Up to this point we haven’t had any issues booking trains. In hindsight, we probably shouldn’t have waited until the day before to buy tickets from Amsterdam to Paris. The plan was to be in first class on a direct train, just a quick three-hour trip, but it was not to be. At first we were told there was absolutely no way we could get to Paris on Saturday. Then, after looking desperate for long enough, the ticket agent came up with a plan that put us on a train for 5.5 hours with a connection in Brussels. It was not first class, in fact, it was more like steerage. Our car had no working bathrooms, and no leg room. Oh, and Jared found this rolling around the floor.
The next day we set out to explore our neighborhood in the 11th arrondissement. A number of shops still had signs in the windows reading “Je Suis Charlie.” A larger memorial still stands near where French policeman, Ahmed Merabet was killed in the attacks. We, like everyone else, had read about it when it happened but to stand there in front of the memorial and to read the words left behind was a sad and powerful experience. We walked for miles yesterday in the beautiful Parisian sunshine beginning along Canal Saint-Martin. We eventually made our way to Notre Dame. Before heading inside we shared a croque-monsieur at an outdoor cafe.In the early evening we hopped on the subway back to Trocadero and wandered through shops and bakeries while we waited for restaurants to open for dinner. So many incredible windows with beautiful displays begged shoppers to part with too many euros for hippo-shaped chocolate.
Finally, we wandered around the corner to La Fontaine de Mars, an old-fashioned bistro where the Obama’s ate when they were here in 2009. Inside, it’s exactly what you’d expect from a classic Parisian bistro, complete with red and white checkered tablecloths. Ok, so maybe we didn’t exactly eat with the President, but it was still fun to be in the same place he enjoyed a meal. Jared ordered the fried black pudding sausage with apple, while I got the homemade duck confit with sautéed potatoes and curly lettuce. The food was fabulous and the prices weren’t too over the top.