Monday, October 9, 2017

Paris Day 2 plus 18 months

Wow. I wrote this 18 months ago when we returned from France/UK and I never posted it.

I was traveling with someone who never sleeps past 5:00AM even when changing time zones. She and I sleep until 10:00AM. I wore her out on day 1.5.

We get up, have tea in the room and get out of the room all within 30 minutes. Quick American breakfast of egg, ham and cheese, no bread. Today we are taking the Big Red Bus around Paris. It is a hop on/off bus tour with two loops around Paris. We opt for the short loop first so that we can go to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.

We get off the bus and walk three blocks north as in compass heading and north as in elevation. These are steep hills. Then we reach a park . . . with steps, lots of steps, all heading toward the Basilica. We decided to climb up the right side. Up one staircase, two, three, four, five . . . I stopped counting and pulled out my cell phone to check the altitude stats at this location. It read that this would be the equivalent of climbing 15 stories. So I kept stepping. I know I made the right decision. The view from the top was beautiful. The interior of the basilica was beautiful. There is a funicular on the left. The Montmartre funicular. We could have ridden to the top and skipped the stairs. When we were leaving it was drizzling and I did not want to risk falling down 15 flights of stairs. We were going to take the funicular but didn't have exact change and the change machine was on its wine break. We could have waited but I said 'the hell with it' -didn't I just leave a church?? - and we walked down, down, down.
Walking several blocks to where we could get back on the bus, we passed countless numbers of baguette shops, cheese shops, scarf shops and handbag shops. I bought a bottle of water and, if memory serves, a piece of fruit.

We took the second bus loop and drove to all the sights for the next two hours. I took this photo and became obsessed with it. It screams PARIS to me. Back at home I had it enlarged and put on a stretch canvas. My neighbor, a professional photographer, moved to Paris three months ago. I asked him to please return to this spot and take a photo with the exact same prospect. Google Maps allows me not only to pinpoint the exact spot, their street view mode allows me to see it.

Back to that day: Later, when we passed the Effiel tower we exited to walk a few blocks and found a nice little brasserie Cafe La Place at 3 Place Cambronne, Paris. This restaurant gets a mention because of 'the Manager.'  That is the name they have for their cat. Yes, in Paris a cat lives inside the restaurant. There is a narrow circular staircase inside the restaurant. It leads down to the restrooms and up to . . . I have no idea.  Sitting on the staircase was a beautiful cat. Every time a waiter walked past the staircase, within reach of the cat, the tabby reached out and smacked the waiters on the head. I loved it.

After this meal, we decided to walk back to walk back to the hotel for a break before the night tour. I don't think we had dinner (again). Paris is very exciting. I literally forget to eat.

Even with on and off rain, we enjoyed the night tour very much. Everything we saw during the day tour but at night. We exit the bus somewhere on the Champs-Élysées and walk some of the same places we walked the previous evening and then back to the hotel to find that the hotel is out of order and we have to walk up to the fourth floor (which would be considered the 5th floor in the US). No dinner - forgetting to eat . . . .Paris is keeping the pounds off.

Next Day: The Louvre.



Vickie said...

Cheers for hop on hop off buses. We think they are awesome in new/huge cities. Love the cat story.

Susan said...

What a wonderful experience!