Paris is not for children

Twelve years ago this month I was supposed to be in Paris on a study abroad program. Instead, I was stuffing wedding invitations and trying to maintain my virtue long enough to marry my dearly beloved in the temple (don’t ask me how we made it, but hallelujah for the Strength of Youth pamphlet.)

He promised me that if I decided to skip Paris, he’d make it up to me. On Saturday he made good, and boy was it worth the wait. See, had I gone to Paris without him, I never could have done this on top of the Eiffel Tower.

We got a sitter and left with another couple (we flew in on the same plane; the Lord sent them to Germany so we could have friends) on Friday at 1:00 am for a USO bus tour. I know everyone here swears by the train but we’re far too cheap and willing to sacrifice a little personal discomfort if it means less money plus a five course dinner in Paris.

After a delicious breakfast stop, the bus arrived at the tower at 8:00 am. All around the Eiffel Tower (and everywhere else) you’ll find illegal vendors aggressively roaming the streets of Paris. Most of them carry their wares because the local cops get a real kick out of making them run. You should have seen them scatter when the police pulled into the araea.

While we were trying to buy a mini Eiffel Tower for the kids to share (note to self: kids do not like group gifts) Jason totally freaked the poor Indian man out by crying “Cops!” You should have seen him jump. Mean, mean (funny) Jason.

We decided to walk up the first two levels then take an elevator to the top. We justified the torture with the knowledge that both Dave Ramsey and my digital calorie counter would thank us later. (Also, Jason thinks it’s very attractive when I exercise since it happens so rarely. Nothing like a little stair master foreplay.)

After the tower we were dropped off at the Arc de Triumph, which is the gateway to some seriously awesome shopping. But we weren’t there for the clothes (I use the term “we” losely here), so after a very French lunch (you sit in a cafe and face the sidewalk so you can stare at all the people walking by) we took the metro to the Louvre.

It was kind of amazing. Please enroll in Humanities 301 at your local university if you would like more information.

I’ll be honest, by 4:00 we were feeling it. We chugged a coke light and hit the metro once more to meet up with our group at Notre Dame.

I cannot describe to you how cool I think Notre Dame is. I’ve seen a lot of churches (studied in Israel for a semester in college) and let me tell you, that is a very special place. Apparently it was built by the locals for free and took like two centuries to complete. Why did they do it? So their great great great grandchildren would know that they loved God (and the Lady Mary, who the church is dedicated to).

Man, have we gotten away from religiou or what?

Standing in line for the church, Rebecca and I were busy chatting and fell behind the boys for a second. And that, my friends, is when I experienced a true Parisan moment.

Two french men were passing through the crowd and passed through the line right in front of us. The first stepped way too close to me and said, “Bonjour!” His friend was right behind him and crowded into my personal space just long enough to say, “You are beautiful!”

And then they were gone.

It’s a good thing they weren’t pick pockets because they could have robbed me blind and I wouldn’t have cared one bit. Heck, on most days I’d gladly pay to have two men come up and make me feel attractive.

It kind of made my day.

We finished off the evening with a five course meal in the most charming french restaurant ever (yes, they’re snails, and yes, they were divine), followed by an evening boat ride on the Seine. You would not believe all the people that congregate on the banks of the river at night, sitting with their wine and their friends and their music. Life in Paris begins when the sun goes down.

The only thing that would have made our day better would have been a nice soft bed (not for that, for my poor exhausted body and swollen feet). At 10:30 we boarded the bus and drove home. Jason and I stumbled through the door at 5 am on Sunday morning.

And for the record, I believe that Paris is not for children. I’m keeping Paris and Jason to myself.