PARIS: The Day Of...

December 12, 2015  •  4 Comments


LE 13 NOVEMBRE 2015


We end up sleeping in.....a little more than I usually do on these trips - jet lag is hitting me hard on this one. It's weird to look back on all the typically touristy things we did all throughout this particular Friday the 13th, without an inkling of what would transpire in the city that very night.

Around 11 am we head out and grab a quick breakfast and coffee at Exki, and we're off to Montmartre so I can show the daughter my absolute fave area of Paris.


MONTMARTRE & SACRÉ-COEUR


Getting off at Anvers metro, it's a 5-minute walk up rue de Steinkerque to Place Saint-Pierre. The walk may take a little longer if you're a shopper, this street is lined with boutiques and souvenir shops, and all are extremely reasonably priced.

The child is looking for souvenirs for the boyfriend and coworkers so we did end up taking a good half an hour to reach Place Saint-Pierre. The sight of the steps leading up to the Sacré-Coeur Basilica are little too much for our jet lagged bodies so we grab the funicular to the top (included in your Paris Visite metro pass).

From up here....the views! They are quite spectacular - it seems like all of Paris is at your feet. Besides the amazing views, I absolutely love walking through the little cobblestone streets. Everyone inevitably ends up at Place du Tertre, to sit at the cafes lining the square and to watch the artists set up in the middle of the square doing their thing.

Back down at the bottom, it's time to walk through the Pigalle area, grab a Nutella crepe (yes, again!) and snap some shots of Moulin Rouge.

 

Croissants....have yet to find one at home that tastes like this!Croissants....have yet to find one at home that tastes like this!

Croissants....have yet to find one at home that tastes like this!


Gotta get a shot of that iconic Parisian metro signGotta get a shot of that iconic Parisian metro sign

Gotta get a pic of that iconic Paris metro sign​


Into the metro, taking random picsInto the metro, taking random pics

Into the metro, taking random pics


Is there WiFi?Is there WiFi?

Is there WiFi?


Souvenirs on rue de SteinkerqueSouvenirs on rue de Steinkerque

Souvenirs on rue de Steinkerque


Hmmm.....the biscuits and macaroons here are amazingHmmm.....the biscuits and macaroons here are amazing

Hmmm.....the biscuits and macaroons here are amazing here


Sacré-Coeur Basilica, from Square Louise MichelSacré-Coeur Basilica, from Square Louise Michel

Sacré-Coeur Basilica from Square Louise Michel


On the funicular, on the way up to Sacré-CoeurOn the funicular, on the way up to Sacré-Coeur

On the funicular, on the way up to Sacré-Coeur


My welcoming party at the top My welcoming party at the top

My welcoming party at the top


A café on the steep steps of Montmartre HillA café on the steep steps of Montmartre Hill

A café on the steep steps of Montmartre Hill


Le Petit Train de MontmartreLe Petit Train de Montmartre

Le Petit Train de Montmartre


Don't know why this is called rue de Chappe, should be steep-a$$ staircase
Don't know why this is called rue de Chappe, should be steep-a$$ staircase

Don't know why this is called rue de Chappe, should be rue de steep-a$$ staircase


The views! That's Tour Montparnasse sticking out like a sore thumbThe views! That's Tour Montparnasse sticking out like a sore thumb

The views! That's Tour Montparnasse sticking out like a sore thumb


Square Louise Michel from up topSquare Louise Michel from up top

Square Louise Michel from up top


Travel Keeps Me Sane - Jennifer Mahon Photography Always packed with people sitting on the steps of Sacré-Coeur


Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, MontmartreRue du Chevalier de la Barre, Montmartre

Rue du Chevalier de la Barre Montmartre


Hmmmnn......tempting....Hmmmnn......tempting....

Hmmmnn......tempting....


The artists used to stick to hounding tourists at Place du Terte, but it seems they now roam around and to portrait sketches on the spotThe artists used to stick to hounding tourists at Place du Terte, but it seems they now roam around and to portrait sketches on the spot

The artists used to stick to hounding tourists at Place du Tertre, but it seems they now roam around and do portrait sketches on the spot


Not sure what this lady is peddling - in front of La Bohême du TerteNot sure what this lady is peddling - in front of La Bohême du Terte

Not sure what this lady is peddling > in front of La Bohême du Tertre


Café - Brasserie > La Mère CatherineCafé - Brasserie > La Mère Catherine

Café - Brasserie > La Mère Catherine


The shops on Rue NorvinsThe shops on Rue Norvins

The shops on Rue Norvins


Outside Galerie Butte Montmartre, on Rue des SaulesOutside Galerie Butte Montmartre, on Rue des Saules

Outside Galerie Butte Montmartre > on Rue des Saules


Hard at work, Place du TerteHard at work, Place du Terte

Hard at work > Place du Tertre


Looking above the cafes - Place du TertreLooking above the cafes - Place du Tertre

Looking above the cafes > Place du Tertre


Making our way back downMaking our way back down

Making our way back down


Chez Marie on Rue GabrielleChez Marie on Rue Gabrielle

Chez Marie > Rue Gabrielle


A walk down Boulevard de ClichyA walk down Boulevard de Clichy

A walk down Boulevard de Clichy


Yup - it's that time again!Yup - it's that time again!

