Monday, March 28, 2011

Katz Family Reunited in Paris

A week from last Wednesday, the Katz Family arrived in Paris. I met the family at Charles de Gaulle and immediately introduced them to a major part of my daily Parisian life – riding the metro. Two metro transfers and many flights of stairs later (sorry we didn’t take a taxi!), we arrived at their hotel in Montmartre. We explored the Latin Quarter a bit, stopping for crepes and eating them en route to the Jardin du Luxembourg. It was one of the most beautiful and Spring-like days we’ve had yet in Paris. Flowers were beginning to bloom and chairs around the fountain were packed with Parisians soaking up the novel sunlight. I left for class pointing them in the direction of the Pantheon. Later that night, we had a typical French meal together. Ok just kidding, we had pizza, but it was delicious nonetheless.

The next day, the Katz crew went to the Musée d’Orsay and Angelina (jealous!) while I was in class. I met them by the Louvre and took them on a walk through Marais, ending at L’As du Fallafel. We had a scrumptious falafel lunch and wandered the streets of Marais. I promise, we did more than eat the whole time they were here, it’s just that meals in Paris tend to be fairly notable. On that note, we stopped to get some hamentaschen in a Jewish bakery in our travels J Oddly, they’re big on apple cinnamon and nut filled ones in Paris, but my favorite are still poppy (in French, pavot).
Taylor Swift in Paris!
Later that night Rachel and I went to see Taylor Swift in concert. It was perhaps a little embarrassing how excited I was, but only Rachel can attest to that. Taylor was amazing! And she made her attempts at Bonjour and J’aime Paris to woo the crowd. They responded with a hardy Tahhlarr, Tahhlarr…the French people really couldn’t pronounce Tay-lor too well. At the concert we were sporting some fashionable fan T’s designed by the one and only, Rachel Katz, and we were pleasantly surprised by the number of concertgoers who were older than us (and male, for that matter).  The concert was somewhat different than concerts I’ve been to in the US. For one thing, there were venders walking around selling coffee and sandwiches on fresh baguette. So French. The concert was also much more tame than I expected. It was a small venue, so not too many people, and I’m pretty sure tickets were still available the day of the concert – bizarre, considering tickets are already sold out for almost every one of her concerts in America this summer. Star-struck we returned to Montmartre later that night and ever since, I haven’t been able to get T.Swift songs out of my head.

The whole family by the Eiffel Tower
The following day the Katz’s explored Montmartre while I was in class. I met up with the gang by Notre Dame and then ventured to Ile St Louis for some of the finest ice cream in Paris at Berthillon. They have some really interesting flavors, like cassis and glazed chestnut, but my favorites (so far) are pistachio and honey nougat. That night we met up with two of my friends and went out to dinner in my neighborhood. I ate bevette moutarde and had gâteau au chocolat moelleux for dessert. Yum!

Rachel on the top of the Arc de Triomphe
On Saturday, we walked down the most famed boulevard in Paris – the Champs Elysée. We window-shopped and explored what has to be the world’s largest Sephora, with what seems like one employee for every ten customers. Rachel and I then climbed up the Arc de Triomphe, while mom and dad sipped coffee in a café. Afterwards, we went to a lovely tea salon in the Galleries Vincennes, near the Palais Royal. From there, we strolled by the Opera Garnier and went to the Galleries Lafayette with the beautiful glass ceiling, where Rachel and I bought some colorful spring scarves. We took a bus from there down to the Eiffel Tower, as no trip to Paris is complete without a visit. We sat near the tower as night drew nearer. We waited there until it had become dark and the tower was brightly illuminated against the navy blue sky. At 8 we saw the lights on the tower glisten, which was even more magnificent after we had listened to Rachel shouting “Sparkle baby, sparkle!” for an hour. We then headed back to Montmartre where we dined on bread and cheese and various goodies picked up in our Parisian travels.
Jim Morisson's grave

On Sunday, we met up at Père Lachaise cemetery to see the graves of some of the cemetery’s most famous inhabitants like Jim Morrison and Edith Piaf. The cemetery was enormous; there must have been thousands of gravestones, all with different designs and adornments - truly fascinating. Then we went to the Musée Rodin, where we explored the sculpture filled mansion and the beautiful garden. That night we ate dinner in Montmartre and went to a cabaret – Le Lapin Agile – for a taste of French “chanson.” We watched as a pianist, guitarist and accordion player entertained the crowd with classic French songs.  All the staff sang along and even some audience members, cheery from the Lapin Agile’s house cherry drink. 

Rodin's Le Penseur (The Thinker)
On Monday, we did a bit of shopping on rue Alesia by my dorm and then walked around Saint Germain de Pres in the afternoon. We stopped at the famed literary café Les Deux Magots for lunch, sitting on the sidewalk watching the world go by. After lunch we headed to Poilane, a nearby boulangerie with a long history behind its famous sourdough breads. We finished our tour of the area with a visit to Le Bon Marche, a favorite Parisian store, with an enormous gourmet market attached to it as well. That evening, we took a Bateaux Mouches boat ride (“fly” boat) on the Seine from Point d’Alma, right across the river from the Eiffel Tower. It was a great way to end the visit with my family, passing through the city on the river, seeing everything we’d walked by throughout the week. It was so great having the Katz’s here and I hope they’ve come to love the city just as much as I have! Come back soon!

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