Friday, September 5, 2014

Trip Report - Our Big Trip - August 11th - Paris - Nobody Here But Us Tourists

A restful night, a good breakfast, and we were ready to hit the streets of Paris. We had gotten word that my luggage had been found and would be forwarded to me in London, since we were leaving Paris the next day. This was a great relief to me!  I had washed my clothes out the night before, and hung them out to dry. In the morning they were mostly dry, but even with the help of the hair dryer, the socks didn't completely dry out. Also, one of the 'souvenir' umbrellas was now held together with a safety pin, so our first order of the day was to get some new socks for me and a sturdier umbrella.

We went to the nearest Metro stop, bought a packet of carnets (transport tickets), and headed to Galeries Lafayette. This domed department store is worth seeing, even if you don't buy anything. I bought a t-shirt/pajama top from Tonic and some new (dry!) socks from Oysho. We also bought an umbrella that looked as if it might last.
Artwork hanging in the dome space
On the top floor of the Galleries there is a lovely viewing area

Map stop


After that we stopped at a cafe to plan the rest of the day. We decided to find out how much of Paris we could see, in a day, by walking and using public transport.

We walked towards Rue de Rivoli, looking at shops, monuments and museums.
A shop window in the Arcades area
near Rue de Rivoli

Outside Gar St-Lazare - a statue
of a tower of suitcases

A chocolate tiger in the window of one of the Patrick Roger
chocolate boutiques near La Madeleine

From Rue de Rivoli we took a bus West on a route paralelling the river, past the Eiffel tower, and got off near the art decco entrance to one of the Metro stops. From there we walked south across the Seine.We stopped for a bite at the restaurant Le Regalia near Pont Mirabeau. We walked along the Seine along the Quai de Grenelle towards the Eiffel Tower, seeing both modern office buildings on the right and antique canal boats on the river to the left.

Line for the Batobus. You can see it is starting to
cloud up.

By the time we got to the base of the Eiffel Tower I was tired. Although I have never been up the Eiffel Tower, I didn't want to wait in the long line, so instead we decided to take the Batobus (hop off and hop on) for a river view of Paris. It was a pleasant cruise, even if it rained a few times (and they can't close the overhead windows while the boat is moving!). Back at the original stop, we decided to take the RER back to the St. Michel stop near Ile St. Louis. Unfortunately, the line was being renovated, so we had to get off after a few stops and take a detour bus to our destination. I was hoping to get to Berthillon, but we hadn't gotten very far when it started to rain - really rain - and we decided to call it a day.

A salad at a small cafe at the end of a long day
Side note: Before the first trip Harry and I took to Paris together, I  spent some time with a large paper map of Paris and some colored pencils, drawing in the lines from "suggested walking tours" from the pages of Fodor's, Frommer's, Rick Steves, and Eyewitness Travel*. I didn't want to miss anything. What I ended up with was a large map with a spaghetti tangle of lines around some areas, but over 99% of the rest of Paris was untouched. Harlan Ellison once wrote a short story entitled "The Outpost Undiscovered by Tourists", and I like to take short jaunts into this blank area sometimes. We also like to visit supermarkets, street markets, and the less touristy flea markets when we get the chance.

*I especially recommend Eyewitness Travel Guide to Paris. It has great photos and maps (including a guide to the Metro.).

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