Paris 2013

A month in “The City of Light” in the Fall of 2013.

Paris, Day Eleven: Sacré-Cœur (Reprise)

Another visit to the Sacré-Cœur in MontmartreAnother slow day here in Pahree! Got some fresh pastry and a baguette for breakfast. Sue made some strong Starbucks coffee. We idled around, reading and computing until it was Lunchtime. The sun was shining so once again I wore shorts when we went out for our late-afternoon walk. We decided NOT to make a big expedition today — just an easy walk around the neighbourhood. So we went back to the Sacré-Cœur, the big white church that sits atop the hill behind our place here in Montmartre. We’d been there in the first day or two that we were here, but we thought it was worth a visit. Last time it had started to rain before we could climb the 300 stairs up to the top of the dome of the Sacré-Cœur.

Sue climbing stairs at the Sacre-Coeur.Sacre bleu! It’s quite a few stairs up to the church itself, as if that wasn’t enough. We’d just barely caught our breath when we got to the little side entrance where the ticket machine was. We had 2 options: Climb the dome for 6 Euros or Climb the dome and visit the Crypt below the church for 8 Euros. We picked option 1, figuring that if we didn’t survive the climb we might get free (permanent) entry to the Crypt.

The view from the top was great — although it was quite foggy (or smoggy) as we looked out across the city.
Another visit to the Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre

After we got back down we meandered our way back down the hill. At a small ‘fromage’ shop near our place we stopped to buy some local Roquefort Bleu cheese. And that’s what we had with crackers and olives for our ‘happy hour’. We did a couple of loads of laundry before I went out to pick up a pizza from one of the little restaurants next door. And so we had our (somewhat irregular) Friday Night Pizza Night. Dinner and a movie. And instead of the usual ‘French’ DVD movie, tonight we opted for the original “Great Gatsby” with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow — rented from iTunes.

Paris, Day Twelve: Saturday

Saturday morning in Paris - scrambled eggsNot a lot of action here on another lazy Saturday. Got fresh baking from the corner bakery to go with the scrambled eggs Sue made. I worked on a web project all morning while Sue played on her ipad. It was almost noon before we finally went out (another fine sunny day here) to check out the big flea market just around the corner from our place.

Saturday morning in Paris - helping a neighbourEverything seemed to be going a bit slower on this Saturday — maybe that’s because too many people were out partying way too late last night. As we were walking along Rue Martyr street, a one-way going north, we saw a long line of traffic, led by a big city bus, all waiting because a small van had stopped ahead of them and was blocking traffic. The driver of the little minivan had stopped to pick up some flea market furniture — and was having trouble fitting the table and chair into his car. So went to help him while the line of traffic backed up even more, and the bus driver was gesturing and honking and complaining. No panic! We’ll just make sure that we load our items properly and that we can close the back hatch, and then we’ll drive on.

Saturday morning in Paris - at the Flea MarketEventually we made our way up to Blvd. de Rochechouart, the big road just north of our street. Here both sides of the street and the center boulevard we lined with little booths selling ‘junk’. And it was mostly junk. It reminded me of Thursday morning garage sales on Granite Park. Far too many people, buying junk that the MCC Thrift Store wouldn’t even bother pricing, so that they can sell it at THEIR garage sale next summer! Rue de Steinkerque, the little street going up to the big white church, is famous for selling discount name-brand designer clothing. Boxes and boxes of it. By the time we were there most of the boxes had been gone through several times and there were slim pickin’s for the mom’s looking for bargains.

We went home and had lunch and a Skype with Alex and Max. Read a bit.

Went out for supper at the little restaurant across the street at the Hotel Amour. We were lucky to get a table (there was hardly anybody in there when we walked in, but I guess we must be a real draw because by the time we had read through the menu the place was packed). After supper we went back to the apartment and watched another one of the collection of DVDs here. Tonight’s movie was “Two Days in Paris” (2007), and it was quite funny and quite good (and in English).

