Monday, September 2, 2013

Serendipity Day in Paris

Out the door by 10 am we had a long list of chores that we wanted to do today.  Our first stop was at the Paris Rental Service that we have our reservations with for both the last part of September and also December.  I wanted to meet them personally and also finalize some of our move in and out plans.  So glad we had cell phones as we needed to call them when we reached their gate so that they could buzz us in to the office.
From there we continued east to find the hotel that our friends Barbara and John will be staying at for a few days; they arrive tomorrow and will start their French adventure with friends after a few days in Paris.  Along the way we stopped at the Eglise Saint-Etiene du Mont where the “Midnight in Paris” movie scenes were shot.  The church was closed but we’ll try to go back tomorrow around noon when they have a mass.  We located our friend’s hotel and left them a welcome to Paris note.
Continuing on we stopped at the Shakespeare and Company building to check out the old hotel that only has eighteen rooms…some with a view of Notre Dame and is in the same building.  Maybe someday we’ll be lucky enough to get a room in this delightful old charmer!
Stopped along the way to check out “flip flop” shoes for our daughter-in-law; she purchased a pair in 2010 and has worn them out!  Then took another look at Notre Dame from the left bank of the river before continuing on down along the Seine; sometimes up above and sometimes down along the river on the quai. 
We reach the Pont de Arts and again searched for our lock.  No luck…just too many of them but it’s fun to look.  They are so deep and convoluted we finally gave up again.  We noticed that someone took spray paint and painted over a large section; so graffiti on top of graffiti!  They have the locks on the lampposts and just everywhere.  At some point the city will have to do something as they are also beginning to put them on two other bridges.
Soon we were off to find our apartment that we have rented for a month in December/January.  We love the location; the area is full of art galleries.   We are on the left bank across from the Louvre Museum. 
We then walked to the Musee d’Orsey where we went to purchase tickets for a ride on the Batobus….yes a bus on the river that makes stops at eight stations between the Eiffel Tower and the Gare d’Austerlitz.  We decided to buy the annual pass that is 50% off since it’s half gone and only 35 euros; good until January 2nd.  It only makes sense since we’ll be here in December also.  It would have been 15 euros for one day.  Boarded the boat and rode all the way to the Gare d’Austerlitz stop.
We walked over the bridge to the Gare de Lyon Station on the right bank as we had several items to take care of there.  First of all we went to the Metro and purchased a NAVIGO Pass that is good for ten years…then you refill it once a week for twenty euros and you can ride all the Metro trains and buses within central Paris.  We’ve already made seven trips by the end of today!  It will be well used now and in December/January.  Fortunately I’d planned ahead and had brought two small photos with us that fit perfectly on each of the two passes we’d purchased today.  Both require a photo to be permanently attached to be valid.   I had researched the Navigo Pass online and the Batobus card required the same size photo.  I’d brought two for insurance not realizing I’d need both of them!  And, they had to be about one inch square.
Next I went to the Reservation Desk to find out the information for purchasing the overnight train tickets for our trip to Italy at the end of the month.  Only 120 euros each for a four bed couchette coach from Paris to Florence.  It leaves at 5:45 pm and arrives in Florence at Campo Marte Station at 7:12 am.  Then we’ll get a bus to Siena.
In the meantime, Jim located the Luggage Storage area just in case we are unable to store our luggage for the day elsewhere between checkout and the time for the train.  This was not easy and was the hardest job today; but he finally located in down three flights of stairs. Not cheap but good to know that it is there.
We found the Metro and took a train to George V Station on the Champs de Elysees to check out new movies at the Lido Theatre…nothing looked good so back on the Metro and home for some grocery shopping and then dinner at the apartment.  It was 5 pm and we were starving!
After dinner we took the Metro back to the Batobus and rode all the way to the Eiffel Tower and back; enjoying the night lights just before we arrived back at our home dock.  There we saw that the dancing had begun at the four pavilions that are designed for this along the river.  There was one doing the tango…and some were very good; another was Salsa and then a third was busy with swing.  We didn’t have the right kind of shoes so only watched but may go back another night prepared to enjoy the dancing!
Home by Metro and it was after 10 pm before we arrived.  Another late evening.  I think we are going to take a day off tomorrow!
Hope you enjoy the slideshow: 

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