Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Jim's last day in Paris

Jim’s last day in Paris started a bit late…we decided to eat breakfast later and started off with empty stomachs. We caught the Metro over to Cite and walked over to Notre Dame Cathedral. Walked right in and enjoyed a “camera free” view of the inside of the Cathedral and also crowd free. People seem to sleep in and the early morning hours are great for exploring places without the crowds. However….when we left and headed towards St. Louie en I’Ile we saw that the line for the Bell Tower of Notre Dame was already long even though it didn’t open for another half hour.

We went to an old favorite on the island where we’d enjoyed breakfast several times in 1992; we stood at the bar and had our coffee/chocolate and croissants like in the old days. It’s cheaper to stand than to sit in a bar and/or café in France. We walked the island full of memories of good times from several trips that we’d stayed on the Isle. From there we crossed the bridge as we looked at the Paris Pleage (beach) again…..this time very empty and easy to see the benches and things waiting for Parisians later in the day. We walked along the Seine River on the right bank passing by the Hotel de Ville and then walking off to the side a bit to visit the St. Gervais and St. Protais Church. This church is part of a group of churches throughout France that have been designated as the Monastic Communities of Jerusalem. It was built in the 6th century and is the very first parish in Paris on the right bank of the Seine. Sts. Gervais and Protais are twin brothers who were martyred about 70 AD. The Monastic Community of Jerusalem was founded in this church in 1975. Their vocation is to provide an oasis of prayer, silence and peace in the midst of the spiritual deserts that are today’s urban centers. There are churches in Paris, Strasbourg, Vezelay, Mont Saint Michael, Brussels, Florence, Montreal and Rome.

We decided to use the Metro again and boarded the closest one to the Opera. We enjoyed the outside of this stunning building and then continued to the nearby Lafayette Galleria; a huge department store that has a wonderful stained glass ceiling over the main floor of the store. You climb seven stories on escalators and about the fifth floor you see the ceiling. Then you continue up several more for an outside area on the roof top with wonderful views of Paris.

Back down we found another Metro that took us to the area of the Arc de Triomphe where we enjoyed a lunch at the Quicke (the French version of McDonalds) and then a movie at the Lido. Yes, we enjoyed an English Language (with French sub titles) version of the new movie “Night and Day”. Really funny and even though the French sub-titles were distracting it was very good.

We caught another Metro to Montmartre to visit Sacre Coeur again. We found a restaurant recommended by Rick Steves…asked it they served dinner all afternoon and he said yes. We walked back up the hill as it was too early to eat…yes…we’d ridden the Funicular up and then walked down to find this restaurant. Back up two hundred steps to go through the church and the artist area….very crowded but fun. Jim finally could not stand the crowds and we cut around the outside and back down to the restaurant…yes 200 more steps down to find out that no…dinner was not served until 7 pm; seems as though we’d talked to the Pizza Restaurant next door. It was only about 5 pm, so we had a half liter of wine and then headed back to the Metro and our hotel.

Arrived back at the hotel before 6 pm; picked up the shuttle service vouchers and printed out Jim’s boarding pass for tomorrow. We then walked to one of the restaurants on our street named Le Café du Marche and enjoyed a wonderful dinner. Jim had canard and I had pasta…and another half liter of wine. Walked around the block and settled in for the evening at the hotel.

Tomorrow morning Jim leaves at 9 am and I’m off to see what I can find on my own. Jim says that that the weather prediction for tomorrow is rain! Is he trying to rain on my parade?

No comments: