Well, for better or worse we’re home (and actually have been since Wednesday night). Oliver did really well on the two (FULL!) flights and the layover in (HUMID!) Boston, to the point that we got comments from a few passengers and a flight attendant about how impressed they were with him. Go Oliver!
Then the first night, after sleeping about 5 hours on the plane, he slept until almost 8am with only a little help from Daddy and Papa (meaning we went in and slept with him until we got tired of him digging his toenails into our backs!). He had a couple of rough night but now is back on schedule! Go Oliver!
I’ve been having some post-vacation blues. I guess it’s never fun coming back from vacation and I have absolutely no right to feel down after 1) having been gone A MONTH! and 2) having had SUCH an amazing time. But I am, so there is it. But as the t-shirt I saw in France says, “C’est la vie, ca va passer!” (That’s life, it’ll pass!).
So to keep the love alive, I’m going to recount my second-to-the-last day in France. When I took to the streets of Paris. Alone! With only my camera, my iPhone, a tourist map of Paris, and my less-then-perfect ability to speak French.
On Monday morning Sylvie took me to the train station in Juvisy for the 20-minute train ride into Paris. I arrived at Église Saint Eustache which is near the Orsay Museum on the map above (the only simplified map I could find of the monuments in Paris).
It was then that I took out my camera to snap a photo of L’ecoute, that I realized that my camera wasn’t working. Odd, as I had just charged the battery the night before. Hmmm, maybe I had the battery in wrong. So I open my camera only to realize that I hadn’t put the battery back in! So all of the photos from the day were shot using my new iPhone. Luckily it takes pretty good photos!
Oh well, what could I do? I wasn’t about to turn around, so I made the most of it anyway.
After a couple of shots (there are more photos in my Flickr) of St. Eustache, I rented a bike to make my way to the Louvre. Paris has an incredible system of bike rentals with stations all over the city, making it very easy to get around.
And clearly marked bike paths that make it easy to navigate the city.
First stop: Arc de Triomphe du Carousel.
TThen I turned around and got a bad shot of the Louvre.
Then I began making my way through the Jardin des Tuileries on my bike and stopped to say ‘bonjour’ to Julius Cesar’s statue.
I was about halfway through the garden when a gendarme (French police) flagged me down and told me that I couldn’t ride my bike through the garden (which was really wide and covered with a fine gravel! Who knew?!). So I pushed my bike through half of the (VERY LARGE!) garden and finally made my way to Place de la Concorde.
Then I made my way along the Seine toward the Trocadero and the Eiffel Tower.
I rode past the Eiffel Tower to the Flame of Liberty, an exact replica of the flame the Statue of Liberty holds, which is located above the entrance to the tunnel where Princess Diana died.
Then, I was off to the French Statue of Liberty, located at the tip of a narrow island on the Seine. It’s a smaller replica of our Statue of Liberty.
Then finally, I crossed the Seine (so now I’m on the south side) and made my way back up the river to the Eiffel Tower.
By then it was lunch time and I had worked up quite an appetite, so I turned in my bike and made my way to a restaurant for a lunch of pate, beef steak and fries, and creme caramel. YUM!
After lunch I did a bit of walking around in the area surrounding the Eiffel Tower before hopping on another bike to make my way to Montematre and the Sacre-Coeur (actually I wanted to get to a huge fabric store that was located across the street from the Sacre-Coeur, but figured I might as well stop while I was in the neighborhood!).
On the way I ended up on the Champs-Elysees where I looked over my shoulder to see the Arc de Triomphe.
After a good hour of zig-zagging my way through the streets of Paris (mostly uphill!), I found a bike station to return my bike and made the final climb to Sacre-Coeur on foot.
I’m glad I stopped because it’s really breath-taking!
After a short diversion in Tissue Reine (Fabric Queen), where I found fabric for window treatments for our house!, I walked down to the Pigale, a formerly seedy neighborhood in Paris known for it’s sex shops, peep shows, and cabarets, including the Moulin Rouge.
I spent a bit of time making my way to Montematre Cemetary, where I found this incredible tomb that was dated 1829!
And another that I thought was just very interesting.
And finally to the tomb of Dalida, an Egyptian Italian singer who was huge in the gay community and who actually died on my birthday in 1987 (the year I graduated from high school!).
By this time it was getting late and I was tired. So I called Hubby to tell him I would hop on a bike and make my way back to the Metro station where I arrived to take the train back to the burbs.
Remember how I said there were bike stations all over Paris? And that they were always full of bikes?
It seems it’s rather like police officers: when you don’t need one, they’re everywhere but when you’re looking for one, you can’t find any!
I passed no less than 4 stations (when I could find them) that were EMPTY! No bikes! NADA!
So I ended up walking a good part of the way from Montematre back to where I needed to take the train. Then the train I needed to take was out of service, so I had to wait for a bus to take me to Gare d’Austerlitz where I finally got the train I needed.
And of course, just to make my trip memorable, I ended up getting a little lost in the train station in Juvisy (near Sylvie’s house) and ended up on the wrong side of the tracks! By the time I found Sylvie waiting for me in her car, I swear I couldn’t have taken another step!
But it was a really enjoyable day, filled with lots of fun and excitement. I’m so glad I did it!