Walking to Notre Dame: The Three Bears

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Notre Dame

Notre Dame

The Christmas Tree in Front of Notre Dame

The Christmas Tree in Front of Notre Dame

We walked to Notre Dame our first day in Paris. These are my observations.  The sidewalks are narrow, one person walkways or wide pedestrian thorough fares.  No mix and match. So Baby Bear heads out first.  She is a homing pigeon really.  She needs no map, always knows the right direction to anything and moves right along rarely looking back to see if anyone is actually following her. Next is Papa Bear.  He can walk 40 miles a day, up hill both ways, carrying an 80 pound rucksack. Lastly is Mama Bear who toddles along looking at the lights, lingering to window shop and stopping every few seconds to take a picture that the other two bears would never notice. Guess which one I am. I never know where I am because I am too focused on catching up to the other two bears! We stop frequently for coffee or wine, so we can all talk occasionally.  My observations while musing in the cafes: French women come in two molds. 1. Old, waif thin, elegant, never leaving home without every drop of make up applied perfectly and sporting a real mink coat.  2. Young, waif thin, elegant without even trying to look it, pushing a baby in a carriage down cobbled streets, with a toddler at her side who is trying to learn to ride/push scooter that is new to him. Both types meet up with friends to have a cuppa or wine. Cafes are tiny, hot and the few tables are scrunched together, but hey no problem, bring all the carriages and children inside, un-wrap them from bundles of clothing, and enjoy an afternoon with your friends.  The evenings follow the same routine except the men folk join in, who are also waif thin.  They meet up to have coffee or the evening meal with their wives, children and friends and then after the meal the men go outside to sit under large umbrella heaters to drink some more and smoke cigarettes. When the women are talked out, they begin to kiss everyone goodbye, pass the children around to each other for farewell wishes and hugs and re-wrap the babies and toddlers in layers of warmth. The kissing, re-wrapping can go on for up to a half hour. Then out the door they go. The husbands leave at this time too or stay to drink, talk and smoke some more.  The scene was very orderly and the children well behaved.  This was the pattern every day. What a life!  Here are street scenes on the way to Notre Dame. I gotta go catch up to the other bears! Enjoy!

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