Sunday, March 8th, 1992 Still in Paris
Laid awake several hours last night, Jim read to me about the places we’d been to and were going to today. Many of the stories bring back his college days with Albertson at Loyola or Ira at the Junior College. He loved his French Classes...had thought about a year of study here until he met me...opps. He tries to use his French but hasn't had much luck being understood or understanding them. He's dressed with tie and all, so people we meet on the street think he is French until he opens his mouth. They have their own linguistic twist to the language that is very different from what they teach you in school in the USA.
Items to note, old buildings, thin walls, twin beds. Lots of dogs…most were on leashes but no pooper scoopers! Need to watch your step!
We’re packed and off to Notre Dame for church and then to the airport to check on air service and Holiday Inn rates.
What a day! Mass at Notre Dame was a high Mass complete with choir and organ. Communion bread was a thick brown wafer. The sounds of music were ethereal! After Mass we went to the North Bell Tower (it had been closed since we arrived for painting) and trouped up 255 stairs to the haunt of Quasomoto fame. A view of all Paris and then a trip inside to stand next to an actual bell while the history was told in French and the other bells were ringing. The guide selected two women – jep- yours truly was one of the two chosen to have our hand guided in making the bell sing! With just a stroke of metal as you move it to different areas, the tone changed! Must have been the broken arm that singled me out!
Then we climbed about 50 more steps to the top of the South Bell Tower where a fellow from St. Louis offered to take a picture of us together. (Yes...you finally see a photo of me today!) Another fellow was from Chicago. Hard to find Americans and four of us were together at the top of Notre Dame.
We stopped at the grocery on the island and got orange juice, two bananas and water. That with the biscuits we had from breakfast was brunch; then off to the airport. We found parking, went to Ceile (our car rental agency) to check on the car return and then on to Intra Air to schedule tickets for a trip to Nice on Monday. We leave at 10 am and return at 6 PM.
This is the first of our flights using the Intra Air...a division of Air French Airlines....on a Jet Vacation Package that Jim had found and purchased before we left home. For $500. the two of us can travel as often as we want, within the country of France, on seven different days spread over the remainder of our trip. Multiple trips in one day are permitted.
Then we checked on the Metro and found a charming French girl who spoke excellent English so I asked her about the hotels, in particular Holiday Inn. She said the ones near the airport were very expensive, some nearly 300f a night. I didn’t tell her we’ve been paying 900f on the Isle. She then began telling us about Formula I…sounded like a youth hostel but the cost is unreal…up to three people in a room for 130f plus for 20f per person a continental breakfast. You share baths and showers. You get into the hotel by paying first…there is only an attendant part time. But for $23 who cares…we’re going to make do until Wednesday night if possible. We checked in before leaving the area.
Back in the car and off down the highway to Chartres to see the cathedral famous for the one of a kind cobalt blue glass. Very, very old and only partially restored, but very much in use currently. As you’re driving towards it you suddenly see the cathedral looming in the skyline…the light rain also created a mist to further enhance the spiraling steeples; each different and beautiful in their own way! It was a very cold walk up a narrow passageway from the parking area but well worth it.
Dinner…well, McDonalds what else! Two Big Macs and a chocolate and ferais (strawberry) shake for the big fee of 50f …we saved money by eating outside so we dined in the car! Then back towards Orly and our new abode at Formula I.
Well, Formula I is something else…no one speaks English, the bed left a lot to be desired but we did have a TV. But, all French stations. Finally got up together at 4 am to toddle down the hall to the privy! But, since they were booked solid we HAD to go to a different hotel…Holiday Inn here we come! This was our home when we were in Paris for the rest of our trip.