Saturday, May 26, 2012
Didn’t leave the hotel until 9 am and we were still early for the opening of the Arc de Triomphe…10 am. We used the extra time to walk several blocks to the Parc Monceau; a beautiful park in the middle of very expensive homes. This morning it was full of joggers and people doing their exercises on the lawns. By the time we walked there it was time to walk back and we arrived just at the opening. Our Museum Pass took us past the lines and directly to the staircase. The elevator is not in service so we climbed up and down the 283 for a total of 566 steps! But worth all the effort; it’s always fun to see the views from up high.
We took Rick Steves’ walking tour down the Champs Elysees; enjoying the car stores and especially the Gallerie with the Belle Epoc décor that has a Starbucks in the middle. Terry found a miniature model of the Peugeot car that we rented at the Peugeot Showroom; so he purchased a car for cash on the Champs Elysees!
Walked all the way to the Plac de la Concorde where Terry found his family name on the placque on the obelisk…see the photo in the slideshow. That was a real plus. Then on to the Musee Orangerie for viewing of the famous Monet Lily Pad Gardens that were painted at Giverny. Another thing that’s changed…we were not allowed to take photos inside! So sad as we always enjoyed doing that in front of those famous paintings. There were also many Monet’s are other impressionistic paintings in the lower level of the Musee.
Across the Seine river to the left bank and the Musee Orsay; a wonderful musee in an old train station. Our Museum Pass again lead us past the lines and we enjoyed lunch in the café before heading up to the fifth floor to the Impressions paintings.
As we were leaving we had an opportunity to step out on the roof and get a photo of Sacra Coeur in the distance and again through the clock tower from inside the building. Fun photos.
Terry and Linda have both come down with colds…we’re taking lots of Vitamin C and hopefully will not pick up the bug. Hopefully we’ll all be healthy when we leave Paris next week. I spoke this afternoon with our Paris friends, Nicolas & Maeliss; they are making reservations for all of us tomorrow for dinner in Paris. Hoping that Terry & Linda feel well enough for dinner. Based on tonight they probably will be okay.
Jim returned from Musee Orsay about 5 pm…he spent an extra three hours there on his own. By 6 pm we were changed and met Terry & Linda in the lobby for our dinner plans. We took the Metro back to the Champs Elysees and had a wonderful dinner at Chez Clement. We were just a block away from the Arc de Triomphe and the people watching opportunities were fantastic. I had a special dessert called an “island”; a large meringue drizzled with caramel sitting in the middle of a sweet sauce….Jim and I shared it at the end of our delicious dinner.
After dinner we all headed back towards the hotel on the Metro. Terry & Linda went back to the hotel and Jim and I headed for Notre Dame to check on Mass times for Sunday morning. Along the way we stopped and watched a street performer who got the whole crowd involved. And then we stopped at a store to check on a request from one of the children. We also checked out the elevator that we found that goes down to the RER Station!!! Wow…an easy way to get luggage down we think.
It was 9 pm when we arrived and found a parade of priests…including the Cardinal….heading into Notre Dame. We had accidentally stumbled into Confirmation for the Archdioceses of Notre Dame. There was not a seat to be had! There had to be about two hundred people being confirmed. We managed to get inside and then a lovely French family offered me their little girl’s seat as she was constantly moving from one lap to another. Jim used a corner of a pillar as a seat. We stayed for the whole service that finally ended just after 11 pm.
A serendipity experience as you may remember we stared our trip during Easter Week…celebrating Good Friday in Notre Dame and ended our journey the week of Pentecost and witnessed the celebration of Christians being confirmed into the church. WOW!
It’s after midnight and the crowds are still eating, drinking and singing outside! Paris never seems to sleep. Tomorrow’s another day so I’m going to close this and post my blog.