by Melinda Gallo

Best day in Paris

Today was the best day I had in Paris. I was able to spend the day with my eight-year old niece alone. It was such a treat to take her around the city and spend some time with her. She's one of the people I truly miss the most, and I'm trying to spend as much time with her as I can while she's here visiting me.

I took her to a crêperie for lunch near Châtelet to have some crêpes. I got a bolée (bowl) of cidre (apple cider) to go with mine to complete the experience. Crêpes are so easy to make, but I just love going to a crêperie to eat a crêpe and sip on cidre.

After lunch, we walked along the quais toward Notre Dame. It was interesting for me to go past the Prefecture de police where I went many times to renew my permit to stay in Paris. There was a long line, which I found quite surprising as there were never lines outside when I went.

She had seen Notre Dame only at night when the church was closed, so it was the first time for her to visit the inside of it. We had to wait in a fairly short line to get in. I wasn't happy when a few people cut in front of us to get in and still others snuck in the "mass" line to avoid the wait.

We were whisked along with hundreds of other people to visit the church. A mass was being held at the same time, so we had to be especially quiet.

Afterwards, we walked to the small island behind Notre Dame, Ile-Saint-Louis, which is where my friend Marina used to have an apartment and where I used to stay when I came to Paris as a visitor. I took my niece to get an ice cream at Berthillon. The entire island is covered with small cafés and stands where they sell Berthillon ice cream.

We sat down near the river so she could eat her ice cream and look out at the water. We were lucky that the weather finally warmed up. We walked around the island a little bit to peek our heads in shops.

On the way back to our apartment, I took her past Camille Claudel's house, which is also on Ile-Saint-Louis. I didn't have to explain who she was as she remembered her from the Rodin museum that we visited last Sunday.

I enjoyed my day in Paris with my niece and it will certainly be the highlight of my entire trip.

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