On to Paris!

On Wednesday morning we took the ICE train ( fast train) into Paris. We left a little after 8:00 and arrived in Paris at 10:00.  The train is great because a four hour car trip becomes a two hour comfortable train ride.
We took a taxi to our hotel which was in the Latin Quarter. It’s a great area of Paris – right near the Sorbonne. It’s lively. The hotel was perfect for us. We had one room for three women and one for two men. The elevator was just like in the movies of hotels in Paris.
We made the most of our time. We started with a bus tour so we could see the whole city and all the major sites – at least from a bus. It was sunny and hot, so the bus ride felt good.
After the ride we went back and saw the Notre Dame. It is incredibly lovely and a gathering place for people from all over the world. We sat in the pews for a little while and took it all in.
Our next site was walking to the Louvre. We didn’t go in, but continued walking through the Tuileries Garden. At the opposite end of the gardens from the Louvre is a smaller art museum called L’Orangerie. There are Picassos, Renoirs, and huge murals by Monet of his water lilies.
Next we took a bus to the Eiffel Tower area. After dinner in a cafe, we walked over to the Eiffel Tower. It was so crowded and hot. We had planned to go on the elevator up to the second level, but one side was closed so the line snaked around forever. We decided we’d just look at it. Jerry, though, decided to climb the steps to the second level. We couldn’t believe it. The rest of us had legs like noodles and off Jerry went! It’s a lot of steps. He made it up to the second level and it’s high! While he was climbing we found another cafe to sit and rest and wait for the lights to come on. Jerry got back and we walked toward the Eiffel Tower to see the lights that begin flashing all over at 9:00. They flash right on the hour for five minutes after dark. It’s exciting!
Then all worn out we found the Metro station (subway) nearby and took the Metro back to the Latin Quater. Marla Jean has an incredible internal compass and she got us back to our hotel on a small side street. Amazing.
We all slept well and let ourselves sleep until about 8:00. After a light breakfast which we had at the hotel, we headed out for more exploring. We didn’t have much on our agenda. We walked along and went in shops. We scouted out places for lunch. Then we walked to Sainte Chapell. It’s not far from the Notre Dame and has incredible stained glass windows. Two thirds are still original and were created between 1242 and 1248. They are incredibly lovely.
After our visit to Sainte Chapell we found a cafe for lunch. We studied the Plats du Jour on placards in front of the various restaurants. The Plats usually offer three choices – an entree, a plat and a dessert. You can choose one item from each group. They are usually good and inexpensive.
We spent the afternoon walking around in the Latin Quater and then headed to the really wonderful Luxembourg Garden. Here on a warm, sunny Thursday afternoon were many, many people sitting in the sun and shade reading, resting, walking, visiting. We found five chairs and enjoyed watching people walk by. People watching in Paris is a fabulous activity. We did it often. The garden is huge and beautiful. We loved it.
Then it was time to get back to our hotel. Once we were close we did one last cafe stop until we needed to get our bags and head back to the train station.
We got to the train station quickly and had time to look at the shops there and walk around. Chuck noticed a man following Jerry. Then a woman joined him. When Jerry and Marla Jean went to get an ice cream cone the man and woman went right in behind them. There was a glass wall behind the suspicious couple. We could watch really carefully. Jerry and Marla Jean didn’t know we were worried. The man stood right behind Jerry and kept looking at his case. We were watching like hawks. I think they sensed all that and suddenly Jerry and Marla Jean came out and the couple just disappeared. We were relieved. Good job, Chuck for alerting us all!
We rode the train back and were pretty exhausted. But I think everyone had fun.

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