After eating some lunch in the Latin Quarter, we headed back towards our hotel and the Grands Boulevards to do some shopping. We wanted to get a few souvenirs for our family and friends, so we headed into the Gallery Lafayette.
This department store is one of the biggest and most well known stores in all of France. It is known for carrying nearly everything; you can find luxury and casual clothing, books, movies, toys, furniture, and even some services like hair cuts, nail salons, and café at the Galleries Lafayettes. Here in Paris, they have their headquarters, a store so big it actually requires three different buildings just to house everything! The picture shown is the roof of one of the buildings (the one that houses women’s clothing, makeup, children’s clothing and toys, books, and souvenir gifts).
After buying a few things, we headed back and spotted the French treat at the top of this post: a bike rental! These are set up all throughout the city for French people who want to ride a bike around (because it is so easy here in Paris to get anywhere by bike) but don’t own their own. The first 30 minutes are free to use, and then you need to have a special card to pay for time past that. 30-60 minutes is only 1 euro, 60-90 minutes is 3 euros total, and anything longer than that is 3 more euros every 30 minutes. Pretty affordable and easy!
But it’s our last night in Paris, so rather than bike around we decided to head to the one major sight we hadn’t officially seen yet: the Eiffel Tower!! You can see the Tower from many, many spots all over the city, but we hadn’t actually gone to it yet.
The French often decorate the Eiffel Tower for various events, and today was no different. The soccer ball hanging in the middle is in honor of the European soccer tournament that’s being held in France this year. The French national team, Les Bleus, was getting ready to start their second game when we took this picture, so it was time to head to a café to watch! Allez les bleus!
While watching the match, we ate our dinner. It had gotten a little windy and chilly after the sun set, so I had a drink called chocolat à l’ancienne.
This is essentially hot chocolate in the “old fashioned way”. In France, this means it comes separate and you get to mix it yourself! One cup has chocolate melted down the sides and in the bottom, and the other is a pitcher of very hot, frothy milk. You can use as much or as little milk as you’d like, and since the chocolate is not very sweet, they also give you a sugar cube to mix in if you like! I thought it was sweet enough without the sugar, especially since I was also eating dinner (a ham and cheese crêpe) and didn’t really think it would go together incredibly well if I made my drink too sweet.
But dessert…dessert should be sweet! We ordered a plate of profiteroles, another classic French dish. They’re very similar to creme puffs, but are bigger and must be eaten with a spoon. Take a normal creme puff pasty shell (called choux à la crème) but instead of putting cream or fruit filling in the middle, put a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. Now put three of those on a plate and cover the entire thing in chocolate sauce and whipped cream. That’s an order of profiteroles!
This particular café made HUGE profiteroles! One single order took two of us to finish, and even then it was difficult after a good dinner.
And just to finish the evening on a good note…Les Bleus won their game! It was a very last minute win, with goals in the 90th and 96th minutes (for those of you who don’t watch soccer, that’s the very, very end of the game). The streets of Paris went crazy! Everyone was honking, yelling, and celebrating. Even the police and ambulances were running around with their sirens on just to celebrate!
Tomorrow we’re heading to Toulouse in southern France, so be sure to check back tomorrow to see the last bits of Paris, how the European train system works, and a brand new city to explore in the afternoon! And congratulations to yesterday’s comments section winner, Petra! Keep on reading and commenting for your chance to win a souvenir as well 🙂