Before my humans went to France, they would sometimes meet French people who would tell them that baguettes and croissants just don’t taste the same outside France – but they never really believed it…
…until the first morning after they arrived in Paris, when they sat down to a Continental breakfast…ooooh…it’s true! They had never tasted bread like that before…and as for the croissants…my humans said they melted in your mouth. And if you wanted something a bit more, you could have a French herb omelette – crispy & fluffy at the edges, filled with ham, cheese, tomatoes…or a pain au chocolat, oozing with dark chocolate…or a crunchy sweet brioche…or crusty little sticks of benoîtons…all washed down with freshly-squeezed orange juice…you never think of skipping breakfast in France!
Of course, breakfast on this morning was especially important because it was going to be a big day! My blog friend, Thy, guessed it right…it was Hsin-Yi’s brother’s wedding day!
Well, actually, it was not the day of the proper, big wedding party (that’s going to be later in Provence) but just the day of the “civil wedding” – which is when humans go to a special office to sign lots of papers that say they are now husband & wife and have to share everything.
So everybody got dressed up in nice clothes and nice hair and all went to the special office to wait for the happy couple.
Hsin-Yi especially wanted to get there early because her brother had asked her to be the official Photographer Human for the day and so she was rushing around with her camera machine, worried she wouldn’t get any good photos…
…but luckily, she got some nice ones!
Hsin-Yi’s brother’s new wife had specially worn a beautiful red Chinese qipao (pronounced chee-pow) in honour – doesn’t she look gorgeous?
And now everybody couldn’t wait for the big wedding party the following week in Provence!
The next day, my humans were up early again and rushing off to another “must-do” in Paris: a cruise on La Seine (the Seine River)!
They went on a famous boat called the Bateaux Mouches - which has been taking people up and down the river for more than 60 years.
As you can see – it was very windy!
The boat passed lots of interesting things – like famous museums and buildings and statues…
…but my humans thought one of the most interesting was the funny things along the side of the river! Look – they’d put out giant beanbags for people to sit on…
…and even made ‘beaches’ for human families to go and play in…
…with funny giant deck chairs!
Ooh…those giant beanbags look so comfy – they’re even bigger than my giant beanbag bed – I wish my humans could have brought one back for me!
Hsin-Yi’s favourite things on the river, though, were the beautiful bridges…
…there are 37 bridges across the Seine, just in Paris (and more outside Paris) – my humans had never seen so many bridges in their lives!
And of course, one of the most famous things that the cruise passes is La Tour Eiffel - the Eiffel Tower! My humans decided not to visit it this time because they had both been there before, on school trips, when they were human pups and they didn’t really want to wait for hours in ANOTHER queue! But it was still nice to see it from afar!
After all that cruising and fresh river air, my humans and their mummies needed a big lunch! They found a lovely “typical Parisian cafe” to sit down in together….and have some typical Parisian yummies – ha! ha!
It was a bit of a sad lunch, though, because it was their last lunch altogether as Paul’s mummy, Mum, had to get on a big train machine called the Eurostar, after lunch, and go back to England…
…while my humans & Ma-Ma were off down to Provence, to continue doing more sightseeing before heading for the big wedding party.
But before they left Paris, there was one more place which they just had to visit: 17 years ago, Hsin-Yi had come from England with her brother for a very short visit to Paris, arranged by his university. They had come on a coach machine, on the ferry, and rushed around Paris for 1 day and didn’t really see anything properly at all – especially not the one thing that Hsin-Yi desperately wanted to see, more than anything else: the Cathédral Notre-Dame de Paris.
You see, there is a famous story called ‘The Hunchback of Notre-Dame’ by Victor Hugo, about a poor human, called Quasimodo, who was born with an ugly big bump on his back and nobody wanted to be his friend so he had to spend his whole life in the cathedral, just ringing the great bells…
…and then he fell in love with a beautiful gypsy girl called Esmerelda and tried to save her from bad people…
…but everybody died in a horrible way in the end.
It is such a terribly sad & romantic story that it made a big mark on Hsin-Yi’s brain when she was a human pup and has stayed there ever since.
And you know how much Hsin-Yi loves to visit places that she has read about in storybooks – so at the end of the day, she & her brother ‘ran away’ from the university group, to go find the Notre-Dame Cathedral by themselves…but when they finally got there, it was closed!
So Hsin-Yi just stood outside the closed gates and looked up at the beautiful, dark cathedral and felt very sad. And she promised herself that she would come back to Paris one day – and she would definitely see the cathedral next time…
Can you see the huge queue of people? But this was 1 queue that Hsin-Yi didn’t mind joining!
And finally, they were inside…
It was all so beautiful but Hsin-Yi’s favourites were the gorgeous chandeliers hanging from the ceiling….she must have taken dozens of pictures of them! But don’t worry – I won’t show you all of them!
But wait! What about the famous Notre-Dame gargoyles?
In case you’re wondering what’s a gargoyle, these are special kinds of ugly, scary statues that live on the walls of some churches (and even some universities – like my humans’ college back in Oxford!).
They usually have really ugly, mean faces and look like monsters…but they are actually supposed to help scare evil spirits away and protect the building.
They also have another job – they help to spit the rainwater, that collects on the roofs, out of their mouths! This is so that rainwater doesn’t run straight down the walls of the beautiful buildings, which would wash away and damage all the stones, after many years. In fact, the name “gargoyle” comes from the gurgle-gurgle sound of water rushing through their mouths.
The Notre-Dame cathedral is famous for its many strange & ugly gargoyles – in fact, they are so ugly, they are almost beautiful! And no visit to Notre-Dame would be complete without climbing to the top to see the view of Paris with all the gargoyles around you for company!
So my humans had to join another queue (for another hour!) to climb up the tower to the top of Notre-Dame. There were over 400 steps to the top (and no lifts!) in a very, very narrow, spirally staircase but Hsin-Yi was so excited, she was the first one up the steps and zooming to the top!
(by the way, Ma-Ma decided her knees were too old to climb all those steps or wait for another hour in the queue – she decided she’d rather spend the time drinking coffee in a Parisan cafe and watching the people going past! )
And what a view met their eyes when my humans reached the top! It made all the stairs worth it!!
And Hsin-Yi was even more excited when she found that they could climb into the great belfry…
…and see the Notre-Dame bells! Yes! The ones that Quasimodo used to ring!
Well, after 17 years, Notre-Dame certainly lived up to Hsin-Yi’s dreams!
And now, sadly, it was time to say goodbye to Paris…
…and head on down to Provence!
Stay tuned for more of my humans’ adventures in the south of France!
p.s. Look at Paul being silly and trying to do a “gargoyle face” – hee! hee!
Think that’s good? That’s nothing! Check out me & Muesli’s!