Went to bed late (after 1:30) but there was still plenty of action on the street outside our window.

Paris, Day 13

Another beautiful morning here in Paris. On Sundays they close the Rue de Martyrs street  to vehicles from 10 to 2, so this morning the streets were full of families shopping for bargains. I went to the bakery to get some ‘scheintz’ and there were TWO lineups — one going into the bakery and and another outside the bakery, where a young boy stood at a table and sold baguettes as fast as he could make change. After breakfast Sue and I went out again, just to look at the action on the street. It was a bit cooler today, and there were some sprinkles of rain off and on, but really it was a nice day for walking outside. In the afternoon Sue called her sister and I visited with Ed Peters on Skype for a while. I found my ESPN NFL Sunday show on the internet and watched that for a while too. At around 6:45 we left for the same NFL pub that we went to last Sunday night. It’s about a mile from our place, and we took our umbrellas because it was raining lightly. When we got to the pub (Belushi’s) there was only one couch left, at the back of the room. But they have a big screen and it was just fine for watching football. We ordered a big platter to share and a pitcher of beer and then watched my Giants lose yet again, this time to the Chiefs. So the Giants are 0-4 and the Chiefs are 4-0. Well, at least the Vikings, playing the Steelers in London, managed their first win. It was close to 10:30 by the time some of the overtime games were done. We walked home (no rain) and I watched a few of the late afternoon games on the computer — mostly the Broncos, who handled the Eagles easily. It’s now 1:42am, and there is still one more (Sunday evening) game on tap — but I’m shutting ‘er down for the night.

Pahree, Day 14

Fourteen is about halfway through the four weeks here — so it’s all downhill from here on.

By now it’s completely automatic — I get up in the morning, wash my face, have a cup of coffee, and then head downstairs and out the door to the corner bakery to pick up a fresh baguette — and sometimes an additional pastry or two. And tonight it occurs to me that this is EXACTLY what I always said I wanted to do: to live in a little apartment somewhere in Greece or Portugal (or Paris) and the only thing on my daily agenda was to go down to the neighbourhood bakery and pick up a loaf of bread and a bottle of wine for the day. And maybe read the paper. And that’s what we are doing. Except not reading the ‘paper’ — now it’s our various bookmarked sites on the interweb. And I’m not so much into wine — even though it’s France I really should be drinking good wine — but I’m enjoying some European beers.

Today after breakfast I ‘walked’ Sue down to the big Paris shopping area, to the Galleries Lafayette. It really isn’t very far from our place, about a 15 minute walk. And although I was more than willing to go back to ‘pick her up’ at an agreed time later, Sue thought she could manage to find her way back home okay. And she (almost) did. Well, she DID have to stop and ask someone just around the corner from our place how to get to our street, and the man was (so un-French! well, actually not. Everywhere we’ve had encounters with the ‘French’ they’ve been helpful, kind, friendly.) happy to show her the way.

I stayed home and organized a bunch of stuff on my computer and did a few ‘killer’ sudokus.

Before supper I went down to the fancy wine store around the corner and bought a couple of ‘real’ French beers. The couple who run the shop are super friendly and happy to speak English. “Ah, deez are bode beer-r-rs fr-r-rom dee nor-r-rd of Frahntz. Eets ver-r-ry goud.” I think to myself, They better be, they are 6.50 Euros apiece! So on the way home I stop at the little market across the street from our place where every night I see the owner out in front of his shop, having beers with a few buddies. I go in to look at his selection of beers and choose a couple more that look French. I go to the checkout to pay and ask him what kind of beer he likes. “What? Beers? Oh, Heineken!” (Well, at least he didn’t say Coors light!)

Back home Sue has supper ready. What would that woman do without a kitchen? Shopping and cooking — is there anything finer? And by shopping I don’t mean ‘buying’ — no, I think she actually came home without any shopping bags.