Yup - it's that time again!


Along Boulevard de ClichyAlong Boulevard de Clichy

Along Boulevard de Clichy


Flower place along Boulevard de ClichyFlower place along Boulevard de Clichy

Flower place > Boulevard de Clichy


Moulin RougeMoulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge


A WALK AROUND PARIS


Where to next? We head to Place de la Concorde, with its obelisk rising into the sky, and the ginormous Grande Roue de Paris (ferris wheel) looming over it. We do the long walk through Jardin de Tuileries to the Louvre, then turn to walk along the River Seine to Pont des Arts to see if I can find the middle child's lock that she put on the bridge when we were here 2 years ago. Seems they removed all the locks from the bridge - a panel falling into the river scared the bejesus out of people. However, people still put locks on the sides of the bridge along the river.

We cross the Seine for a quick walk around Saint-Germain-des-Pres and the Latin Quarter. It's incredibly chilly outside, so we find a cute place by the Palais du Luxembourg to warm up and sip some coffee. And now we're out of ideas, because it's soooooo damn cold outside, all we really want to do is be indoors somewhere!

 

La Grande Roue de ParisLa Grande Roue de Paris

La Grande Roue de Paris


Place de la ConcordePlace de la Concorde

Place de la Concorde


People chilling around the Bassin Octoganal - Jardins de TuileriesPeople chilling around the Bassin Octoganal - Jardins de Tuileries

People chilling around the Bassin Octoganal > Jardins de Tuileries


Pyramide du Louvre
Pyramide du Louvre

Pyramide du Louvre


The LouvreThe Louvre

The Louvre


Walking along the SeineWalking along the Seine

Walking along the Seine


Pont des Arts - the locks are gonePont des Arts - the locks are gone

Pont des Arts - the locks are gone


Pont des Arts - locks removed and replaced by decorated metal barriers to prevent peeps for putting locks on the bridge againPont des Arts - locks removed and replaced by decorated metal barriers to prevent peeps for putting locks on the bridge again

Pont des Arts - locks removed and replaced by decorated metal barriers to prevent peeps for putting locks on the bridge again


However, people are still putting them all along the sides of the bridgeHowever, people are still putting them all along the sides of the bridge

However, people are still putting them all along the sides of the bridge


Artists along the SeineArtists along the Seine

Artists along the Seine


Pont NeufPont Neuf

Pont Neuf


Checking out a bookstoreChecking out a bookstore

Checking out a bookstore


Rue de Buci - Saint Germain des PresRue de Buci - Saint Germain des Pres

Rue de Buci Saint-Germain-des-Pres


Poisson Bleu Paris | Sacs on Rue de BuciPoisson Bleu Paris | Sacs on Rue de Buci

Poisson Bleu Paris | Sacs Rue de Buci


Palais du LuxembourgPalais du Luxembourg

Palais du Luxembourg


BUTTE-AUX-CAILLES & LA TOUR EIFFEL


We head back towards the apartment, detouring at Place d'Italie and walk back through the cute Chinatown area to see if Xavier wants to join us for dinner. Last year when I was here around this same time in November, Xavier took us to this uber-cool African restaurant, Le Comptoir Générale, just off of Canal Saint Martin in the 10e. This is where I'm thinking to go for dinner tonight....

But Xavier has already eaten, and both me and Alexus feel kind of lazy to go all the way on the metro to get to this restaurant, so Xavier suggests hitting the popular Butte-aux-Cailles area, just a 20 min walk from his place. So that's exactly what we did (saving our hides as it turned out because Le Comptoir is a 1 minute walk from La Petite Cambodge and Le Carillon).

Found a cute spot, not too crowded like all the other places in the area (can't remember the name of the restaurant) but they had a live jazz duo, great wine and amazing Boeuf Bourguignon.

We finish dinner just after 9pm and figure we'll head back to the Eiffel Tower to see it all lit up at night. We get to the tower around 10pm and we're just in time for the twinkling lights (they start at 8pm, sparkle for 5 min, shut off, then start back up for another 5 min an hour later...until 1am). It's packed with people, checking out the lights and chilling by the Trocadero fountains. We make our way down to the base of the tower and grab another Nutella crepe (yes, another one, don't judge me!). 

Tired from walking around all day, we head back to the apartment in the 13e.

 

Butte-aux-CaillesButte-aux-Cailles

Butte-aux-Cailles


Popular area for ParisiansPopular area for Parisians

Popular area for Parisians, this bar is overflowing


No matter how cold it is, people somehow prefer to dine and drink outside (the heat lamps help!)No matter how cold it is, people somehow prefer to dine and drink outside (the heat lamps help!)

No matter how cold it is, people somehow prefer to dine and drink outside (the heat lamps help!)


What to have dinner?What to have dinner?

What to have dinner?


