Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Throwing Rocks at Rats

My sister's in town for Christmas, which means my entire family has deemed this week visit-anything-worth-visiting-in-Paris week.

As such, we went to the Arc de Triomphe as our first stop of the morning. It's a cool monument, I suppose, but the stairway is a spiral all the way up to the top. Mitchell decided to walk up it backward because, "How many people can say they climb up the Arc de Triomphe backwards?"

The top has a spectacular view, though. It's really neat to be able to see the Eiffel tower on one side, La Defense and Champs Elysees on another side, and the rest of Paris filling in everything else. It's just gorgeous.

Our next stop was Notre Dame. That one was Miranda's (my older sister) idea. I'm not a huge fan of cathedrals-- they give me the creeps and they're pretty boring-- so mom went with me to Shakespeare & Co., a gorgeous English bookstore just down the street while Miranda, Mitchell, and Dad went inside Notre Dame.

I enjoyed myself. I can never get enough of old bookstores. I'm absolutely convinced that books are one of the greatest devices known to man. I wandered the store for a good twenty minutes, dodging customers that seemed to crowd every inch of the place. It wasn't until after we left that I learned the owner had died just recently, thus the influx of people.

I walked out with Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick (the author of The Invention of Hugo Cabret, inspiration for the new movie "Hugo") as well as another book entitled Stop What You're Doing And Read This Book.

Mom was complaining about needing to use the restroom, so we sat down for a drink hoping the little pub would have a restroom, but finding that it came up short. Instead, we had to walk back over to Notre Dame and use the restroom allotted to the tourists gathered around it.

I waited nearby and read while she relieved herself. Or, at least, I tried to read. However, I ended up being approached by a man in his mid-thirties carried a nearly empty bottle of Heineken, the rest of the six-pack located securely in a grocery sack on his arm.

He spoke to me in French at first, to which I responded, "Je ne parle pas Francais." (Aka. I don't speak French.) So he switched to English in saying, "You are very beautiful." It was sweet, but still a tad creepy. He asked to sit beside me and I, not wanting to be rude, said sure. He ended up talking to me for about five minutes, asking where I was from and telling me that he drinks too much on his days off. Needless to say, I breathed a little sigh of relief when he left.

We went to dinner at a creperie near our church that is a favorite of mine and we had gelato afterward before going home. I thought the night was going to end there, but my siblings had other plans. Instead, they dragged me out of the house and midnight to go find a party to crash.

That didn't work out as planned, either. We rode the Roue de Paris, the huge ferris wheel at the end of Champs Elysees, and then ended up wandering around until the Metro was closed. We couldn't find a bus, so we ended up walking along the Sein all the way home, making what would have been a twenty minute ride home an hour and a half long walk.

The one break in our walk was when we discovered a buttload of rats climbing all over some dumpsters by the river. I noticed them, we all freaked out, and Miranda had the lovely idea to start throwing rocks at them. We probably spent half an hour being entertained and disgusted by about 200 rats scurrying back and forth through the trash. I'm sure the 3 people who came by are convinced that all Americans throw rocks at vermin for fun.

It was quite an eventful day. . .

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