Posted by: Grub | November 28, 2009


I have been putting off writing any posts about our trip because I don’t really know where to start – I could write a novel!  I decided that I would post a few of my favorite photos and make a list of some of my favourite recollections of each section of the trip, hoping that this would allow me to organize my thoughts!

We’ll start with Paris, which was the first stop on our trip.  Without getting into the details, it was a LONG road getting there – including a 9.5 hour flight (with 4 movies and two rounds of hot towels), a layover in the enormous but immaculate Frankfurt airport, a short flight in to Paris, a train ride into the craziest busy train station in Paris (Gare du Nord), a metro trip into the Alexander Dumas station and then a bit of a hike to our hotel, the Mama Shelter.  Looking at the map, I actually think that our hotel might have been located as far away as you could possibly get in Paris from a metro station (in other words, not actually that far). 

The carpet in our hotel room - we also had a "welcome mat" in this style

Anyways, we proceeded to spend three days in Paris and packed them pretty full with sightseeing and eating.  We had both been there before, so I tried to see some things that were new instead of all of the usuals.  It was pretty cold and windy, and we had to do a fair amount of navigation around the city to find veg food, but it was still Paris and I still loved it!  Here are some of the highlights:

  • the modern but funky Mama Shelter, from the fascinating tidbits of trivia on the elevator walls to the elegant bathroom fixtures;

My nightlight at the Mama Shelter (Chad had Batman!)

  • the ancient bookstore Shakespeare & Company in the Latin Quarter, which has the most amazing nooks and crannies and feels like it could fall on top of you at any minute, but has a good modern book selection – it was also pretty cool to see it on the way over on the plane in the movie Julie and Julia, as it would have looked in the 50’s);

  • a few new favourite paintings at the Musee d’Orsay, including two by Toulouse-Lautrec, who I have never really been too interested in before, a reminder of how much I like Manet (not Monet!), and noting that I was the only adult in the entire museum for our entire visit wearing a hoodie (in fact the only child I saw wearing a hoodie was a sweater hoodie) – so underdressed!;
  • seeing the lengths that restaurant owners will go to fit a bathroom in to an old and tiny space, and the numerous bizarre mechanisms for turning on the water in the sink;

Our metro station

  • walking up all of the stairs at the Abbesses metro station in Montmartre;
  • the most amazing falafel I have ever had in my life at L’As de Falafel in the Jewish quarter – these guys have a system that works like clockwork for take-away and put roasted eggplant in their falafel;

In the Place des Vosges, eating falafel

  • La Grande Epicerie de Paris – kind of like the bigger, fancier Urban Fare in Paris, I was reminded how lucky we are to have pretty decent grocery stores here in Vancouver – this is where I purchased the incredible Speculoos spread, which until now has only been an Internet legend;

Speculoos spread, mmmmm..... You can't tell from the photo but it is already almost all gone (someone likes it on toast at around 2am).

  • the walk along the top of the Promenade Plantee (once we finally found it!) and the enormous roundabout in the Place de la Bastille;
  • our lovely meal at the vegetarian Le Potager de Marais, including authentic (vegan) tarte tatin for dessert;

The Promenade Plantee

  • wandering around the various neighbourhoods and bouncing all over the amazingly efficient metro system.

We were busy!

The only real low point of the trip was the guy who tried to steal my backpack on the train back to Charles de Gaulle airport.  He was terribly creepy and a bit threatening and, all in all, it was a very uncomfortable experience.  The funny thing about it is that all that he would have really gotten from my pack was some clothes (clean AND dirty) and some vegan cookbooks – I was imagining the look of disgust on his face while unpacking it all!  The other interesting thing was that, the split second that he entered my peripheral line of vision (he walked up the train car from behind us), I knew in my gut that I did not trust him and then, when I proceeded to watch him reach up to try to take my bag, I was reminded that I should always trust my instincts about people. 

We did eventually get to the airport and to Prague –  I will try to get back to write some more about our time in Prague this weekend.  I wish that we had had a few more days in Paris so that it felt a bit more relaxed, but I also would not have traded any days away from Prague on this trip – it was incredible! (Stay tuned.)



  1. Yay!! I’ve been checking back a couple times a day waiting for some pics and details about the trip. Looks amazing, unfortunate about the creepy guy on the train…can’t wait to hear how you managed to keep your backpack! Looking forward to Prague!!

  2. Lovely photos!

  3. Sounds like an awesome trip (so far!). Great recap.

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