Paris, at last!

Pretty lazy day. I finally started moving around about 8:30/9:00 a.m., toddling on down to a nearby pharmacie for some hydrogen peroxide for Mary and some facial lotion for me. At Heathrow, we all went through security to get into Britain (no passport stamp though, the customs guy just looked at the passport), and the bottle my lotion was in was too big. Didn’t matter that it was less than a quarter full, the bottle was too big. Hmph! And I thought TSA was picky… 

So after that little errand was attended to, I kept walking and stopped at a cafe for a teeny tiny cup of coffee and a croissant. A real French croissant!! Tasted just like croissants in the U.S. Verrry disappointing! The coffee was very strong, and I’m guessing that sleep is still a ways away for me (I’m writing this at 11:45 p.m.). I knew better, but it tasted so good, and decaf just doesn’t seem to be in the French vocabulary. 

Here are the photos from the day:

Mary was up and ready when I got back, so I took my turn in the shower and once I was dressed, off we went. We took the bus down to the Gare Austerlitz where we caught the sightseeing bus, L’Open Tour. Thirty six euros for two days, which seemed like a great deal at the time. We started on the blue line, switching to the green line so we could stop at the Musee d’Orsay. A friend in Bethel recommended stopping there as it is smaller than the Louvre and has some wonderful artists. We had lunch at Les Deux Musees, a nice little restaurant next to the museum, then purchased tickets at a kiosk on our way back to the museum.

The pre-purchased tickets saved us quite a wait at the museum, so we were both glad we did that. We also had to pass through a security check, which looked like it had been implemented before the attack on Paris, the equipment didn’t look that new.

The Musee d’Orsay is a lovely building, and huge. The central atrium is surrounded by 4 floors of artwork. No, I didn’t view all of it! Van Gogh, Gaugin, Signat on the second floor; some gorgeous furniture and home furnishings; statues, statues, statues… One small one in particular that I enjoyed (unfortunately I didn’t pay attention to the artist’s name) was of a knight leap frogging over a monk. Too hilarious and yet extremely detailed and accurate (except how could a knight leapfrog anything, let alone a monk, with all that armor on?), and very lifelike, inspite of the small size (roughly 24 inches high). There are some really nice pieces of artwork and I really should have had more patience and spent more time there. Possibly the early morning coffee had something to do with the lack of patience? As well as the crowd of people. I thought this museum would be much quieter. Whatever, I still enjoyed it. 

We continued our bus tour, and yes, it was pretty awesome. The bus went down the Champs Elysees (sorry, I don’t know how to put the diacritical marks in) and I forgot to mention that the bus is a double decker, so the top is roofless, which means you can see everything and it is totally awesome to look down and see that the bus is just inches from scraping the side of some car. Anyway. It was somehow anticlimactic to see the Champs Elysees, it’s just another street in Paris with the Arc D’Triomphe at the end of it. But it’s the Champs Elysees! And the Arc d’Triomphe! So it was pretty cool. There’s sort of a street fair on either side of the street at the beginning; then there’s this major shopping district with all the big names, and finally you get to the Arc d’Triomphe. Huge, it is huge! The cars and the people look like little toys next to it. 

Ten minutes later, I caught my first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. It looks like a giant Erector set. Except for, yeah, again, that danged thing is huge! And it’s the Eiffel Tower! Being afraid of heights I had no desire to get to the top of it, elevator or no elevator, but it was still very cool to see the real thing. There’s a huge park at one side of it, which we did not take time to explore, including a small dog park. Beautifully landscaped (the dog park, I mean), fully enclosed, but awfully small. Okay, the park around the tower is beautiful too! And I saw two equestrian police officers, which made me wish we’d gotten off the bus so I could pet them. Oh, if that ain’t silly! Ah well, pretty horses and nicely turned out they were!

We rode back around (the bus, not the horses), going past the Champs Elysees this time, so Mary could stop at the tour bus main office and upgrade her ticket so we could ride again tomorrow. Even though it’s expensive, you get a fast shot at seeing a lot of Paris. You could do the same thing on public buses, but it would take you forever plus you’d be tearing your hair out trying to catch all the right buses. Why go through all the stress? While she did that, I rummaged through a couple department stores to see if I could find something to tame my hair, and keep it from getting windswept all over my face. I mostly gave up worrying about it, except for when I was trying to photograph something. I could always get the scissors out!

We switched to the yellow line, which I found frustrating because now we were sitting in rush hour traffic. Like I spent all this time & money and I’m stuck in traffic? In Paris? Don’t they know we’re on vacation?? Okay, it wasn’t that bad! We decided to jump off and head home when we got close to the Gare du Nord; by this time it’s about 5 p.m. Stomachs are starting to rumble and Mary was starting to fade. 

While she took a brief nap, I decided to go for a walk around our neighborhood and scout out a place for dinner. Hit the jackpot on this walk-I not only got a new Sim card for my phone (so I can text-aka bug!-my dogsitter, and use the maps), I found a small shoulder bag I really like (just need to make sure the iPad fits), and an Italian restaurant for Mary. Score! I picked up Mary and we headed out for dinner. Our waiter was a kick in the pants; so young and cute! A real charmer. And awesome food, again. Can’t wait to see what we get tomorrow night! 

And that is it for today. Mary’s fast asleep and I’m almost ready to quit. Will load photos and add the link tomorrow; the internet is just too slow right now.


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