Matthew decided that he didn’t feel so good this fine Saturday morning.  We felt sorry for him and then promptly left him to sleep it off.  Grace and I enjoyed the outing to the extreme.  After we had our morning pastry, of course.

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Our morning was adventurous dive headlong into the local flea marketing crowd.  And dive headlong we did.  *ahem*  I tried to contain myself as best as possible.  But when blocks and blocks of a Paris flea market stretches out before your eyes, ’tis a hard thing to try to do.

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We had done our research ahead of time and learned that the local flea markets are run by…locals, imagine that.  And they are not necessarily English speaking locals, and if they are English speaking locals, they won’t attempt to speak English unless you attempt to speak French.  I guess you can call our bumbling conversation an “attempt” because they were very kind and tried to mix their few English words with our fewer French words.  It kind of went like this…

I desperately clutched my piece of paper of French numbers, flea marketing “phrases” and pronunciations while carefully looking over the wares.

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Ah HA!  I spot a treasure.  “Combien, s’il vous plaît?”  I ask.

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And then they rattle off a number and I try to guess from my crash course in French if they said 5 Euros or 50 Euros.

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At this point, either from my addle brained smile or my blank stare, they confirm their price by punching it into a calculator, saying it veeeeee-rrr-yyyyy sllll-ooooow-lyyyy or holding up fingers.  “D’accord (OK),” and my smile becomes more “with it.”

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I’m wracking my brain trying to remember how I ask if they would take less, but I forget.  But ask less I did (in French, mind you).  I surely did (which is acceptable at a flea market, just not anywhere else).

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Then we would come to an agreement I would either purchase the treasure or walk on with a “Merci beaucoup!”

Grace dove into her own bargaining with the same game plan.  It worked pretty well, I think!

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And we ran across several of the men playing poker and laughing and being so wonderful.  Grace and I schemed how to get a picture without them noticing, and then I just decided to ask them if I could take a picture.  They obliged.

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At least we bought tons of stuff, and it wasn’t light stuff, noooooo, we can’t be that smart.  We had to buy jars and keys and cast iron faucets.  And a top hat and hat box that had to be carried gingerly, and fresh flowers that had to be kept from being smashed.  Our arms were so tired, no, tired isn’t the word for it.  There are no words.

Upon Grace’s good suggestion, we stopped for a banana Nutella crepe at the end in order to build up energy for the long trek through the streets and metro station back home.

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And then we carefully laid out our purchase and took pictures while Matthew shook his head.  (Yes, I bought a lot of stuff.  Most of it was for my fledgling Etsy shop, just sayin’.)

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We rested before our afternoon adventures and then headed out for our afternoon adventures.  First stop, Notre Dame.

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Did you know it was built in 1160?!?!  That’s beyond old.  I can’t even imagine.  It’s huge and beautiful, and that’s about it.

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And then we joined the locals enjoying the sunshiny day along the Seine River.

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And then we saw it.  IT.  The EIFFEL TOWER.  We had glimpsed it yesterday from the train, but this was different.  I can’t count how many pictures I’ve seen of the Eiffel Tower, but NOTHING prepares you for seeing it in real life.  It is MASSIVE and BEAUTIFUL and AMAZING!

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After our daylight view of the Tower, we went to eat our “fancy” supper for the week at Bistro St. Dominique.  Compared to restaurants in the city, it wasn’t fancy, I suppose, but ’twere to us.  Grace and I dined on duck; Matthew chose fish…complete with tail and bones and eyes…poor guy.  My appetizer of salmon was good if not a little different.  And the dessert, aaaaahhh, I could have died.right.there.

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Anyway, after that we headed back to the Eiffel Tower to go up to the very tippy top at night.  Praise the Lord, I had found that you could buy tickets online instead of standing in line.  So we skipped ahead of the hundreds of people in a line that probably would have taken at least two hours.  We felt like such VIPs.  (And, yes, we actually skipped.)

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Quite the experience being on the very tippy top of the Eiffel Tower at night.  And theeeeen, it sparkled.  I didn’t know the Eiffel Tower sparkled.

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So we took our time and just stood there in deep, mature contemplation at the top.  We walked down and sat on the lawn waiting for the sparkles to sparkle again.  Sitting on the grass watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night – a most perfect ending to a most perfect day.

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