After supper I do my best to quickly write my blog before the beer(s) kick in. We’ve got an evening movie on the agenda for tonight — we’ll see how that goes…

Oh yeah, here’s a photo (have you noticed that there have been fewer photos on this site ever since Ed Peters ‘schpotted’ me about my photo galleries!). Well, here’s the ONLY photo for today:

French beers
La Rouge Flamande (French), Ernestine (French IPA), Fischer Tradition (French), and Jenlain Amber (Belgian) beers.

Paris, Day Fifteen: Palace of Versailles

Palace of VersaillesWe did our best to get an early start today. We planned to make a ‘day trip’ out of Paris, to visit the famous palace at Versailles. So after I got the morning baguette and we had our scrambled eggs for breakfast, we took one last look at google maps to check our route, and headed out for the day. Sitting in the metro station at St. Georges, waiting for the train, I noted the time: 11:59. Whew! I really didn’t think we’d be off before noon!

We took the metro down to Musee d’Orsy, then walked a block to the RER train station. We bought our tickets and got on board. The RER train goes from Paris right to Versailles, its final stop. So no worries about when to get off. It’s a 12-mile trip and it took us about 20 minutes.

A day trip to Versailles - October 1, 2013So by 1 o’clock we were walking to the tourist information office in Versailles. We got some helpful info there. We decided to stop at a grocery store along the walk and pick up ‘lunch’ for later. We then walked about 2 miles AROUND the palace and gardens to the back of the gardens. It was really quite a large tract of land — kind of like being out in the country. Even sheep safely grazing in the meadows!
A day trip to Versailles - October 1, 2013We rented a couple of bikes and spent the next hour riding around the beautiful pathways around the park behind the palace gardens.
A day trip to Versailles - October 1, 2013

There is a big lake in the shape of a cross in the middle of the park — and we had a great time riding our bikes around it. The pathways were relatively empty — not too many pedestrians and a few other cyclists. And the cloudy sky and cool breeze were great for bike riding.

We returned our bikes and then stopped at a small outdoor kiosk to get some lunch. I ordered a ham and cheese baguette; Sue ordered a crepe with chocolate. We shared a big beer. Then we headed back up to the Palace Gardens. We paid our entry fees and meandered around the gardens, which cover about 800 hectares all landscaped in the classic French Garden style. There are lots of statues, several fountains, 200,000 trees arranged in a big maze so you can’t see how long the lineup is for the women’s toilets (3 for men, 3 for women). And at least one ice cream stand.

A day trip to Versailles - October 1, 2013Then it was time to see the palace. It really is an impressive building. We bought our entry tickets and picked up the little ‘walkie-talkie’ audio guides that were supposed to tell us interesting information as we moved from room to room. Well, sensory-overload, big time! Who cares about the history of this piece of art, or that chandelier, or this big hallway… let’s just see if we can pass another large group of Japanese tourists snapping and videoing with their iPhones and get to the next room. The Queen’s bedroom. The King’s bedroom. The Princess’s bedroom. (No sign of the two most important rooms in our house: the kitchen and the bathroom!) But if you like ornate chandeliers, big tapestries, huge wall-size paintings of white horses carrying a handsomely outfitted French king into big bloody battles, and not 2 square inches of ‘white-space’ — well, this is your kind of place. And just because I was ‘shpotting’ the Japanese, that doesn’t mean I too don’t have a nearly full SD card of photos on my handy little Canon OneShot. Looky here, I got pictures too:
We finally left at around 6pm (but first we had one last walk around those nice flower gardens that Louis XVI and Sue love so much). We head back to the train station, only to find it JAMMED full of other like-minded tourists lining up at the 5 or 6 ticket dispensing machines. Well, that’s what you do here — you queue up in lines. I can see why Disney thought it would be a cool idea to build a Disneyland park in Paris — the folks here are already completely conditioned to standing in lines and waiting.

We got our tickets, we got on our train, and we visited with an Aussie couple on our ride back to Paris. We made our metro connection and were home by 7:00. We picked up some butter chicken from the Indian restaurant around the corner and Sue made a salad. After supper we put up our tired feet and watched another of Peter’s movies.

