This morning was our final morning at the hotel so we had to pack our bags and get them loaded onto the bus before heading off to spend our final moments in Paris.
We drove through the La Defense area of Paris. This area looked a lot different from the Paris that we had previously seen. The buildings were more modern and taller. It's the office high-rise district. We also went through several tunnels (which the city has a lot of). I heard the guide mention Princess Diana's name. I forgot to ask Simon if he had stated that we'd gone through the tunnel in which she was killed in the car accident.
We contintued and finally our bus driver dropped us off at a bridge over the River Seine. The majority of the group headed off for the boat cruise down the river. Simon and I opted out and went our own way, once again. (We're such non-conformists = )).
But, oh, how badly I wanted to go in to see the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo, among others. But there was not enough time. Well, it only means I must visit Paris again. That's all there is to it.
The morning air was crisp and cool. Perfect. We made our way to the Louvre where people were already starting to make their way to as well. It was so beautiful, so grand. I thought of Tom Hanks racing around it in the movie the Da Vinci Code. The pyramid is spectacular.
On the way back, we stopped at a snack bar owned by Turkish vendors. I had a "beef" hot dog stuffed in bread. Mmmm...mmmm...
Back at the stop, the bus took our group to Montmartre. This time we walked up the hill leading to the steep "la butte." We paid to take the tram to the top, as did many. No way could we have walked. Once we were there we looked down at the picturesque view of the city of Paris. Breathtaking. We continued our climb up to the church. Since it was Sunday morning, church services were going on at the Basilique du Sacré Coeur. It's amazing how services still go on with so many tourists lining up to go through. But it happens. You're not allowed to take pictures inside though. But many tried and we're rebuked. We sat a while before continuing on to the village.
All I can say is that it is very beautiful. Like many other areas of Paris, though, it was filled with aggressive sketch artists and pushers of souvenirs. Sometimes they really can take the joy out of visiting a place. Every few feet they are there to virtually beg for you to purchase something or take a look at one of their schemes. They've got a right to do so, but many take it too far. I was ready to go soon after.
Later we stopped at a souvenir shop where I thought I had done a good job at pointing out an overcharge to the Turkish clerk. He apologetically gave me back a Euro. Later, I looked closely at the receipt and saw where he had overcharged me on a couple of other items too. From what I read it happens a lot, that's why I'd been so careful to count my Euro change and to make sure I was not overcharged. This one got by me. I'm sure he was happy to get a few extra bucks from a stupid American.
Finally, we boarded the bus and said our final goodbye Paris. I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed the visit. Superb! Par-ee.