My daughter and I travelled to France for the first time alone in July. Without the aid of her mother to translate and lead us about, we were left to our own devices on this trip. I speak very little French and can understand a little bit if spoken slowly. Nevertheless, this trip was going to be a challenge. After landing in Charles de Gaul airport and making our way to Montparnasse in Paris, we checked in to the Hotel Delambre and decided to rest a little.
Several hours later we woke up pretty late in the evening. The long trip from JFK really tired us out as we barely slept on the plane. We were starving so we had to figure out where to eat. In Paris, that’s never a problem. In the mood for a galette, we asked the friendly hotel clerk for the best creperie in the area. He smile as he told us we were literally right around the corner from a whole slew of them.
He was not wrong! We walked down Rue de Montparnasse, passing several creperies with customers sitting both inside and outside enjoying their tasty meals. We finally decided on Creperie de Plougastel. I ordered a Galette Dinan with a kir while Cyan ordered a Galette Quimper with apple cider. She was in the mood for ice-cream after we were done. We asked our excellent English-speaking waitress and she suggested Amorino right down the block.
The place was standing room only at Amorino’s! I felt the ice-cream was a bit overpriced (around 7 euros for each cone) but very delicious! I guess my French wasn’t that great as the server mistook my instructions for one cherry and one raspberry ice-cream and combined it into one. It was actually a great mistake as the combination of flavors proved to be rather tasty. My daughter got the plain raspberry cone.
We sat outside enjoying our ice-cream but it was late and we had to walk our meal and dessert off. So off we went, deciding on where to go next sometime around 10:30pm. Seeing the Eiffel Tower in the distance from Bd. du Montparnasse, we decided to take a walk towards it. It shouldn’t be that far, right?
We walked down Rue D’Odessa and consult a Metro map to see where to go. We decide to walk down Boulevard du Montparnasse and simply take in the Parisian night and enjoy the sights. If we get lost along the way, so much the better.
As we walked, I saw restaurants and shops closing early. When my daughter was an infant and then a toddler, our trips in Paris had to end early in the evening. We never really stayed out late. Now that she’s older, we can stay out a little longer. But this is the first time I noticed that Paris isn’t like New York City at all: this city does sleep at night!
We stopped at several places along our aimless route to take pictures but I noticed that we were walking down some very dark streets. My daughter was getting a little nervous but I assured her that everything was fine. I was so used to walking down dark streets in New York City at odd hours of the night that I never really paid any mind to our late night stroll. It was getting late and she was very tired. The Eiffel Tower was getting closer but we still had a few more blocks to go.
We walked a long stretch down Av. de Le Bourdonnais. It was down this busy avenue that we got our first glimpse of American tourists. A large group of teenagers dressed up as if they were going to a prom walked by us laughing and talking it up. We knew then that we were very close. Right above the trees we saw the Eiffel Tower light up and shimmer with thousands and thousands of lights. It was beautiful.
Then it started to rain.
This effectively cut our midnight walk short. We were so close but now she was getting wet in addition to being tired. We had to get up early the next day to walk some more and it was well past midnight. Hailing a cab, we went back to the hotel and called it a night.
We walked almost two and a half miles tonight and had a great time.