Paris, Day Sixteen: Père Lachaise Cemetery

Marcel Proust's grave at Père Lachaise Cemetery.
Marcel Proust’s grave at Père Lachaise Cemetery.

Yeah, you read that title right — another cemetery visit in Paris.

We awoke to another beautiful sunny morning here in Paris. I got up by nine and started doing some computer work. Sue hadn’t slept well at night (too many worries — about what? oh, nothing!) so she slept a bit longer. So I had a coffee and tapped away at my keyboard.

When Sue got up I went to the bakery for a pastry and got some fruit from the little market across the street. Sue doddled around for most of the morning, getting herself all dolled up for the afternoon visit to the most famous cemetery in Paris: the Père Lachaise Cemetery.

After lunch — actually WELL after lunch — we left the apartment and went to the Pigalle metro station. We took the metro nearly to the end of the run. I’d looked up the directions online, so when we got off the train it was just a 5-minute walk down a back alley to the cemetery. Similar to the Montmartre cemetery, but way bigger. And a big hill in the middle. We went in through the entrance and stopped to get a map — oops, NO map available. Oh well, we’ll just look at the big board map at the entrance, note the location of the important (dead) people’s graves we want to see, and then we’ll be off. No, that won’t work. You really need a map for this necropolis!

Jim Morrison's grave at Père Lachaise Cemetery.
Jim Morrison’s grave.

Well, I know approximately where Jim Morrison’s grave is supposed to be — we’ll just head in that direction and then look for other visitors/tourists and that will lead us to the right spot. That theory actually worked! And there, surrounded by a metal railing to keep fanatics away, with a guard watching fulltime, was Jim Morrison’s grave — sort of tucked in behind the front row of stones. Well, that was exciting! What if I actually like Jim Morrison and the Doors? Wow, then this would be REALLY exciting. Okay, who’s next on the list? Are there any other (dead) singers or poets or writers we’ve heard of?

Oscar Wilde's grave at Père Lachaise Cemetery.
Oscar Wilde’s grave.

Yes, there’s Oscar Wilde’s grave. We met a nice Irish man who gave us his map — he just wanted to go visit this grave — so we did too. Looks like a few women (or men?) have given the tombstone a kiss!

Edith Piaf's grave in Père Lachaise Cemetery.
Edith Piaf’s grave.

Not far from Oscar Wilde we found the grave of Edith Piaf.

Frederic Chopin's grave at Père Lachaise Cemetery.
Frederic Chopin’s grave.

And then, on the way back out we stopped by Frederic Chopin’s tomb. And as if walking all afternoon in the park-like setting of this huge cemetery wasn’t enough exercise, Sue suggested that we walk back to our apartment! that’s more than 5kms and my feet were already aching.

But I’ve learned another important lesson on this holiday: I used to laugh at how Sue often used (the royal) ‘we’ when referring to an idea that SHE had. But that’s not all there’s to it. It’s become clear to me that when Sue makes a decision or books a social engagement for the two of us, then ‘WE’ talked about it and decided it, whether I was a part of it or not. If everything turns out well at said engagement she will say ‘What a good idea SHE had’ or ‘I’m sure glad I didn’t let YOU nix that idea.’ If said engagement doesn’t turn out so well, it’s MY fault. And don’t even argue about it or dispute it or try rationalizing it in any way — it’s MY fault. Period. It’s a no-win deal for Rudy, no matter how it turns out! That said, today’s little excursion to the cemetery was “a VERY PERFECT thing to do.” Yes it was.

Where's Waldo
Where’s Waldo?

We popped into a few shoe and purse stores on the return hike, but left each store without a bag to carry. Once we got close to home, we stopped at the nearby Carrefour grocery store and walked out with a couple of big bags of groceries. One final stop at the little corner wine shop and then we dragged our tired feet up the flight of stairs to our apartment.

