When I say that we are in food heaven, I don't just mean that we are surrounded by too many cafes and restaurants to count or that we are a minute walk from amazing food stores of all types, from boulangeries to small supermarkets. This is all true. But what I really mean is that it is almost all very good. Take for instance, peaches. Paul loves ripe peaches and it is one of the few fruits that he both loves and that he can eat with his new braces. At home, even at Whole Foods, the peaches are never ripe when you buy them in the store and only half the time ripen up decently once we get them home. But both yesterday and today we easily bought ripe and tasty peaches just by going for a brief walk out our door. Now, why is that? Why is it so hard in America and, apparently, so easy in France?
I thought I'd include these three photos of Paul eating his peach since they tell quite a lot about our apartment. As you can see, just three people can squeeze in at the table; I gather that in general personal living space in the city is much smaller than what we are used to. But it is nicely cozy. Do you see the big open french window with the iron grill work across the bottom? There is no air conditioning and no screens. It is not at all hot. We sleep with the windows open unless the street noise is too loud; then we close the windows and turn on the fan. Our kitchen window faces a "passage" and not a main street, but none of us are used to any kind of city noises. Not to say that this is all unpleasant; quite the contrary. I like having the windows wide open --imagine no screens and no insects!-- and when we need to close them the fan circulates the air nicely.
You can also see that the kitchen itself is compact, a bit like being on a boat or in a small Ikea designed space. To the right of the kitchen is the living room, which is now Paul and Bryan's bedroom where they have a very comfortable sleep sofa with big tall french windows. Behind us is the main bathroom, and behind all that is the bedroom that Ben and I sleep in, with another big tall french window, and our tiny little half bath (no window). I quite like our little space. And having a kitchen and having markets so nearby certainly makes it easier and cheaper to eat breakfast and snacks, and even more main meals for the boys, if they don't feel like joining us at a cafe. (We always invite them, I swear!)
Now, as to what we did today. The big event was a five hour outing for me and the boys, a double decker bus tour of the main tourist sites of the city. It was a great way to get a sense of the city's layout and to tick the main sites while deciding which ones you want to return to for a closer look.
We sat for about a half hour in the traffic on the Champs-Elysees, giving us ample time to study the cars, the scooters, and the buses which all converge at the Arc de Triomphe. I was quite taken by all the handsome men dressed in suits and nice coat riding scooters.
BTW, we were on a L'Open Tour bus like the one shown here; there were three all in a row at one point! Do you see the little car squeezing in front of the bus? There are no lane markers, so I guess you just take command and go!
Midway through the "green tour" we got off near the Jardin des Tuileries where we found a ferris wheel and a big swing. Of course, the boys had to ride the swing.
It was okay with me; how many times to you get to take a photograph of an amusement ride with a wonderful old French building right behind it?
We are starting to adjust to the time change. Right now it's 8:30 and the boys are sleeping again, but we're going to rouse them in an hour to walk over and see the lights turn on the Eiffel Tower. I learned last night not to let them sleep too long in the late afternoon or they will be up all night!