After leaving Notre Dame we walked down to the Seine, hoping to catch a river tour. We didn’t have any luck finding the right departure docks at the right time, so we just walked along the river banks for awhile. The Banks of the Seine are actually a UNESCO World Heritage Landmark under the following criteria:
i – to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;
ii – to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design;
iv – to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;
The walkway next to the river goes on and on for miles, and it’s all cobblestone and clean and tidy. There were amorous couples on benches along the way, and people strolling with their dogs. It was quite serene and lovely.
Mim doesn’t just walk. She dances, struts or skips.
The fearsome foursome on the banks of the Seine- with Notre Dame in the background.
On our walk we came across this bridge. I had wanted to see this, but didn’t think it was worth going out of our way for, so it was a pleasant surprise to stumble upon it. Then- to my amazement I learned that there are ELEVEN bridges like this over the Seine. AND they have only become popular in the last 6-8 years, after the tradition migrated from Italy and Asia.
Eventually when it started to get dark we decided we better move on to the Arc de Triomphe. We timed it well, unintentionally, and we got to see the Arc right at dusk, meaning we saw it in daylight and darkness. And the Arc, of course, was so much bigger than I imagined.
There is plenty of history about the arch, which was commissioned by Napoleon in 1808. It is at the center of “a dodecagonal configuration of twelve radiating avenues” which was quite a site to behold. In London it is really hard to find any street that runs directly in any one direction for more than a few hundred yards, so it was really fun to look down the long avenues leaving the arc in 12 different directions. It is more or less the most massive and complicated round-a-bout ever. From where Cameron and Eli are standing in the picture, you have to go underground to get to the arch. You walk through a tunnel and then come up steps on the other side of the road, right beneath the arch.
A couple days later as we were returning from Normandy Richard had to drive through the round-a-bout to get to the Gare du Nord. I’m sure he’ll never forget that…
That’s a crepe on a skillet, steaming and taunting…
From the Arc de Triomphe we took the kids back to the Eiffel Tower for more crepes, (that was our leverage all day) and so they could see it sparkle at night.
Cameron, Eli and Mim had strawberries and Nutella, with whipped cream. They were SO messy by the time they finished, it was both embarrassing and satisfying.
Simon had honey and banana.
Periodically throughout the trip Richard or I would ask the kids what their favorite parts were. Eating crepes by the Eiffel Tower took the cake, but as a funny side story, earlier that day the following conversation happened. (At the playground while I was in Notre Dame.)
Richard: What is your favorite thing about Paris Mim?
Mim: Sitting in the stroller and making friends. I just said “Bon Jo” to that lady over there.
It’s just so Mim. Introducing herself wherever we go and always on the look-out for a friend.
As a last hoorah we let the kids ride the carousel in front of the Eiffel Tower. A lovely capstone to our Paris adventures.