After a well-deserved happy hour Sue sent Rudy out to pick up some supper. I returned from the corner Bistro with a big cheeseburger and some fries. Not so bad with a bottle of wine! And then we watched the sequel to yesterday’s movie (“Before Sunrise”), “Before Sunset”, which was shot here in Paris. We had some ice cream for a snack and went to bed a little after 1 a.m.

Paris, Day Seventeen

Got a Skype call today from Alex (and Max). And what prompted that? Well, Alex was wondering if we were still getting along after reading yesterday’s blog entry! What? Getting along? Doesn’t she know that when you’re off on an adventure on the other side of the world, and the only person that you know is your travelling companion whom you love, you HAVE to get along! So if I sounded like I was having a bit of a rant yesterday, I need to correct that. It was merely an ‘observation’; a ‘learning experience’. But hey, if we’re going to have the pleasure of a Skype call every time Alex thinks we’re having a spat, I may have to hang out some more dirty laundry!

It was another fine day here. So we did nothing. And there will be no photos (and no rants) today. We spent most of the day inside. I did computer work, Sue did laundry and read. Oh, and we had another Skype with Dave Driedger. There was a small shower or two in the late afternoon. We went around the corner to the Lebanese restaurant for supper — sat at an outside table. About halfway through the meal it started to sprinkle again — so they extended the awning out over top of us and we stayed dry. Back home after a fine meal, we watched another movie, ‘Nathalie’ (French, with English subtitles). We’ve seen this plot before but it was a pretty good ‘tiet-fedreef’ nonetheless. That’s it from the ‘France-hosers’.

Paris, Day Eighteen: The Louvre

October 4, visit to the Louvre MuseumFor as little as we did yesterday, we made up for it today! Our morning started off as usual: bakery, coffee, fruit, reading. We spent quite a bit of time looking online at winter options in Florida. Nothing great (yet). We’d decided to visit the Louvre today because it’s open late on Friday and we always start late anyway. And so, after lunch, and even though at least 3 out of 4 of Sue’s weather apps on the iPad were forecasting rain, we packed up our little backpack with jackets and umbrellas and walked down to the Louvre.

portapotties around the fountainOur walk down took half an hour. We walked down a few streets that we’d not walked along before and discovered a sort of ‘chinatown’ area with lots of asian restaurants, something we’d not seen a lot of around our neighbourhood. We also passed this big square with a fountain surrounded by ‘porta-potties’ — I guess they just got tired of having people piss in the fountain so they just put up toilets all around it!

We’d done a bit of research about how best to visit the Louvre. We decided that instead of trying to see EVERYTHING in one day (well, the second half of the day in our case!) we should make a ‘top ten’ list and get a map and plan to see the highlights. Online guides said it was impossible to do it justice in only a few hours. They also advised visitors to NOT use the main entrance, where we’d have to stand in line for hours just waiting to buy tickets. But when we got to the glass pyramid entrance, the line was quite short and moving along steadily. So we bought our tickets there and went inside. We got our map and Sue ticked off the things we should see. And off we went.

The museum certainly is a big place, with 4 floors and many, many hallways and rooms. It’s easy to get lost. The good thing is that even if you get lost you will likely still see all kinds of great art and sculpture that will either be of the ‘naked’ variety or remind you of the pictures they used to have posted up around the classrooms in Sunday School. So ‘lost’ is really a relative term.

It didn’t actually take us all that long to check off our list! Surprisingly, the museum wasn’t all that crowded on this Friday afternoon. Sure, you could always figure out when you were getting close to one of the ‘significant’ works of art because there would be a group of people (and often one or two guides) huddled around it. And the museum has things laid out so that all the major pieces are spread out throughout the museum, a bit like the TV cable packages — you can’t just quickly pick and choose the good ones and not pay for the ones you don’t want.

