We’re spending the longest time of our entire trip in Paris– around 18 days! Is there any better city in the world you would suggest for us to spend 18 days? I thought not. 🙂 Of course…
- I’d never been to Paris before,
- it turns out I may be of French origin
(oooh… what drama! more on that later if you’re curious…), and …
- it’s PARIS! the art! the architecture! the shopping! the food! the history! (we made our kids watch like 4 movies on Paris. Try to guess them in the comments.)
Anyway, this turned out to be a great decision not just because… PARIS… but also because it rained like crazy for 5 or 6 days when we first arrived. We’re talking historic levels of rain, and flooding of the Seine. So much flooding that they closed the Louvre to protect antiquities. And a bunch of other places.
SO … what do you do in Paris when it rains? Read on…
Welcome to Paris! So far, so good…
We drove into Paris from Puy du Fou on a gorgeous and sunny Friday afternoon. We ascended the Eiffel Tower before even checking-in to our apartment in the lovely neighborhood of the Marais. (more on the Eiffel Tower later.)
We immediately fell in love. There were cobblestone streets… the delightful aroma of freshly-baked croissants wafting through the air. Happy people sipping wine and espresso. Even better — directly across the small street from our apartment, the Parisians have installed a superb establishment which produces culinary delights known as… CHEESEBURGERS. yes, in Paris! They KICK-ASS at cheeseburgers! We’ve had a Saturday market with fantastic food. And right next door, there’s even an art gallery with ALL BATMAN ART. (I’m serious. It’s super cool. Are you hearing this Dave Alles?)
And our apartment was small– but in a delightful-cozy 18th-century building which gave us the added benefit of exercising up 5-flights-of-stairs to climb every time we arrived home.
We absolutely ADORED it.
The Rain Begins
On our first full day in the city… we walked along the river. We saw Notre Dame (lovely!). The Conciergerie (magnificent!). And of course… the Louvre.
And that’s when the trouble started.
Dark clouds to the north gave way to a downpour that mostly went on for days. Did we go in the museum? no. We’re from Seattle! What’s a little RAIN!?
Instead we pressed on through Tuileries… and only when the downpour began did we duck into the nearest safe zone… Angelina’s. (what luck!) The chocolate? Divine. The Mont Blanc? Overrated.
We concluded the first days with Escargot watching the UEFA opener (France v. Romania), with Nathan Shields watching-along via SKype and with Piper unable to hold-down her snail, taking us to Barfcon 12. (Poor Piper.) We went on to the Arc D’Triomph, undeterred by the downpour, only to get dramatic photos of headlights-along-the-mist-covered-Champs-Elysee.
Days Pass. What do you do in the rain? Museums! and Shopping!
Did we feel bad? NO! We simply discovered “indoor Paris”. This includes…
- Taking-in the Zen of Claude Monet and his Waterlilies at the Orangerie.
(and jumping puddles like a hurdler to get there!)
- Dodging hailstones outside while contemplating the genius of Rodin.
- Squares of Blue.. and more.. at the glorious Pompidou
- learning who is buried in Napoleon’s tomb– and seeing his actual horse. I’m not kidding, it’s there and it’s stuffed, all at Invalides’ Musee d’Armee
- discovering kilometers of Paris’ covered arcade walkways. So quirky and fun.
- bitter dismay when arriving at museums like the Palais de Decouverte only to discover… THEY WERE CLOSED BECAUSE OF THE RAIN!!
- amazing indoor shopping at Printemps (they have a Ladurée inside!) and the incredible dome of the Gallery Lafayette
- And… we perhaps became… imagined we moved slightly towards being… cultured and fashionable! Well, we tried… the twins bought berets! Kristina bought shoes! and I bought a sportjacket!
What happens after DAYS of rain? Flooding!
Of course the really amazing thing in all of this was the effect on the Seine. The river level rose high enough that roads were ENTIRELY washed out (see the photos below– those are ROADS completely submerged) and that some buildings along the river shore were inundated.
Click the photos below to step through and get a closer look. 😦
It was certainly sad to see businesses and transportation and people so suddenly affected by the weather — but it was equally amazing to watch the rebound and see how gloriously the city returned just a few days later when things dried out and the rain went away.
Stay tuned for “Our Paris Favorites!” There were a LOT!