Good Guide

We have spent the day in Paris and so far I’ve gone only to places I haven’t made it to on previous trips. Thank goodness, since this is the 4th trip here in a year.

We started at the Opera House. I’d have never even thought of going there except it’s written up in a “Paris with Kids” guidebook Debbie gave me for my birthday.

I confess, I had no idea that the “Phantom of the Opera” is an old legend about this place… complete with the lake underneath the building and the massive chandelier that actually fell on the audience during a performance.

The building is amazing. Unbelievably ornate, oozing with marble, gilding and excess.

A rehearsal was going on which meant the auditorium was closed. We could wander around the lobby and the library; that took more than an hour. The only way to see the lake under the opera where the phantom hung out is with a guided tour. None today. Or tomorrow. Bill wants to go back. He wants to see that lake. I want to see a show there.

The same guidebook then led us to an English bookstore down the street. Don’t tell Bill, but I do have a few books at home I’m already reading or plan to read. But I couldn’t pass up the chance to get more. I bought two books written by an ex-pat living in France. Oddly, that is my new favorite topic. I also bought a flip book with a new word for every day of the year. It’s intended for someone between 5 and 7 years old. I hope it isn’t too hard for me. Kaitlyn was excited by the idea of books in English, but the kids section was small and she didn’t see anything she really wanted. Bill bought her a box of like a thousand stickers. He picked out a photography magazine for himself. I almost added a Martha Stewart Living to our stack, but couldn’t bring myself to pay 7 Euros for it.

Since the guidebook hadn’t steered us wrong yet, we followed it yet again.

It says to be sure to visit the “grands magasins” (big department stores) near l’opera. I have never been in a store so big. It’s worth visiting just to see the stained-glass dome in the center… 6 stories up. I went with Kaitlyn while Bill waited for Debbie and Don. I thought I was taking her to the children’s clothing department. Turns out, I was taking her to the TOY department… which is bigger than the entire King Jouet toy store in Grenoble. Seems everything in Paris really is better. Kaitlyn carefully wandered the aisles and examined a lot of Barbie and Polly Pocket options, but kept returning to the same item… a mini-Barbie thingie. Naturally, we gave in and bought it.

The real reason we’d even gone into the massive department store was because the guidebook said to eat at the rooftop restaurant.

It mentioned something about how it is a good option if the weather is nice. I thought it meant if it isn’t rainy or foggy, because that would block the view of the city. No, it meant because the restaurant is on the roof… outside… covered only with a tent. So the view was great but the wind was cold. I was a little worried, too, because the menu was quite small, only in French, and I could not translate all of any single dish. Everyone else seemed ok with it and I feel like yesterday I stepped on some toes, so I just kept my mouth shut. Thank goodness. The food was excellent. I had mushroom soup which was really good. Kaitlyn took one bite of her meal and said “My chicken is really good.” Then she ate a chicken leg, two servings of broccoli (Bill put his on her plate) and her potatoes. She tried but didn’t like the spinach. All of us nearly licked our plates clean.

So far, this guidebook is a real winner.

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