Friday, May 17, 2013

Oh yeah, my parents came to visit!

As many of you most likely know, my parents came to visit me for the part week of my Spring Break. We took a 4 day trip down to Cinque Terre in Italy in the middle (that I'll write about separately) but otherwise just stayed in Paris, visiting the sites and visiting people we haven't seen in ages. Well that's not entirely true... I had seen most of them since coming to France but my parents hadn't. So yeah... I figured I could share some of the fun adventures we went on although I don't have pictures for everything since my mom was the one taking pictures most of the time and I was just standing there sharing glances with passing Parisians, like "oh my god, can you believe these tourists?? Americans..." and such. Well kind of. I might be lying about that part.

But anyway, I won't go into too much detail about what we did every day but I figured I could at least talk about the highlights. The first day we met Véro for coffee at the airport before she had to go to work and then headed into the city. My parents were pretty tired when they got here so I let them take a nap and then we went for a walk around the neighborhood, got some lunch, and walked to Sainte Chapelle over by Notre Dame. Harass my mom to put her pictures on Facebook so you can see how beautiful it is. (Don't actually harass my mom btw. But you can drop not-so-subtle hints, like oh hey your daughter told me via the inter-web to tell you to put your pictures online. That's ok.) We they went to Saint Germain-de-Près for drinks with my friends at the Rhumerie, the most magical place in Paris. It's this Martinique-style cafe that specializes in rum anything and also has great food. You have to go! For dinner we then went to this Brittany-style restaurant for crêpes and it was delicious. Although my mom was falling asleep a little during dinner. I tried not to be too hurt.

On Saturday (the second day) we hit up the Musée d'Orsay to see the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists mainly but also saw some other cool stuff. Like a polar bear statue my mom became obsessed with. We also somehow ended up in a room full of photography of naked women. Looking at pictures and paintings of vaginas is always somewhat uncomfortable but it's about 100x more so when you are with your parents. I mean luckily I have cool parents so we all we able to act like adults (for the most part...) but I still preferred the Impressionists. Afterwards we had lunch in the Marais (where I got moules frites and ended up with about 5 dozen mussels, I kid you not!), walked to Place de la Bastille so I could show my dad that there was nothing to see and then we head over to Cergy via RER to visit Hervé (my parents' friend from work way back when) and his family.

Sunday we got up fairly early to go over to see Paris VII in all of it's lack of glory and to show my parents the lawsuit bridge.
Paris VII and that evil, sloped bridge
We also got to see the sculpture made from canoes that they had been finishing up the week before so my mom and I took a series of pictures under it including one where we are pretending that it is falling on us. You'll have to ask my dad for that picture. It's a classic. We then crossed the Seine and spent some time in Parc de Bercy, which I've never been to before but it was really nice and secluded-feeling, which is rare in Paris. We were killing time before meeting Alexia and her parents and boyfriend so we just meandered around the park for a while.

Family Selfie in Parc de Bercy

Parc de Bercy
Fluffy was there too. Obviously.
 We then met up with Alexia et al. and had a wonderful lunch in Cour Saint Emillion and then went to Les Invalides to see Napoleon's tomb and visit the Army museum there, which I had been meaning to go to. After Alexia and her parents left to catch their train, we walked up Le Champs Elysée to see the Arc de Triomphe and find some place that was open on a Sunday to eat dinner, which ended up being the Public Drugstore (which is also a restaurant and much more) right on the Champs. Afterwards, my dad and I briefly lost my mom when we went to the bathroom without her knowing but it all worked out fine because we got macarons from the Pierre Hermé there. We then head home and packed for Italy the next day.

We spent Monday-Thursday afternoon in Cinque Terre, which I'll write about separately, and got back around dinner time on Thursday. We ate in Chinatown and then walked over by Hôtel de Ville for crêpes for dessert and saw Notre Dame lit up at night. The headless gargoyles looked even creepier!

