MMM – ít’s now 10:15AM and I’m eating my Kellogs Oat Bran Cereal (avec chocolat, of course) and realizing that I’m blogging much more than I did on my last trip. Despite my last trip being planned as relaxing…this one most certainly exceeds the relaxation quotient. I guess that’s because, this time, I’ve got the luxury of more time (and, thanks to Ben and Brad last year, I have already tackled most of the major destinations).
Let’s see…what happened on Wednedsay? Afer breakfast and blog updating Mike and I spent time finalizing the Amsterdam plans. Then we walked through the Mariais to the Jewish Street (Rue de Rosiers, or something like that) and had lunch…Jewish style.
We then walked down this peculiar little street filled with el cheapo jewelry shops (think hundreds of Claire’s Boutiques from your local mall, but on a charming narrow Parisian village street).
At then we found ourselves on (or near) the Grandes Boulevards – an area I hadn’t seen it before. As the name sounds, it was a wide boulevard filled with shops – at this end, mostly low-end types of shops and American fast food restaurants (Pizza Hut, KFC, McDonalds). As we progressed in the direction of the Opera, things improved dramatically. We witnessed a mini parade of sorts in preparation for the Fete de Musique (please excuse my lack of accent marks). I’ll write more of the fete later.
After Mike bought some clothes at Benneton and some chocolate as Maison du Chocolate, we walked by the Royal British Embassy and unknowingly walked into a barricaded area with a small crowd of well-to-do people dressed to the nines. Shortly thereafter, the police offered to escort us out. Somebody important must have been there are as we soon realized the entire block was packed with police officers.
Anyway, after being shunned by royalty, we walked along the Champs Elysses toward the Tuillieries where we sat in the hedge maze thing close to the Louvre and lounged about…my head on his lap.
We walked back the Mark’s apartment picking up ingredients for that evenings dinner: fresh mozzarella bufala, fresh basil, tomatoes on the vine, a baguette, and salmon quiche.
After dinner and some Will and Grace on DVD, we ventured into the city for the Fete de Musique. WOW! What an event. Apparently, the whole country celebrates the summer solstice by partying. Music is playing everywhere and it’s as if the entire city comes out to drink and dance and have fun in the streets (think Mardi Gras without the boobies and beads).
In the Marias, nightclubs blasted music from speakers onto the street and entire neighborhoods became street parties with no room to walk or move. It’s no exaggeration that when I say the music on the streets (block after block, might add) was so loud that you could not hear each other speak. I’m talking night club loud. And all of these street festivals were in residential areas with apartments directly above.
My friend, Marin, lived in Paris for a few years and warned me how loud it was. I was expecting some violinists on streets corners and some such tranquility. But it’s actually like Studio 54 all over the place….well past 1AM (and people still work the next day). This would NEVER fly in Boston with all of the NIMBY’s bitching about the noise (even only one day per year). But I still think it’s a concept Boston should implement.
I ended up having a glass of wine and a glass ofchampage (and some ice cream) before heading home. We had intended to go back out the the bars but got caught up in a DVD and got lazy. Perhaps tonight.
Today we may head to a traditional hammam at a nearby mosque. I’m not so sure how comfortable I am with the idea, but I’m sure it will leave me some stories to tell here tomorrow.
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