Richard took us into Paris, and then was going home for a few days off before starting it all over again. We were staying in the Rue Cler area by the Eiffel Tower. It is such a quaint market area with plenty of cafes.
When I went to visit my sister in London years ago, I took the chunnel (Channel Tunnel train) to visit Paris for a day. I was able to visit some of the major sites, and I wanted to see some of the things I missed on the first trip.
We went to check out the Military Museum, which houses antiques to modern equipment. Napoleon is also entombed here. My Dad wanted to see the World War II area, but we found ourselves in the arms and armor section. I thought the armor and weapons were pretty amazing, but we were on a time table. Shortly after, we found the WWII section. I thought it was going to be a better display. It was interesting, but many items were under reflective glass and the lighting wasn’t ideal.
We took the Metro to the Châtelet stop and saw the Hôtel de Ville. We visited the flower market and then came to the Sainte-Chapelle (Holy Chapel). It was the royal chapel inside the Palace grounds. This gothic giant holds the most extensive collection of 13th century stained glass. All the works are bible scenes. The entire chapel was built to hold the king’s collection of passion relics, including the Crown of Thorns.
After a break, we made our way over to Notre-Dame. There was a mass going on at that time, so it was quite weird to be in the tourist line with all the Asian tourists taking pictures during the mass. I was hoping we could be in the middle of the nave to see the Pieta and stained glass, but they were a little busy at the time. I lit several candles and prayed for family members as I did the last time I was here.
We were trekking quickly over to the Latin Quarter. Again, I wanted to stay and soak up Notre-Dame. I asked my dad if he wanted to stay for mass, and he said no. After a Dutch, German and Italian mass, I’m not sure he wanted to listen to a French one.
The group enjoyed the ride with 900 other tourists on this huge boat. I thought high school girls were loud, but the boys on the boat were driving me nuts. I kept thinking I didn’t want to see the inside of a French prison for throwing them overboard. Aside from the kids, the blue hour was delightful seeing the Eiffel Tower at the end. After the cruise, we went closer to the Eiffel Tower and saw it shimmer with its +300 strobe lights. It was beautiful. Then the walk back to the hotel. It was another 11-mile day.
The Latin Quarter had many bistros and was a lively student area due to the 5 universities nearby. The Quarter got it got its name from students speaking Latin, as it was the language of learning in the Middle Ages. Our walking tour ended and we decided to eat there. Crepes sounded good. Dad had a sweet one, and I enjoyed a savory one.
The Orsay was open late that evening, so we headed there. We got there 45 minutes before it closed and we went in without a map. I saw famous paintings and headed that way. I should have bee-lined to the famous Impressionist section upstairs. I’m sorry we missed it.
We got to sleep-in a bit as the bus tour left at 9 am. It was this time of the trip I was missing eggs for breakfast. Actually that was about a week ago. There were hard boiled eggs, but I’m not a big fan.
We had the most delightful Dutch guide for our bus tour. Elizabeth was a treat and has been living in Paris for over 20 years. I was so glad we were able to see so much of the city. I wish it was an all-day, hop-on/hop-off bus.
I thought there would be a guided portion in the Lourve, but we were able to see the things that interested us most. Dick joined us as we went on our way, and I got to play tour guide, telling what I remembered from Art History class. It was fun. Ken joined us after seeing the Mona Lisa. The crowds there were insane as everyone wanted a selfie with Lisa. The four of us grabbed lunch in the cafeteria, and then we went our separate ways.
My Dad was kind enough to humor me by going to the Opera Garnier. We missed the English-speaking tour for the day, so we were on our own. The grand staircase was magnificent. This story of the Phantom of the Opera was set here, and I had been looking forward to seeing it for some time. After seeing the auditorium, I knew I wanted to come back and see a production here. I knew Dad was getting bored, so we headed back to the hotel for some down time.
It soon became time for supper, and this was our last time together as a group. We enjoyed a feast of typical French entrees including escargot, French onion soup (the best I’ve ever had), foie gras, and steak. After supper, Ronda gave Stephanie flowers and a card from the group. I cannot say enough about Stephanie’s patience and kindness over the course of the trip. She was so very considerate to me and my father. You will have a great trip with her as a guide.
Since we were so close, Dick, Dad and I went to the Champ du Mars to see the Eiffel Tower shimmer again. Holy cow (I grew up listening to Harry Caray – Go Cubs!), there was a party going on here. Two guys wanted to sell me bottles of wine. There were so many people here enjoying the view and each other’s company. What an amazing trip!