Sunday, October 8, 2006

Adieu Parie

Our last night in Paris...after a rough start (getting so twisted around that first night while walking to and from the tourist office), we've fallen in love with the city and are sad to leave tomorrow.

We overslept yesterday and decided to not go to another museum (thereby avoiding the long queques). Instead, we walked to Notre Dame, which was truly impressive. Unfortunately, the lines were too long for our patience levels to actually get in to the Cathedral, but we did spend a lot of time outside on the grounds taking lots of pictures and taking in the beauty of the Seine, the buildings and people watching. It is very interesting to evasedrop here. Not that we could decipher many conversations -- English is rare and mostly spoken by Brits and Irish. Spanish, Russian, Italian, Polish and, of course, French conversations surround us every where we go. It is really interesting to us to listen and observe.

The day was beautiful -- partly cloudy and in the 60's -- so we decided to take the
"short cut" to the Effel Tower. I don't care what any guide book tells you, Paris is very walkable and you do a lot of walking because if you aren't familiar with the city, you get lost -- A LOT. We were very happy, however, to see that we were not the only tourists (of any language type) that had to pull the map out about a dozen times.

Our walk took us through many different areas, all with their own charm. We went through chic shopping areas to lovely residential to interesting business centres.

Finally we got to the grounds of the Tower. Wow! Beautiful park and then the Tower itself -- really very impressive. By the time we got there, the sun was beginning to set and the crowds of people had "thinned", meaning the lines to go to the top of the Tower averaged only 1-plus hours, so again, we skipped it. We sat underneath the Tower and took in the crowds, which included our first (and only so far) encounter with the infamous gypsies.

A number of tiny Bosnian women scan the crowds and go up to anyone they think speak English. One approached us and asked if we spoke English. Foolish me said "yes" and she held up a piece of paper with a bunch of stuff scribbled on it. Immediately, my hand went to my purse and I told her "No". She backed away pretty quick. We were approached again twice by other women using the same m.o.. Each time the woman asked us about English, we said "no". That pretty much took care of the problem.

After the Effel Tower, we went back to the Arc d'Triomphe and went up to the top Observation Platform (no line to get to that...). It was after dark and the view was unbelievable. We took lots of photos, including a couple of us complete with the full Parisian moon above us.

We took the Metro back to our neighborhood and had a nice relaxing dinner at a cafe. Great day.

Today, I made sure to get up early so we could hit the markets that are a block from our apartment. We bought a rosted chicken, fresh bread, fresh Gouda and Brie cheeses, some fruit and cherry tomatoes, which we had for dinner at the apartment tonight. It was great fun to shop at all the little markets and to be able to pick out such fresh and flavorful products.

I almost hate to admit this, because we are loving the espressos that we have every day, but I also found a Starbucks and got one of my beloved Venti coffees. That, honestly, was terrific. (Dori, if you are reading this post, I'm wondering if the 1-800 Starbucks locator works in Europe too (LOL))

We did get to Musee Dorsee today and the Impressionist art was wonderful. I liked Van Gogh and Monet the best. I was also able to "payback" Hubby a little bit for making me spend hours at the Louve looking at all that Egyptian stuff. He is not that hot on the Impressionist movement but he was a trooper and hung in there with me.

After the museum, we spent a long time in the gardens outside the Louvre just people watching and taking it all in. We stopped at a Cafe along the way home for a leisurely and delicious lunch and then sat out in the square near our apartment.

All in all, another great day in Paris.

We leave tomorrow afternoon for Switzerland.

We miss some of our routine, certainly our friends, family and cats (and, of course, our giant cups of coffee) but we are both really having a great time on our trip.


Wanna-be 5k-er said...

I am living through you, I love Paris with all my heart! Love the Louvre (yes, the Egyptian stuff), love the Musee d'Orsee (impressionism, wow), love the twinkly Eiffel Tower...I could go on. Glad you got the post this while you were still there and it was fresh in your mind!'

Safe travels!

Marcia L. said...

I love your blog! Again, can't wait to get to Paris in 3 days! Thanks for the warning re the Bosnian women.

Enjoy the rest of your travels!

Dori said...

Great post! You really described it well. Paris is one of my favorite cities and I fantasize about living there. The long lines kept me from going up the Eifel Tower, too. I would have climbed the Arc de Triomphe, but I didn't have time. Oh well, I'll just have to go back. Maybe we should run the Paris Marathon together. :-)