Thursday, September 30, 2004

Veggie Tales in Paris - Day 7

Last full day. We are sad to be leaving. Lunch at a Falafel bar in the Latin Quarter, then off for a boat cruise on the Seine. The sun is shining. Sheila remains awake for entire cruise.

Stopped for a beer in the Latin Quarter. Realized belatedly the place we were at did not have a Happy Hour in effect. Bargain price of $30 CAD for 2 beers.
Sacre Coeur

Ride the Metro back to the hotel for the last time. No buskers.

Mini count - Matt: 53 Sheila 23

Supper at an Indian/Pakistani restaurant at Montparnasse. Excellent food and the best espresso we've had so far. Funny conversation at the next table. Two 'anglophone' ladies were with a 'francophone' man, two more arrived (francophone men). They asked the ladies if they spoke french (The ladies claimed they did). It very quickly became painfully obvious that they DID NOT in fact speak french... beyond saying "Ree Guard" (regard). To add to the pleasure, their voices sounded like nails on a chalkboard.

After supper we go up the Montparnasse for night time views of Paris. Not many people, there actually was no queuing.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Veggie Tales in Paris - Day 6

Managed to get Sheila up at 8:30 this morning. Breakfast was interesting. At one point there were no clean plates, cups or utensils. People were becoming desperate. Sheila witnessed a man bathing in orange juice.

We visited the Pere Lachaise Cemetary and found Jim Morrison's grave - a bit anti-climactic but I'm not sure what I was expecting. Oldest legible grave we saw was from 1609.
Jim Morrison

In the afternoon we wandered through a few shops. Found some great clothes but prices here are very high, even BEFORE you convert from Euros to our puny CAD dollar.

A footnote here about buskers in the Metro. They're GREAT. Some of them are really talented and either entertain you while you wait for the train, or are actually performing on the train. There seems to be a standard gizmo they use for this consisting of a small luggage cart, an MP3 player and a battery powered amp, along with a mike or whatever instrument they use. The whole thing is held together with a reams of duct tape.

Mini count by 4pm is 39 for me, 12 for Sheila.

Sheila is napping right now, in a few hours we will attempt another visit to 'Au Grain Folie' and a visit to the Erotic Museum in Montmartre.

Back at Hotel - managed to finally eat at Au Grain Folie - was very good but they didn't take credit cards so we are out of cash. Went to the Erotic Museum - very interesting (no, I'm NOT putting any of those pictures up). As usual, you end up in a gift shop. No money left for Christmas gifts though, shame. Subway home included more busking, a flutist (not skin).

Important note - Sheila is not tired. Seems she has finally adjusted to the time change. Shame we go home day after tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Veggie Tales in Paris - Day 5

Busy day today. We've booked a bus trip to the Palace of Versailles and we leave around 9am. After informing me she is looking forward to getting a glimpse of the French countryside, Sheila goes immediately to sleep on the bus and remains comotose for the entire 50 minute trip.

The Palace is VERY crowded with a lot of tourists but luckily we have bought our tickets in advance so we are directed to the 'non-queuing' area where we stand in a long QUEUE waiting to be admitted.

It's pouring rain but luckily I am dressed for the day in shorts and a T-shirt. Sheila informs me she doesn't want to be in any pictures because her hair 'looks bad.' I said that didn't make sense because (and this a direct quote) "it wasn't going to get any better". Turns out that was NOT the right thing to say.

After we tour the palace (at a cost of about 70 euros) we were fortunate enough to queue for toilettes where the privledge to use them cost only .5 euro.

The gardens were truly amazing and even more amazing, the garden toilettes were free. (A German lady was proudly pointing them out to all who passed).

After napping on the way back to Paris, Sheila was exhausted so we returned to the hotel so she could have a 2 hour nap.
Sacre Coeur

Supper at the Grenier de Notre Dame where I accidently grabbed the waitress by the thigh. Startled us both. I gave her a huge tip.

Sheila came up with 'Mini counting' game where we each count how many Minis we can spot. End of the night I'm ahead 5-1.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Veggie Tails in Paris - Day 4

Very uneventful day. Despite my best efforts, Sheila refuses to get out of bed until 11 am. Claims she is still 'tired'. We go back to Montmartre and hang out there for a while. We have a second aborted attempt to eat at 'Au Grain Folie', which is again closed. We start to wonder if it's ever open, or just some practical joke the Parisiens like to play on visiting vegetarians.

