Today we were surprisingly busy: we saw Paris’s three key sights in the space of an hour. First, we saw Notre Dame right across the Seine from our flat. Then we went down the elevator that’s in our apartment building to the RATP station. Dad bought the tickets, and we rode the underground train to the Champs-Elysees station.
“You know what’s missing?” Dad asked as we got off the train.
“‘Mind the gap’?” I guessed.
That’s true—of course, we wouldn’t know what avis la vide means if we saw it, but we could guess.
We climbed to the top of our second big monument, the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile, counting the stairs (259, as my count went) as we went. At the top, we saw our third, final, and most recognizable Paris monument: the Eiffel Tower.
From the top, we saw, apart from the Tower, Notre Dame, the American church, Invalides, and an opera house, among others. Dad took more pictures when we got back to the bottom of the arch. Our next stop was Place de la Concorde, and Dad was thrilled to stand on the Concorde bridge because it reminded him of good, old (well, quite young relatively) USA.
Mom, Ethan, and Dad had ice cream from a man whose family has been making ice cream for three generations (he’s the third). He asked us where we were from, naturally, and Mom replied, “The United States.”
“Oh, really? In Salem?”
I was rather surprised that this man knew anything about Oregon, but he said that some of his relatives live in Rhode Island.
“The smallest state, but the most corrupt—that’s what they say.”
Within two hours, we were standing at the base of the Eiffel Tower, debating whether to take the stairs or the elevator. We chose the elevator and went straight up to the top, where we admired the breath-taking view through the chain-link fence with holes larger than my head but still small enough to dissuade would-be committers of suicide.
Mom and I rode the elevator all the way down, but Dad and Ethan took the stairs from the middle. It took them about half an hour.
We ate supper at a vegetarian restaurant, and I enjoyed palm hearts for the first time in a month. Yes! Then we had ice cream while admiring Notre Dame, the river Seine, and the fire-jugglers. I had my favorite combo: chocolate, banana, and cinnamon. It was the first time I’ve had that combination since Valparaiso, Chile—two-and-a-half months ago. *swoon*