The title of today's blog comes courtesy of a comment Jeff made as we randomly found ourselves at yet another landmark without even trying.  We set out today with not much in mind, and yet somehow ended up seeing many famous churches, squares and gardens without really looking at a map.  Granted, we were walking in the heart of Paris so perhaps we're not quite as 'lucky' as we think we are, because it's hard to walk more than a block without stumbling upon some historical monument!


crepeAfter pulling the children out of bed at 11:30 this morning (!!) we put on some comfy shoes and out we went - destination St-Germain-des-Prés.  I needed to fulfill a special request from my friend Andrew (shout out!) and bought a banana-nutella crêpe from a slightly cranky looking man… it was delicious, and slightly healthy due to the full banana inside.  (Right?)  We went inside the church of St-Germain-des-Prés which is the oldest in Paris - it began in AD 542 which is hard to wrap the mind around.  The inside has everything you'd expect from a historic Catholic church but you definitely get the feeling of OLD when you're inside.  We try and avoid line-ups  at all costs, and this church was surprisingly empty considering its importance and the fact that a tour bus was parked outside.  Maybe all the people in the bus got distracted by the crêpe man?

We happened upon St-Sulfice as we walked, and to be completely honest we had never heard of it.  The size and architecture was so impressive that we had to go inside, and I'm so glad that we did.  It's absolutely HUGE!  It's completely silent and calm inside, yet you can tell that a strong and loud voice would carry very stained_glasseasily.  These types of places are so amazing in how you can totally feel the history, and it sounds nuts but I swear I could hear the faint chanting of monks.  No one else in my family could, but perhaps I was hearing an echo from hundreds of years ago?  Okay, that does sound crazy, but I heard it!  To add extra excitement to this story I researched the church when we got home; if you read the DaVinci Code you may remember that this is the church that it claims is associated with the Priory of Sion (a secret society) and is built on top of an ancient temple.  Who knows if it's true, but it's a pretty interesting place nonetheless.

Next destination:  Luxembourg Gardens.  This is our third trip to Paris and somehow we had never made it to this very famous landmark.  Wow, it's huge!  It was made in 1612 for the widow of Henri IV (Marie de' Medici) and is comprised of 64 acres of beautiful gardens, tennis courts, boules courts, playgrounds, ponds, etc.  We barely scratched the surface of it as we were in search of lunch, but we definitely plan on going back there before we leave.  (Interesting historical note - when Marie's son Louis XIII was 16, he banished her from Paris because of her patronizing control.  She was allowed back two years later after acknowledging that her power was diminished.  Eventually (due to many things deemed important at the time) she was convicted of high treason and her possessions were seized - including the Palais du Luxembourg and it's impressive gardens.  The poor old lady wasn't welcome anywhere anymore and it makes me glad that I wasn't alive during that very confusing time!)


We found a nice café for lunch then continued on to the Panthéon.  There was a huge line-up to get in, so we just sat on the steps in the sun and did a little people watching.  Our butts soon fell asleep due to the hard marble so we got up and headed right.  (No destination, just wandering).  We ended up in the Latin Quarter which was very busy, but not unpleasantly so.  The girls bought a few souvenirs and then we were very excited to find a gelato shop that reminded us of the one we went to is Cassis, France 3 years ago.  We have dreamt about that place many times since then because they shaped your gelato into a beautiful flower with each petal a different flavor.  Lo and behold - it exists in the Latin Quarter as well!  Very pleasing.  We went in the general direction of home, and there in front of us was Notre Dame!  It's amazing how much you can accomplish when you don't even try!  We watched people play with the pigeons (for real), ate our gelato, and feeling very pleased with ourselves went home for a well deserved rest.


fondueAfter a few hours of Olympic watching for the adults and iPod watching for the kids, we were suitably refreshed.  Dinner beckoned and we decided to head back to the Latin Quarter for the fondue and raclettes that we saw advertised everywhere.  We settled in for a great meal of escargots, cheese fondue, beef fondue, a potato raclette, and we of course capped it off with chocolate fondue.  Everything was phenomenal, and the kids had a great time dipping and cooking and being in charge of their own meal.  (And the chocolate was amazing… dark and rich and not too sweet.)  We strolled home and are happily content to rest and prepare for another full day tomorrow.


Another fabulous day!


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