You can actually see all of these things way better by looking at some of the many online versions (or those posters in Sunday School) but hey, we’re here, and I have to snap some photos (just like everyone else is) just to prove I was here. Too bad we’re not allowed to use flash — I don’t think that our handy-dandy little smile-saver can take pictures in the dark without a flash. Well, maybe my friend Jim Peters could set the ISO properly and hold the camera steady enough not to come back with a SD card filled with blurry grainy masterpieces, but not I. Still, I had to try. So here’s a little gallery of some of the photos I managed to salvage:

photographers crowd around the Mona LisaAnd, of course, the most famous painting of them all, the Mona Lisa. Dave Driedger, who apparently went to the Louvre to try to decipher the DaVinci Code, warned me that the Mona Lisa was much smaller in real than what he had imagined. I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder, because when I finally muscled my way through the crowd of iPhoners to get my own photo, to me she looked a bit ‘chubby’.

La Pyramide Inversée at the Carrousel du LouvreSo after spending about 4 hours at the Louvre, including a short ‘coffee break’ at a cafe under the glass pyramid, we’d seen just about everything! In fact, we saw quite a few displays twice and some even THREE times! (Even with a map, it’s easy to get a bit disoriented and end up going up and down the same hallway several times before you realize this really is the same statue we saw earlier!) On our way out of the museum we walked past an upside-down glass pyramid. This was the famous “La Pyramide Inversée” at the Carrousel du Louvre. And there, right in front of me, was another Apple Store, the first one in Paris. And next to the Apple Store were a few very high-end purse-and-shoe stores. I took a photo of one of them, Lancel, which had an enormous chandelier hanging inside the store. While Sue amused herself by going in to talk to the saleslady, I checked out the prices of a couple of purses in the window: that’s just over $2700 for the black and white purse, $2600 for the red ‘fake crocodile’ purses, and the black purses on sale for half price! Alex would love this!

Sue beside the SeineWe escaped without taking the credit card out of Sue’s backpack. Not so for the umbrella, though. Just as we were about to cross the bridge on the Seine River, a light shower began. Well, how about those forecasters! See? Some of them WERE right! The sprinkles lasted only as long as it took us to find our umbrellas and figure out how to open them. (It took us a bit longer to find out how to close them again!) And then it was time for a nice romantic walk along the Seine, just like in the movies. It was fabulous. Hardly any people out on a Friday night in Paris! A beautiful sunset. Riverboats all lit up with fancy dining rooms and dance music. Lovers and tourists sitting on sidewalk benches and sharing a bottle of wine (or a couple of big cans of beer).

October 4, visit to the Louvre MuseumWe made our way over one of the bridges to Île de la Cité (one of the 2 islands in the Seine) and headed back to the Notre Dame Cathedral. Sue wanted to see it at night when it gets all lit up. We sat in the big temporary ‘bleachers’ in front of the church and watched the sunset and the street entertainers in front of the church. By 8:00pm it was dark outside, the church was lit up, and it was time to find a place for supper. We walked around the back of the church and across the bridge to the other island.

Sunset on the SeineThis is Paris, so that means there’s at least one brassiere or restaurant at every corner, and usually there are four. So we looked at a few menus and then sort of picked one at random where there was an open table outside on the sidewalk. We could sit here and watch people and still see the boats going under the bridge along the Seine. All that was missing was the accordion music! We ordered foie gras for a starter and shared a big pot of steamed mussels and homemade french fries for our meal. Yummy! Crazy-good. Sitting outside at a little restaurant in Paris on a Friday night in October, no jackets, no umbrellas, eating foie gras and watching the boats go by!

After sitting for an hour and eating a nice meal, we felt refreshed and decided we would WALK back home instead of taking the metro. We walked back across the bridge and down along the river, past the Louvre, past the now packed Chinese restaurants, past the bars with people literally spilling out onto the streets. (So THAT’S where all the people go on a Friday night.) My poor tired feet! I have a new appreciation for the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage that our friends Ed’n’Millie did this summer! I’ve walked so much here that when I got home tonight my nice new socks were WORN THROUGH! Shot! Holes in the toes and heels! When I get up in the morning it takes me the entire walk to the bakery and back just to get the balls of my feet loosened up enough so I don’t have to walk bow-legged. We figured we walked about 15 kms today. And the Hildebrands did TWICE that, every day for more than 2 weeks! YIKES!

