buildings tower just as high around it, the packed earth park in the middle reminds me of spaces in the South of France. Two groups of men in their thirties were playing petanque (or boules), which reinforced the southern affiliation.

As we strolled through the marche aux fleurs with its rows of caged birds and blooming plants, Allen suggested we buy snacks from our favorite bakery (Boulangerie des Deux Ponts on Rue des Deux Ponts), so we passed Notre Dame and crossed back onto Ile Saint Louis. I chose a salmon quiche, and Allen opted for quiche lorraine. We picked up two mille feuilles (Napoleons, to us) and two tartes au citron to bring to dinner.

At eight we arrived at Mimi and Jack’s with our box of sweets. They’d ordered pizza, but we spent the first hour getting the kids ready for bed. (A more accurate representation of that situation is this: I spent the first hour making the kids laugh, chasing them around, trying to make Katharine imitate stupid noises, and generally riling them up. Then I tried to make amends by making myself helpful, and I put Katharine in her pajamas. This is actually usually what happens when I come over to babysit, but I’m rarely so useful as to clothe the baby for bed. I can’t help it. They are cute, and I like to goof around with them.) After the kids were in bed, I ate way too much pizza. Honestly, I hardly remember the conversation because of this. However, I do remember this: three Supreme Court seats will be opening up in the next administration. People, you must vote for a Democrat.

Nothing to do now but sit back and wait for an angry phone call from my dad. The night with Mimi and Jack ended at a record early time because Allen had to wake before dawn (as usual) on Monday.

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