I’m melting, I’m melting, I’m melting!

On the third day God created thunder in France!

I was frightened out of bed by massive crackling thunder and lightning which I swear shook the building at 7:00 am. It was like an Arizona monsoon struck Paris. It was so humid outside and pouring rain but still 90 degrees. Keep in mind my mom and I have not had access to the outside world (no email, no internet, no Accuweather.com and no TV) for three days.

So far it’s been hotter than hell with no clouds in sight, so imagine my shock when I wake up and it’s pouring rain outside.

View from our hotel, you can’t tell
but it pouring out!
I decided to get up and take a shower since mom was sleeping still. After my shower I used the weird Euro blow dryer which oddly enough seemed more like a giant vacuum/carpet cleaner than blow dryer.
I don’t know what I was thinking by “A” blow drying my naturally curly hair in the humidity (there’s just no chance it’s going to look good) and “B” using any kind of electrical device in the middle of a thunder storm….but I didn’t get electrocuted, that was a relief.
After braving the Paris Metro (M) the night before mom and I went to bed fairly early with the plan that we would meet Susan in front of Notre Dame Cathedral at 9:00 am sharp.
We were ready to go by 8:15 though we realized we didn’t have clothing suited for monsoon weather. We had jackets but it was so hot still and there was no way we could wear them and be remotely comfortable so we left them at the hotel. It appeared the rain was going to let up for a few minutes so we decide to leave for the M before it could start raining again.
I decided to wear a short sleeve shell sweater and tank top while mom wore a lightweight t-shirt. The second we get about a block from the hotel the sky opens up and the rain just starts coming down. We ran to the M and after we were drenched we rode the M to Notre Dame.
Notre Dame
Everyone on the M was fashionable with their fancy tailored Burberry jackets and matching umbrellas while mom and I were ringing out our shirts on the M. We got some strange looks but people seemed to dismiss our fashion faupaux once they realized we were Americans.
We got off at the right stop and took the escalator and yes there is at least ONE M station in Paris that has an escalator it just took us two days to find one.
Susan having a heart attack over the coffee
Keep in mind it’s like prime time morning commute on the M and there’s (surprise) a ton of people rushing to work. I realize that even in Europe, people try to stand on the right hand side of the escalators if they are not in a hurry, however mom didn’t seem to get the memo.
Mom was standing next to me on the….gasp…..left hand side. All of a sudden this size zero 18 year old French girl comes racing out of nowhere up the left hand side as we near the top.
I’m not sure what she’s hoping to accomplish by racing to get three steps in front of us but whatever. To her credit she did say “pardon” in French, which my mom mom didn’t hear. So without warning the girl pushes past mom, almost knocks her down, and starts screaming at her in French.
More walking!
Mom of course goes on the defensive (she hasn’t had her coffee yet and no breakfast) and give her the ‘evil eye’ and does the very American response “Excccccccuse me!!” complete with eye roll and obscene hand gestures. The girl continues on like it’s nothing but Susan and I hear about this French toothpick all day long from mom.
So after being accosted in the M mom and I make it up to the street and it’s again pouring out. We stopped at a street vendor and bought two umbrellas for 5 euro each….which is like $7.00 USD each.
Notre Dame before it got too busy
After we got our umbrellas we started for Notre Dame, as I opened my umbrella a giant gust of wind comes and my umbrella snaps in two! I was pissed but resolved myself to the fact that in the Paris version of Hurricane Katrina I just needed to let it go.  But what I couldn’t let go was the fact that the wind was blowing my hair in every direction.
The wind raged on bringing with it sideways rain. Mom somehow managed to control her umbrella, don’t ask me how. I finally decided to take off my shell sweater and wrap it around my head since my hair was plastered to my face and the wind was whipping it in my eyes.
Susan and mom in the rain out
front of Notre Dame
As we approach the cathedral, I realize there was no one there except a giant group of French school children on a field trip….no Susan in sight. By now it’s like 9:15 and mom and I are starving, wet, and need a major shot of caffeine!
We found a little café right next to Notre Dame where we could see Susan approach and waiting without going inside just in case we missed her. After about 10 mins I noticed more people coming to the entry so I thought I would go and see what time they were letting people in.
As I approach I see Susan appearing from the entry way (also soaked). She starts laughing at my head wrap and wants to know where mom is. I gave her the short version of what happened and she said she would buy us a cup of coffee.
Now Susan was trying to help us stick to a budget. So we walked to three different coffee shops in the area to do a cost comparison on the coffee. Finally mom and I were like ‘just pick an f-ing place we don’t care what it costs’!
After finding a place to eat, I took off my head wrap and realized my face cream somehow bleached my sweater so I decided to buy a scarf incase it started raining again so I could cover the bleach spots and my hair.
Us inside Notre Dame note my awesome scarf!
Once I found a new scarf, we sat down and enjoyed our coffee and breakfast. When the waiter finally brought us the bill Susan about choked on her croissant! The cost of three croissants 4 euro….the cost of two coffee ‘creamas’ and a hot chocolate, 25 euro ($30.00 USD)….the cost of Susan reaction….priceless!
Three very expensive coffees later, we went to the cathedral which wasn’t too packed yet. As we went thought it mom cried the whole way so everyone thought we were doing something awful to her.
The cathedral was so beautiful and it was so nice to share it with my family. When Sam and I went it was like shoulder to shoulder and we were rushing. It was so great to share it with mommy and Susan who really enjoy stuff like that and minus all the people!
Homeless man with cute dogs!
We walked around the grounds for about an hour and then decided to walk down by the river (which was more like a mile walk rather than a stroll)
It FINALLY stopped raining.