When we got home we pulled off our shoes, got into our sweats, poured ourselves another glass, and sat down to watch another French movie. (Tonight’s feature was “Les Quatre Cents Coups”, a French ‘classic’ from 1959.) I managed to stay up long enough to enjoy a dish of chocolate ice cream, but I must have had too much excitement today to last until the end of the movie. Zzz-z-z-z-z.

Paris, Day Nineteen

Saturday — another ‘day off’. Especially after yesterday’s long day. So we woke up late and lazed around. Had scrambled eggs and a baguette for breakfast — I guess the bacon will have to wait until we get home. We read and listened to music for most of the day. I finished watching the movie I didn’t finish last night. Alex and Max skyped in the afternoon. In the evening we went out down Martyrs Street looking for supper. We stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few things and then Sue went to a Greek restaurant and ordered take-out while I went to a Chinese restaurant and did the same. Back at the apartment we ate our supper and watched a couple of movies. And then to bed.

Paris, Day Twenty

Whoa, there was some kind of party outside our apartment last night. Lots of people being loud, just around the corner from our place — and we don’t know what all the celebration was about. It didn’t really bother us though — I slept like a log and Sue was up until 4am.

This morning I went to the bakery and stood in line for a bit — every Sunday there’s a ‘street fair’ on Martyrs and for some reason that means that everyone in the neighbourhood comes to buy baguettes and pastries — one line going into the bakery, and another lining up at a special table selling bread outside the bakery. After breakfast we sat around for a while watching ‘our shows’ on CNN — Fareed interviewed Bono on GPS and later we saw Candy Crawley interview a bunch of politicians about the government ‘shut-down’. I watched a few NFL football talk shows online too.

Sue was getting a bit chilled just sitting and reading, so we decided to go for a walk before lunch. It was a bit cooler today, probably about 18 degrees, but the sun was shining and so we went for at least an hour’s walk, all the way to the Gare du Nord train station and back. When we got close to home I started looking for a pastry shop that sold ‘Croque Monsieurs’ but everyone was sold out. So we opted for pizza instead, and brought it back to our place for lunch. It was already late afternoon. We had just sat down to eat when our Skype announced an incoming call. Tim and Alex and Max, having Sunday morning breakfast at home. The news from home was about the Thanksgiving meal they had with the Penner family last night — apparently Sue’s mom just barely survived the dinner. She’d choked on her food and had to rushed to the hospital by ambulance. Thankfully she’s okay now. So the phone call was just to let us know what happened.

After lunch Sue read for a while and I played on my computer. At around 6:30 we headed out to the Belushi’s bar to watch some NFL. We got there and ordered our pitcher of beer. We’d decided NOT to eat there, since the last two Sunday’s we’ve been disappointed by the food. So, because we’d had a late lunch, we planned to come home after the first games and eat at home. The Vikings had a bye this week, but the Giants were playing the Eagles, hoping for their first win. Sadly, they lost again, so they are now 0-5 — and it’s not looking like it will be getting any better any time soon. Oh well, at least the little schnirps with the Detroit Lions jersey and the electronic cigarettes didn’t get to cheer too much today either — his Lions lost badly to the Packers. We left the bar at around 11pm and walked home. I watched the second game on my computer — and it was a dandy! The Broncos managed to kick a last second field goal to stay at 5-0 against the home team Cowboys in a wild shootout, 51-48. The game was over at around 2am, our time.

Another great day here in Paris, although today certainly wasn’t very ‘Parisian’ — CNN, pizza, and NFL. Like my mom always says, ‘That you can do in Steinbach, too!’