"The B-List" or "The Accidental Victor Hugo Complete Tour " were my Paris subtitle choices. Paris was a huge marker, side-trip for the Travel School Project. It had been inked into our calendar since we headed to Europe. Friday, May 6, 2016, was a confirmed date for Wilson and Camille to take their AP US History test at the American School of Paris. An endeavor that all 4 parents played a part in making happen. A direct 5 1/2 train trip from Nice to Gare de Lyon the day before, allowed for test studying, picnicking and card playing. The two moms' nerves were high (we kept our cool) about logistically getting the kids to the school on time (8:00am) and through strict security. We had everything we needed, we just knew we'd rather be past the test part of the weekend.
Our home bases for the weekend were 2 apartments in Le Marais district (3rd and 4th arrondissements). A new area for the Bullingtons, Le Marais, is known as the famous Jewish neighborhood. It's in the city's core and oozes with "Old Paris" charm. Much of it is pedestrian friendly and packed with beautiful boutiques. I'm pretty sure I overheard Anne Lois vowing that she needed to come back one day with an empty suitcase to fill! Once we were partly situated, we met back up for a walk and dinner. Falafels were calling our names. We hit the most famous falafel place, L'As du Fallefel, for a street food dinner experience. There's a constant 1/2-a-block line for this hand-held meal. Our group had mixed reviews, but overall it was delicious and we now all know about a good falafel.
Skimming over test taking details, Elizabeth took Wilson, Camille and Pete to a hotel close to the school. We had concerns over early morning transportation options in Paris. That plan helped alleviate fears of travel logistics and put everyone in a better frame of mind. On Friday morning, Elizabeth got them admitted through tight security and then patiently waited for the next several hours in Saint- Cloud. My girl's had the chance to work on school work until we were all back together for the afternoon.
Once the big test was finished, we had the rest of the weekend for sightseeing. This is where the subtitles fit into the story. Because we've both been to Paris several times and it was crunch time to make it to new places- the b-list, the two families split up for their own daytime agendas, but worked to eat dinners together.
The Bullington's b-list included:
- Les Invalides (Napoleon's tomb) and Musee de l'Armee
- Versailles (better part of a day trip to tour the Palace and Gardens)
- sunset Eiffel Tower/Seine walk
- Victor Hugo's house (he wrote The Hunchback of Notre-Dame and Les Miserables)
- Centre Pompidou
- Pantheon (many French greats are buried here- including Hugo)
- Shakespeare and Company Bookstore
- Notre Dame (a. mass was in service, b. setting for Hugo's famous book)
- Musee des Egouts de Paris (a. that's long for Paris Sewer Tour! Yep. I've curiously always wanted to tour it, b. the sewers offer escape in Les Mis)
That's the Paris weekend "B-List Tour" or the "Accidental Victor Hugo Complete Tour" overview. We logged 14 walking miles on Saturday and 10 walking miles on Sunday. Our feet were sore and our bodies weary. The weather was gorgeous and hot- very unusual and unlike any of my other times I've been there.
Paris is special and my motto still stands true, "there's never enough time in Paris. Never.".