Friday, June 27, 2008

Notre Dame And Caught In A Tourist Trap

Even a seasoned traveler such as myself gets caught up in tourist traps. Sometimes they turn out to be more fun than you expected and sometimes, well, sometimes not so much.

We decided to head to Notre Dame, you almost have to, don't you? We took the subway and got off at almost the right stop. At least we knew where we were going. Notre Dame is on an island and there are only two here in Paris and they are right next to each other. The smaller island is primarily residential while the larger one has, in addition to Notre Dame, a police headquarters that is quite large, a hotel, and some other stuff that I don't really remember. Oh yeah, and Sainte Chapelle. We had a hard time finding it because it is inside the walls of what looks like a drab government building of some kind. Sainte Chapelle is noted for its stained glass windows but you need to be inside looking out to appreciate the beauty. No matter though, it was closed.

Notre Dame, on the opposite end of the island, has a much more interesting and visible exterior.

Notre Dame From The Front

Of course the Mysterious Chinese Woman insisted on having her picture taken. I am impressed by how much space she managed to clear around her. I am sure she used some kind of a mysterious force field.

Photo Op

I actually think the view from the rear is more interesting. That would be the view of Notre Dame, not the Mysterious Chinese Woman.

From The Rear

We didn't bother to wait in line to go inside. I think most of the stuff that was originally in there was removed and is other museums.

It was getting to be around lunch time and here is where things went horribly wrong. A vaguely remembered picturesque alleyway lined with Greek restaurants popped into our collective conscious. Well, not the Equally Mysterious Sister-In-Law's, she had never been to Paris before. Unfortunately for us it wasn't far (the alleyway, not Paris) and we actually found it.

Oh, Honey, It Looks So Quaint

And So, We Entered

The alleyway is lined with tourist shops, fast food stands, and Greek restaurants. Go figure. There is a certain sameness to them. They all have displays of what looks to be fresh seafood in front and they all have someone trying to lure you into their restaurant. This, actually, is very similar to the practice employed in Little Italy in Manhattan. Well, except for the displays of fish.

Beware The Lurking Man

In addition to the display of fish or things that look like fish, this place also displayed a modestly attired statue.

On Display

The best thing about this restaurant was the free apertif they gave you when you sat down. And the best thing about that was it was free. Kind of a tart and somewhat sweet thing, but I have no idea what it was.

Bon Apetite

Okay, maybe if they display seafood I should order seafood. On the other hand, I never see them taking fish out of those displays so who knows how fresh the fish they serve you are. Maybe they use the ones out of the display when they start to go bad.

Anyway, suffice it to say that my roast suckling pig was a travesty. I leave more on my plate after eating something like that than they served me. Just bones with bits of meat adhering to them and skin. Worse, the Mysterious Chinese Woman ordered something totally different, fillet of pork chop, and she got the same thing. The Equally Mysterious Sister-In-Law got the best of the deal with a lamb shish-kabob. Not that it was anything all that great, but it was a hell of lot better than what we got.

Maybe we should have tried this place, it looks like they might serve game.

New Game In Town

There were gelato shops though and they do make excellent gllato in France. The Mysterious Chinese Woman decided to" splurge." She has to watch her figure, don't you know.

Just A Taste

Well, the Mysterious Sisters decided to go shopping and I decided to pop in someplace for a few beers. Being from Minnesota it was hard for me to pass this place by.

The Great Canadian

There was some hockey paraphernalia hanging on the walls but not too much else to distinguish it as being Canadian. They seemed to be out of most of the Canadian beers that they carried as well. I can't remember what I had.

Having Something

Well, I guess they did have another something Canadian.

Sgt. Preston, I Presume

Let me know if you know the name of Sgt. Preston's dog. And, no, it is not Yuk of the Yukon (but I always though it should be).