Mmmmmnnnn.....Boeuf BourguignonMmmmmnnnn.....Boeuf Bourguignon

Mmmmmnnnn.....Boeuf Bourguignon


EIffel Tower at nightEIffel Tower at night

Eiffel Tower at night


Gorgeous at night!Gorgeous at night!

Gorgeous at night!


So yeah.....it's Nutella crepe time again!So yeah.....it's Nutella crepe time again!

So yeah.....it's Nutella crepe time again!


WTF IS HAPPENING?


Exiting the metro around 11pm, I turn on my phone to text Xavier that we'll be there in 10-15 min. And my phone is going crazy.....there are 10 missed calls, a zillion text messages, all saying roughly the same thing. My response is the same to all "I have no idea what's happening. Xavier just told us to come back quickly."

Piecing together the jumbled texts....we slowly learn what's happening.....

From Xavier:
"Come home right now"
"Call me right now"
"EMERGENCY"


From Shawna:
"Are you okay Jenn? What's going on over there?"

From Tricelle:
"I just heard what's going on. I hope you guys are ok....please let me know your ok....holy shit!"

From Jeremie:
"Hey. Are you guys ok?"
"Xavier is freaking out"
"Several bombs set off in Paris today"
"All over the news"


From Jojo:
"We're hearing about gun shootings in Paris!!!!!!!"
"10e, 11e arrondisements. Stade de France, prise d'otage et fusillade au Bataclan happening NOW"


From Aliyah:
"Are you guys ok? There was shootings there!"

From Dominique:
"Are you ok?"

From Hanen:
"Hello Jenn, are you still in Paris? Are you ok?"

From Tanya:
"Jenn! You okay?"

From Manon:
"Hey, just checking to see if everything is ok..."

From Julien:
"Tout va bien? J'ai appris pour les attaques 😢😢"

Obviously some serious shit is happening somewhere in the city that my peeps on the other side of the Atlantic know about and I don't. Still not fully aware of what's happening, we walk, quickly, the 15 minutes back to the apartment, hearing sirens in the distance, but you always hear sirens in the distance in big cities......

We've barely put the key in the door and Xavier yanks the door open, super glad that we've made it back. He starts to fill us in on what he's heard, on what everybody's heard except us - we were roaming around the streets of Paris when all this was happening - the bombers at Stade de France, shootings at La Petite Cambodge, more shootings and hostage situation at the Bataclan - and it starts to fully sink in what is happening in Paris right now.

As with the rest of the world, everyone is trying to get more information. Different reports are coming in, flooding every major news network and every form of social media - and all are reporting something different. We set the computer to stream iTele, which seems to be the most accurate since it's a French news source, and thank god we did that because CNN and BBC were taking quite a few liberties with their reporting. The placements of the attacks were all wrong, and being in the city, we needed to know which areas were being affected.

I call my hubs (who had no idea either that anything was happening) and message everyone else that's wondering if we're ok, and mark myself "safe" on the notification thingy that Facebook put up. I message a coworker, Lynn, who arrived that day to see if she's ok. Then Sabrina to check on her, and forgot that she's fine, she took the train to Strasbourg that evening after work. Then Olivier, but also forgot the he went to London early that morning. As I'm checking on all my peeps, Xavier is checking on all his peeps and everyone is safe and sound.

Though it's just the 3 of us in the apartment, you can somehow feel that the entire city is in a total state of panic. No one knows really what's happening, or who's responsible, we just know that the death toll keeps climbing and we're sitting here in a state of shock. Xavier is fidgety and panicked, but better now that he knows everyone is safe. Alexus is super quiet, sitting on the couch, watching the news in French, and can't stop jiggling her leg. Moi, there's a sick feeling in my stomach but other than that I'm not sure what to feel at this point.

However, being the practical person I am, knowing full well we will be staying indoors tomorrow, me and Xavier head out to stock up on some munchies, cigarettes...beer....and wine. (I know you're thinking not the smartest thing to head out, but we're in the 13e, a ways away from the attacks, in a relatively uncrowded, untouristy area). We get back, Alexus has bolted the door on us (scaredy cat) and we break open the wine.

We can't sleep, we're glued to the news. Saddened every time the number of confirmed deaths getting higher. Worried, because the president announced an état d'urgence plus all border closings, and because you don't know if this it, or if there's more that will happen tonight or tomorrow. Anxious, nervous laughter fills the apartment as we try to joke with each other while clinking our glasses together toasting, "Fuck the terrorists."

At 4am we finally turn off the news and try to get some sleep. We're all trying to, but for the next hour or so I know we're all checking our phones and refreshing the news to see if anything else has happened. Not sure at what point we fell asleep at......

 


Photos taken | written by JENNIFER MAHON


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Comments

intrepidista via Instagram(non-registered)
Wow cool perspective!
Maya via Twitter(non-registered)
Just read it and got goose bumps all along. Beautiful pics!
Xavier via Facebook(non-registered)
Thanx so much to put words on this expérience we had together
Manon Myette(non-registered)
Thank you for the article and lovely pictures!!
I've never been to Paris, but through your pictures, it's really lovely.
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