While I didn’t have a life altering experience when I saw the pyramids, I gasped and my tummy jumped a little when I saw the Eiffel Tower on the horizon. It felt so good to be back in Europe. The culture. The people. I just loved it. I felt like I had returned home.
The day that we went to Disney Paris, the sun was shining and the weather wasn’t extremely cold. We were also walking in and out of shelter/rides, so our fingers and toes never really had the chance to get frozen through. It’s amazing what 24 hours can do for bringing change. The wind picked up and the air grew icy. The sky was clouded over, not one ray of sunshine peaked through. We bundled up as well as we could and headed out to take in the sights of Paris.
Did you know there is a lineup with ropes and gates in order to go up the higher levels of the tower? I’m not sure why I didn’t expect that, but I was surprised. I have to wait? And we had to wait a long time, which wasn’t awesome because the air has a sneaky way of cutting through all layers and bringing chills. Lola was sobbing, “I hate France! I don’t want to be here anymore! I want to go back home! I want to go to the desert!” An effective way to have people love you is by visiting one of their prized sites and yelling that you hate their country at the top of your voice. We were the favourites.
I had previously had fantasies of enjoying a cup of hot chocolate and taking in some ice skating when visiting the Eiffel Tower (yes! There is an ice skating rink on the middle platform!), but it was so bitterly cold, we just looked at the ice and left. There was one guy tying up his laces; his fingers were so red and rigid with the cold that I was fully convinced that I had made the right decision to just head back to the elevator.
We caught a taxi to Avenue Des Champs-Elysees where we did the classy thing and went to McDonald’s for a warm-up hot chocolate. I think we ended up going to McDonald’s 4 times in total during our time in Paris. We really know how to make it fancy and keep it cultural!
It was during this trip to Champs-Elysees that I insisted that The Mister kiss me in public. I had many fantasies saved up for Pareee, and one of them was being kissed in public because 1) Paris is the city of romance and public displays of affection are not just tolerated but expected 2) in the desert The Mister can hold the hands of his male friends in public and even kiss them, but he can do neither with me. The kissing scenes in movies are even cut out to protect young minds from pollution. I was dying to be publicly affectionate. My heart skipped a few beats when I laced my fingers in with The Misters as we walked along. When I told The Mister that he must kiss me on the street, he swept me into his arms and kissed my so passionately – and no one noticed! It was absolutely delightful!
Our legs were sufficiently sore after 2 full days of walking, and yet, we weren’t ready to call it quits yet. The next day, we went to Notre Dame. What a structure! It took 500 years to complete. We just don’t have that type of long-term commitment to projects anymore. Can you imagine proposing a building project with an estimated completion date of 2510? You would be laughed out of the bank! “What are you? Some sort of moron?” No, I’m just a slow worker.
I was impressed with the details of the interior and the space provided for active spirituality. There were a few sections with signs commanding silence and “no entrance” except for those that wished to pray. And there were people praying! I was moved to tears a few times. Perhaps it is because I live in a place where I don’t hide my faith, but I certainly don’t have a public place to express it, nor do we have the visual signs to bring our hearts and thoughts back to reflection. I appreciated the monuments to the saints and martyrs; I found myself thinking about their sacrifice and how it is all worth it.
I was really impressed with Charlie and Lola. Typically active and loud (especially Lola’s deepish, smoker voice), they were reserved and reverant. I think the spirit of the place really had an effect on them. Later, we let them work out the pent up energy at the playground behind the church. How many kids can say they played at the Notre Dame playground? They are going to have the most eclectic childhood memories. “What did you do when you were 5?” “I went to Chuck-E-Cheese.” “Oh, I went to Paris and played on the teeter totter at Notre Dame.”