Friday we got up super early to try to do Versailles before coffee with my host family in the early afternoon. But despite arriving soon after it opened, the line was too long to go into the actual Chateau so instead we just walked around the gardens, which are amazing by the way.

Standing in front of a tree thing in the gardens
The palace and a very, very small part of the gardens
We then headed back to Paris and got crêpes for lunch at a stand on the way home, then had coffee with my host family. It was super fun because my host dad doesn't speak English, my real dad doesn't speak French, and my mom was sick and not feeling 100%. Luckily my host mom speaks some English so we were still able to have a conversation. Also I translated a lot. Afterwards, I stayed and did laundry while my mom went to go nap and then we met up later to go see Printemps (the giant department store that's super close to me) and take the metro to Montmartre. Getting to the top of Montmartre was rough, but not as rough as realizing that my mother who is still recovering from back surgery and my dad who is still recovering from a lot of things are in better shape than me. Man, I was dying coming up those steps! But that's besides the point.

In Montmartre we walked around the square with all of the artists and then had dinner outside in a cafe where I was served about 2 potatoes worth of French fries. I mean I love fried food but my goodness! Then came the highlight of the night: my dad got a caricature done and it was amazing!

We told him to make it as ridiculous as possible and I think he lived up to the challenge. It's even better in person. I told my dad he has to hang it in the office with some sort of placard saying "President". Because you can only really get away with that type of thing without looking arrogant if it's a caricature. In which case you get to bring so much joy to everyone who sees it. Yeah. That's what I call doing Montmartre right!

We then walked down the hill to see the Moulin Rouge because my mom had never seen it and really wanted to. It was just starting to get dark so it was lit up and all in all worth seeing at least once. From there we went to the Eiffel Tower and got there just as it started sparkling. We didn't go up in it because we've all done it before and we were all getting tired but we walked away from it to the metro to get some good pictures from far away.

You can never have too many pictures of the Eiffel Tower!

On Saturday we got up early to go to the zoo in Jardin des Plantes to go visit my best friends, the red pandas!! They were asleep when we got there but right before we left they woke up, ate, walked around a bit and then went back to sleep so it was pretty awesome that we got to still see all of that. Plus it was early so there was no crowd. We also watched the flamingos chase each other from one side of their exhibit to the other, and my dad tried to wake up a mongoose by making snake noises (it was not effective btw).

Sleepy red pandas
They were actually behaving themselves when I took this picture.
We then met up with Romain, Clémence and the rest of their family for lunch, a walk through Luxembourg Gardens (and past Sweet Briar), and then we later went to the apartment where they were staying for dinner. They made crêpes for us and it was amazing. We then headed back to the hotel and I helped them pack since they were leaving in the morning. So, Sunday morning I got up early with them to walk them to the bus for the airport and to say goodbye. Not gonna lie, I was sad to see them go because we had an amazing time together, but man did they tire me out (although I'm sure they could say the same). I went home and passed out for about 3 more hours before having to get up and start packing for Sardinia since I left that evening. But that's yet another adventure I have to write about!

But anyway, in conclusion (because you are always supposed to have a conclusion or something like that and not end by rambling) my parents are super awesome and I had an amazing time with them and you all wish your parents were this cool! Also I converted them to red panda adoration, so I consider their trip a win.

Stay tuned for more about Cinque Terre and Sardinia! Also I guess I should write about Prague at some point. In the meantime, I have links on the right for my pictures so you can see them all online!


  1. Mallory, dad and I had a fabulous time with you in Paris and in Cinque Terre... looking forward to the blog about that. We just kept saying that it seemed you lived in Paris all your life given your knowledge of the language and the metro system :) If only we weren't both partially "cripple" we probably would have enjoyed doing more, although sounds like we tired you out too... so happy to hear we weren't holding you back :) Thanks for being our personal tour guide. xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

  2. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that you were right about red pandas... most adorable animals ever! How lucky for us to catch them sleeping, watch them wake up one at a time, eat branches, crawl around a bit and go back to sleep. What a life they have :)