Visit the Latin Quarter, fountain St Michel.
Matt at St Michel

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Veggie Tales in Paris - Day 3

Visited Notre Dame while mass was in progress. Amazing place. Climbed the 550 steps to the top of the Bell Tower. Some complaining from Sheila. Saw the Bell itself - it's HUGE. Clearly Quasimoto went to the gym regularly.
Notre Dame

Had lunch at Le Grenier de Notre Dame - excellent vegetarian restaurant in the Latin Quarter.

We then wandered down the Champs Elysee eventually getting to the Arc De Triumphe where we climbed 295 steps to the top. MUCH more complaining from Sheila. The 360 degree views of Paris were amazing. Supper at Piccalo Teatro - another vegetarian restaurant. After supper we go up the Eiffel tower (thankfully there's an elevator). Sheila keeps complaining she is tired. I have no idea why.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Veggie Tales - In Paris... Day 2

Sept 25: Montmartre, walking

Well, we walked more than 10 miles today, it is no wonder the people in Paris are so thin... Arrived in Montmartre, and walked along Boulevard de Rochechouart towards Boulevard de Clichy (I'm going to tell you right now that there will be no accents on any of the words that require them... I don't know how to do that on an English keyboard). We saw a fight between two men in the 'Porno' district, we think (based on my understanding of French) that it may have been about some grapes that were not seedless. Anyway, the man doing the hitting was slapping the other man (I've never seen a man slap another man before).

Went to Basilique du Sacre-Coeur, heard the choir singing - it was amazing (reminded me of Sister Act with Whoopie Goldberg). Sheila insists to this day that it was NOTHING like Sister Act.

Sacre Coeur

Searched (in some desparation) for a public restroom, they are NOT at all common in Paris.

Okay, this is something that you are going to notice is a theme on this trip. Bathrooms will come up VERY often, and there are many humorous anecdotes.

This particular public restroom (very public actually) cost .41 euros for those of the female persuasion (or men who had to do something other than pee). Men paid .30 euros for the priveledge to have people watch them pee.

Afterwards, we found a fantastic Indian Restaurant on Rue des Trois Freres (it was actually our second choice, but Au Grain Folie was closed). Excellent spice level and flavor. This restaurant also took the award for "Best Credit Card Theatrics by an Indian Restaurant". We made the mistake of drinking over 1 Litre of water (see previous point about lack of restrooms).

From lunch, we walked towards the large departments stores, but in reality, it became a day of frantically searching for public restrooms... I did a LOT of loud talking and 'dancing' around. We determined at this point that the people of Paris do not use restrooms. They drink miniature (thimble sized) cups of coffee, and have NO fiber in their diets.

Visited Printemps (hot washroom) and Galeries Lafayette (nice washroom). We then walked down past the Ritz hotel (what must have the NICEST restroom in all of Paris). Not sure that we were actually supposed to be in the washrooms there, but again... I was desparate.


We then walked through the jardin des Tuileries (again, I was in desparate search of a washroom... NO MORE WATER). Found one in the basement of a cafe, many thanks to the dog that pointed it out to me
Jardin Tuileries

Returned to our hotel, then to a Middle Eastern restaurant for Cous-cous. It was very nice. Sheila had her first FULL conversation exclusively in French (even if the child only did have a two word vocabulary - Au Revoir... Bonjour). Tiny restroom.

Made a mental note on the way back to the hotel that much of Paris smells like a fart... probably due to lack of restrooms.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Veggie Tales - In Paris... Day 1

This is the history (tale) of two Vegans (vegetaliens) in Paris... Sept 24, 2004 - Oct 1, 2004

Sept 24: Arrived in Paris

It was a long flight to Paris from Toronto... didn't help having to stop in Montreal. Many annoying people were on the plane (mostly people from TO complaining about having to stop in Montreal).

Checked into our hotel (Bleu Marine at Gare Montparnasse), then went out to eat at an Indian Restaurant in Montparnasse. They were very kind... until we broke out the MasterCard to pay!

This became a common theme in Indian restaurants in Paris. They would have signs in the window saying they accepted Visa and MasterCard, but when it came down to it, they would say that "they have been experiencing problems with the machine". When you told them you had no cash, they would "try" to run it through (some restaurants would add dramatization by rubbing the card on their shirts... a nice touch I thought)... AMAZING... IT WORKED! Believe me, this was NOT an isolated incident, it was common (only in Indian restaurants)... we believe there must be a society for proprietors of Indian restaurants where they share trade secrets such as this.