Saturday, April 13, 1996 Paris, France
Jim and I got up early and went to the church about 8 am, arriving in time for Mass. It was held up in the front part of the church which you generally can’t get into giving us another unique experience. After mass we spent some time in the Cathedral reading about the history posted on bulletin boards. Saw one relic and later found out that it is supposed to be cloth that was worn by the Virgin Mary.
We walked back to the hotel slowly, stopping to purchase postcards and two books, one on Chartres and another on the Chateaux of the Loire Valley for a client who is also my granddaughter's school teacher. They are doing a lesson on castles. Barbara was ready when we returned. We had the hotel call the three hotels on Ile Saint-Louis in Paris, but none of them had two rooms available. Then we drove to the Best Western in town (where we’d considered rooms the night before) and asked them to call the Best Western in Paris and make reservations for us. They didn’t have room, but recommended another hotel around the corner with the same type rooms and price, called the Hotel Saint-Philippe. We were trying to get one near the Arc De Triompre Etoile. No charge for the service and Jim was able to get gas while we did it.
On the road about 10 am and it's nice to know we have reservations in Paris being it is the weekend. Now all we have to do if find it! Arrived in Paris about 11 am and drove the complete circle as they’d given us instructions to turn off on “Toiller” and we couldn’t find it. However, we did find one called “Moiller”….finally had Jim look at the word and their “T” is an “M”. So, we got to do the whole circle or perimeter of Paris! Off on Ponte Moiller and headed towards the Arc De Triompre Etoile! There we had another hassle looking for Freidmann. But we found it!
By this time Jim needed a WC badly so we stopped at one of those on the street booths. Couldn’t make it work….so he used the one at the restaurant where I asked for directions to the street that we were looking for! Back in the car we found the hotel in short order! A very lovely hotel. Apparently it was a Best Western up until just recently. Unloaded, Jim took the car to an underground parking garage. Then off we went to learn about using the Metro (Subway) on our way to Barbara’s China and Silverware store.
Arrived in the area and stopped for lunch at a very crowded McDonalds. Managed to sit with a very nice French boy who spoke excellent English. He’d learned it in school. We’ve found that in Europe, everyone seats themselves even at your better restaurants (there are a few exceptions) and people think nothing of sharing tables with strangers when the place is full. Arrived at the China store and it was closed for a two hour lunch from noon to two. It was about 1:30 at the time. Jim kept looking and found a store that was open. The whole street was full of China stores. Delightful clerks and Barbara was able to purchase the China, Silverware and also a beautiful cherub angel for Diana made by Baracarat that she was looking for.
Back to the Metro, we headed for the Eiffel Tower for my climb. Barbara elected to wait below while Jim and I made the climb. I seem to be coming down with the sniffles. Jim is still feeling under par but Barbara is definitely on the mend. Climbed to the second level and then caught the elevator (which was closed in 1992 due to the rain) to the top. Views were wonderful even though the weather was overcast and you couldn’t see too far. Back down, we found the WC, got a coke and started back for the Metro. Barbara was reading her book while waiting and had found a store that deals in Antique Posters on Rue de Seine.
So off we went to find that store. Got to the area just fine by Metro. But I read the map and took everybody several blocks in the wrong direction. Barbara finally asked a policeman and he sent us back in the other direction. We stopped again for directions and they said we were headed in the right direction….finally found the street and then the challenge was to find the store, we had the street number but they didn’t run in order. But, we kept at it and finally found it after making our way through the local produce open air market. Lots of little art shops in the area. This one had been there forty years. Nice clerk who was eight months pregnant and Barbara found a great one with a Crow and a Large Champagne Glass.
We then headed toward the river, we were almost there already, and Ile Saint-Louis, the small island behind Norte Dame Cathedral. Went into the Hotel du Palma, where Jim and I first stayed in 1992. Barbara picked up a brochure. Some day she wants to stay there when in Paris. Walked down the street and had dinner at a very small Crepe Shop. Wonderful food, but Jim and I both felt terrible, the smoke was thick and the waiter (who we also think was the owner and the wife was the cook) forgot to serve Jim’s beer …but put it on the bill and totally forgot Barbara’s salad. I said they should hire a woman to waitress for them.
Went to the Metro, everyone was tired and short tempered and each trying to make the decisions on which Metro train to take. Jim told Barbara and I to “Shutup” which went over like a lead balloon! We ended up on the wrong train and had to get off and get back on going the other way. That quieted all of us down and we managed to get to the Arc de Triomphe Etoile and found the public drugstore which was the only place open to buy medicine for the colds. We walked back to the hotel from the Arc de Triomphe Etoile; which was good for all of us. Home about 11 pm. Beds are great and the rooms are very nice. No shower curtains but we each have a tub with a shower. I definitely have a head cold now, but not nearly as bad as Jim and Barbara’s. I started taking the cold medicine (powdered medicine plus Actifed tablets) which works like Sudfed the Pharmacist said. I also increased my daily dose of powdered Vitamin C and continued with the daily dose of two multiple vitamins that I've been taking on the whole trip.