Sunday, Sept. 30th
Day Trip #18

Our last full day in France.

            Up at 6:00 for meds & juice. Then officially up at 7:30 to prepare for our day.

            Out at 8:30 to find a breakfast place. We end up at Café de Buci & have an “English” breakfast. – yogurt, jelly (which we stir into the yogurt), croissant, cheese omelette, café au lat / hot chocolate (for Don) & OJ. 13€ each – 3 less each than yesterday & much better.

            It is a cool, clear morning – cooler than yesterday. I’m actually cold w/ my layers, but w/o my red coat. It later warms up nicely – mid60s & clear blue sky.

            Back to hotel & then out to catch our L’Open Tour Bus. The streets are so much quieter on Sunday am, then on Sat. nite. We did see young people coming out of a bar at 9:30 am, on our way back from breakfast, one had obviously been partying all nite. She in particular, had trouble standing up & was staggering around. We also see several homeless people sleeping on the street.

            We walk a different route, but one which Tim & I often did in ’09, to the Seine and then along the Seine past the mostly closed book stalls & the boats & batabuses & taxis on the river. We also pass Musee D’Orsay with its long lines to get in, & on the opposite shore, the huge palace of the Louvre. I am approached 3 times on the street w/ the “lost ring” gypsy trick! I must look like a tourist!

            We catch the bus a short distance past the Musee D’Orsay & actually get the 4 front row seats, with their better view. We hear the bus hitting tree branches & are told by the woman behind us that the bus is taking a different route today because of the Paris Marathon. We drive up the Champs Elysees, around the Arch de Triomphe & onto Avenue Kieber. We find the steps down on Place du Armee & go under the circle around the Arc & up to the Arc itself. Deb finds a seat near the flame, & Don & I pay 9.50€ each to go up to the top. Tim decides to head back down the Champs Elysees to go to the Mercedes-Benz showroom to talk Formula I. He also ends up going to Toyota & BMW places, but BMW was closed.

meat market in mall

crossing the Seine, to Louvre


Judy & Tim, Eiffel

Ste. Chapelle

           Don & I walk up the circular staircase to the landing/floor below the top. It freaks me out a bit because you can see down very far. We use the free toilettes, then walk the final steps to the top. It is a clear day (as I said before) with only a small bit of haze in the distance. We check out the view from all 4 sides & with the 12 radiating streets. There is a map which points out the main structures & areas of interest. Nice views & we hear languages from all over the world & many Americans.

            Back down to the toilette level again. Then back down the exit/sortie steps – very narrow, turning & freaky. I stay to the right & Don walks on the next step down & on the inside which blocks the view for me & makes it a bit less freaky. One hand on his shoulder also helps. We actually stop a few times for others to pass.

            We meet Deb & go under & up to the Champs Elysees. Big crowds, Tim has already called to say where the bus stop is.

            We hook up again with the bus & head out again on the green line, in a meandering route bec. of the Marathon, past the Eiffel Tower. We exit again on the Champs de Mars & walk towards the cafe area & find a place for lunch. We sit outside & get the price fixe meal – Salad w/ tomatoes & onion, beef bourginion w/ frites or pasta & a choice for dessert – Don – apple tart; T, J & Deb – meringue in English sauce w/ caramel syrup in a sundae class. Don & Tim have a red wine. 17.50€ each. Don & Deb pay for lunch as a celebration of our past bdays & anniv. in August (we were in Russia & couldn’t celebrate before.) Very generous of them, good lunch in a nice outdoor café in nice weather. (Café Le Dome).

            (Purchase 3 scarves for 10€ after lunch – all solid colors.)

            We walk east to Place des Invalides & walk along Rue Cler. There are many markets – particularly fish – closing at 1:30ish cause it’s Sunday.

            We wait for about 20 minutes for the orange line bus (less buses on this route than the green). We board the bus, & get off in a few stops at Notre Dame Cathedral. A mass of humanity on this beautiful Sunday. Nice view of the towers against the blue sky. Photos. Walk on to Ste. Chapelle, a few blocks further on. Long, quick moving line on the street to get in. This line is just to have your bag checked before being allowed to enter. Inside, there is a long, snaking line to buy tickets to enter. We see people slowly dwindling out, but to buy tickets takes a long time.

            I have to go to the BR very bad. (Unlike yesterday when I didn’t drink bec. I didn’t want to worry about finding a BR., today I’ve been drinking. esp. to avoid yesterday’s dehydration headache). I ask an official about the toilette, he points me in the right direction.  I head off. It is way behind  the chapel across a courtyard & is a one seater w/ 8 people in line. It takes a very long time. There is another toilet, but it is locked. I wonder what takes people so long! When I return to D, D & Tim, they have moved way up into the snaking line & wonder what the heck had taken so long. Deb was convinced I had been thrown out of the complex, & Tim was just going to buy a ticket & wait for me. It is 8€ to get in. The lower chapel is unremarkable, but we climb the circular steps to the top chapel & see why this 13 c. church is so popular. The whole wall on one side is bathed w/ sunlight & the stained glass is very impressive. The blues particularly. Windows are “read” from the bottom up & from r to l, l to r, etc. They are stories from the Bible. The chapel used to contain the holy relics of Christ’s suffering, such as the Crown of Thrones, etc., which were purchased by Louis IX. He spent more on the relics than the bldg. of the chapel! Lower chapel was for servants of the court, & upper chapel for the royalty & King, who lived on the same floor in an attached building, & entered thru special doors. Very gorgeous & still worth seeing for Tim & my 3rd time. We think & talk a lot about Norman & what it was like when he first brought us here in 1972, 40 yrs ago!

            We exit after Deb buys herself & Linda tapestry pillowcases which she has been looking for since Villandry. Back via Rue de Buci to our hotel to rest. We are back at 4:45. Deb decides she won’t go back out again since she’s exhausted & her ankle is hurting. Today we walked more than any other day.

            At 6:30, Don meets us & we head to Rue de Buci where I exchange a sweater & Don walks on to buy Deb a piece of pizza to take back. We meet up again at Vesuvio, at the top of Rue de Ciceaux, where Tim & I stayed 3 years ago. It’s a pizza place we seem to go to every 1st & last night in Paris, and tonite is our last nite here again. Me: mushrooms & artichoke heart Marguerita pizza & Tim: hamburger & frites; Don – 3 scoops of ice cream. We have fun, discussing the memories of our trip, plus politics and history in the world and in the US.

            Back to the hotel. We gather in D & Deb’s room & continue the reading of my journal.

            Back to our room at 9:00 to read & go to bed.

            The end of our trip. Such a good combination of small village (Villandry), mid-sized town (Amboise), small town/village & small city (Pommard/Beaune) and big city  (Paris) – one of the most important cities in the world. Such fun to travel – always sad to leave, but happy to go home to routine & comfort. Will we ever be here again?