I thought we were walking toward the Louvre but then Susan noticed we were going in the wrong direction (thank you mini Paris map in French!). Luckily, before we made it to the next city we turned around and started toward the Louvre. But of course mom and Susan were tried and ready to get something to eat and rest their legs. Keep in mind I’m the one with the medical condition here and am probably the LEAST healthy of the three of us and yet I’m huffing along with the massive amounts of camera equipment (in sandals by the way) taking my life in my hands walking up and down the millions of cobblestone sidewalks throughout the city. And it was only 11:30!!! I realized then it was going to be another long day.
We walked for what seemed like forever using Susan’s trusty pocket map….so that means we walked and walked…..checked the map…..walked and walked….and checked the map. We finally made it to a sandwich shop close to the Louvre. By this point we decided that NONE OF US could manage navigating Paris.
We ate and outlined our plan of attack, we knew it would be busy at the Louvre but we had no idea how busy. When we got there (after walking….and map checking….and walking….and map checking) we realized there was a huge f-ing line….like around building and the palace is like f-ing massive!
Art guys trying to get just the right
‘perspective’ on the ‘naked man’ statue…
use your imagination!
Susan is sure there are multiple entrances….so she starts asking random people who look like they can help.
Success! We find a way in that’s not f-ing nuts! There was NO ONE, I repeat, NO ONE in line at this entrance for a change. There were lots of artists at the Louvre sketching famous paintings, which was actually really cool and it was inspiring to watch people ‘create’ right there. Then like Susan said in her blog….it was hard to balance mom who wanted to see every little thing (keep in mind it takes 6 days to go through the Louvre) and me who likes certain kinds of art and just wants to wander. But we managed to stick together despite the huge huge crowds.
Somehow we managed to find the Mona Lisa which was like madness since she IS the most famous and photographed lady in the world. We followed yet another map but this one was of the museum though the French painters area and I saw one of my favorite paintings by Paul Delaroche called La Jeune Martyre (The Young Martyr)… some call it the “Christian Ophelia”.
Ophelia is one of my favorite Shakespearean characters so that was cool to see this painting up close, it defiantly has a ‘mood’ to it and is very moving. Then we continued through the crowds looking for the ancient Greek and Roman sculptures that mom wanted to see. We saw a huge group of male art students all standing around sketching a couple of Michelangelo’s statues in one room….naked man statues….and let’s just say some of their drawings were not to scale. I had to peak and let me tell you….some were WAY too generous and other certainly not generous enough.
Mom and Susan at
the Luxembourg Gardens
We wandered some more and saw the next main attraction, Winged Victory of Samothrace
My fav painting
This is one of the most celebrated statue in the world.
After about two hours of pushing and shoving, wander, millions and millions of stairs, more walking, more pushing, more shoving, and way way way too many people….oh and massive tour groups of Asians who flock to every item and stand while they listen to their tour guide translation so no one else can see anything….we decided it was time to get out of the Louvre.
It took us another hour just to find our way out….again everything’s in French and we just had no idea where to go. After we made it out we went to the Luxembourg Gardens for some rest, relaxation, and wine!
Massive people at the statue!
We found the gardens without incident and along the way located a market where we bought wine, cheese, crackers, bread, and yes more pastries. Mom asked the guy if the wine was a screw top or a cork screw he said ‘yes, we screw top’ which we assumed meant yes. We took our snacks and went to the gardens. My feet were screaming and I was so ready for a drink when low and behold the wine is a cork and we have no corkscrew. So we are left with only pastries and cheese….oh and we have no utensils so we have to eat this messy cheese and pastries with our fingers…so we got food everywhere and strange looks by the French, but again the discarded our manners when they realized we were Americas.
Medici Fountain
Susan and mom watched all the men jogging in the park while I tried to not get food all over myself. I got bored pretty quick….smelly rude French men in tight short shorts….not my idea of hotness. I knew there was a palace (which is now the French parliament building) in the heart of the gardens with a really cool fountain called the Medici Fountain. Mom and Susan were too busy watching the eye candy so I wandered off on my own in search of the fountain.
Susan and mom finally caught up and we walked around till about 8:00 that night before deciding to call it a day. As we were walking back to the M to part ways….I realize I only have one ticket and Susan has her M pass but that leaves either me or mom stranded on the other side of the M entrance with no way back to the hotel.
Instead of listening to me mom takes my ticket and goes through the turn-style with Susan leaving me on the other side without a way on the M. There is of course no billets machine where I can buy a ticket at that M stop so I have to buy a ticket for 3 euro (which normally cost 1 euro) from some South African panhandler to get home!
But I guess the point is that I did make it back to the hotel.
Luxembourg Gardens
Our lovely dinner
We made plans to meet the next morning at our hotel and go to the catacombs.
I just want to note for the record, I was feeling totally fine by the end of the day (except my feet hurt) and I could have kept going…..my mom on the other hand was exhausted. We parted ways with Susan at the M. Mom had the wine and smoozed our hotel desk clerk into opening it for her….she offered him a glass but he freaked out because he thought she was coming on to him (cougar) when really, he was into me. What a disappointment for him that I’m married and my mom was hitting on him.
Susan hoping to find
a secret entrance to the Louvre
My feet were screaming by this time!
Anyway another fun filled day of adventure and priceless memories, nothing can ever be boring or bad when I’m with my family….we just all entertain each other so much! I’m lucky to come from a line of unique women!

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