Sweet Sixteen (Part Deux)

Paris is always a good idea.” Audrey Hepburn

IMG_5946Bonjour birthday girl        

With the aftermath of the Sweet Sixteen party far behind us, it was time to celebrate the teenagers actual 16th birthday, this time in Paris. After pressie time, we left the hotel for a full day of Parisian activities on foot which were dampened slightly by the unfortunate persistent drizzle but that did not deter us from pounding the streets on a birthday sightseeing mission.

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Padlocks at Pont des Arts bridge that crosses the SeineDSC09691

Attaching the birthday padlock and the key throwers below

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First stop was the Pont Des Arts (Passerelle des Arts) bridge which crosses the Seine to attach a pink (of course) birthday padlock and a three-way key throwing competition between the other half, eldest and teenager. After a near miss with some feisty pickpockets and their unscrupulous tactics to distract unsuspecting tourists, (I was on the ball having read about such rogues and their devious ways beforehand) manic whistler blowing from a street vendor scared them off, we continued meandering along the banks of the Seine, passing Musée d’Orsay en route to the Eiffel Tower, the defining attraction of the Paris skyline.

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Looking somewhat bedraggled and a bit chilly we took shelter in a cute french cafe where we sat outside under patio heaters (it was bloody July and I was wearing sandals, insert miffed face here) to warm up. The teenager got her birthday crepe topped with lashings of Nutella, so that was one food related birthday wish ticked off.

IMG_5948Birthday crepe with Nutella 

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With the wind and rain increasing we abandoned actually going up the wrought-iron Eiffel Tower, which to be honest did not look that inviting in the gloom and it was certainly not a great day for panoramic views across the city. Postponing that activity for another hopefully drier day, we decided to seek shelter in an indoor activity, The Louvre.

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Le Tour Effiel (above) and with a teeny-weeny teenager under the famous tower (below)

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Still smiling despite the weather

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Crossing over the Seine on one of the many bridges, we walked (forever) through the beautiful Jardin des Tuileries (gardens) passing the Musée de l’Orangerie that is home to Monet’s Water Lillies. The sudden abundance of many street vendors, each with rings of souvenir Eiffel Towers, signified we had arrived at the magnificent former palace with the glass pyramid that houses the entrance to the Louvre, probably the most famous museum in the world.

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I have to say the family were not overly impressed with Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting of the Mona Lisa (philistines) that hangs behind climate-controlled bullet-proof glass on the first floor of the museum. I was just in shock when calculating it was about thirty years ago that I was last there on a school trip (old age sure creeps up on you!). We passed the Venus de Milo on the way out pushed along in the throng of the crowd that were also there escaping the distinctly non-summer like weather.

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The teenager got her birthday macaroon (couldn’t find a Laudree at this point) from a cute little bakery in the hip shopping and entertainment Marais shopping district. Birthday dinner was at Frogburger in the St-Michel district, a delightful trendy British (no snails or frog-legs for this family) microbrewery (brewery actually located in Paris itself under the Frog and Rosbif pub in Marais) and diner. The food was fantastic and apparently the craft beers were also top quality (trust me a few were sampled), with the favourite being WHAM beer (one of the eldest’s favourite sayings). My veggie burger came with a frozen margarita, how fab is that!! Birthday tiara on (yes she was 16 not 6), candles lit in an enormous chocolate brownie creation and after a chorus of Happy Birthday from us and the staff, this particular birthday celebration came to a close.

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Birthday treats of Brownies (above) and Wham beer (below)IMG_9690

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The accessory of the day was definitely an umbrella