We arrived in Paris yesterday after taking the high speed train from London. I haven’t been here for many years and had prepared myself for drastic changes. There are obviously more tourists but it really seems essentially the same. I’m so happy to be here.
A last I am in Paris! We are in a comfortable hotel in the Gare de Lyon. Mastering the transportation system is high on my list. The staff in the metro are eternally patient with my poor French. So far we have not made any wrong turns. This metro system is the best that I have see in my travels and a delight to use. Love the German band serenading as we stepped onto a train today. Oh, Seattle, why weren't we more progressive and earlier with mass transit? We started out this morning with a Croissant and coffee in the cafe down the way, then off to the D Orsay to visit the Impressionist and post Impressionist paintings. I thought that I went for the Impressionist but what really grabbed me were the Degas bronzes, especially the Dancer. I've never seen anything so graceful and full of impishness energy.
In the afternoon we took a leisurely boat ride down the Seine and saw the destruction of Notre Dame Cathedral. Very sad to see the destruction and I imagine that we'll see it more up close tomorrow. Tonight we set out for Montmarte to visit Sacre-Coeur Basilica. Lovely and imbued with religious art. I particularly enjoyed a young man playing music on the steps, Lennon's"Imagine" and REM's "losing my religion". Really lovely with the night sky overlooking the city. Lot's of walking today on cobblestone and down narrow streets with lovely architecture. Time for a glass of wine and sleep. Tomorrow we visit the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre.
It’s been a 16,021-step day today and we aren’t totally finished yet, though we are in our room and we all have our shoes OFF! We covered a lot of ground today—the d’Orsay Museum, a boat ride in the Seine which took us by poor Notre Dame and many other sites. I had my first view of the Eiffel Tower, impressive even from a distance. Paris is a huge city. I had no real concept of how huge the city is until we went to beautiful Sacre Coeur basilica which is situated on a hill overlooking the city. Incredible view, beautiful church. We were going to climb up to the dome but were too late and it was closed for the day. After coming out of the church there were hundreds of people sitting on the steps leading up to the basilica and there was a singer. He surprisingly sang some familiar old American songs (one was La Bomba—yes, kind of strange setting for it, but somehow it worked), some people sang along with him, we sat on the steps looking out at the city, the night was beautiful and pleasantly warm, the city was spread out below—it was pretty magical.
I love the mansard roofs and all the individual chimneys on top of the old and beautiful buildings. At one time the chimney sweeps must have been kept very busy.
Peggy and Barb have become quite expert on the Paris underground Metro. I do not let them out of my sight as it’s all still beyond me! We’ve had a few good learning experiences! My goodness, what a difference a system like this would make to Seattle’s traffic mess. People have been very nice and we’ve been enjoying French vin rose every day! YES, French croissants here ARE special, as are the flan, the apple binets, and I’m pretty sure the pastry we have tomorrow will be as well!
And, we were all so happy to hear from Jan and Rick that they were basking in the Madrid sunshine after a loooong day of traveling—and 8-hour layover in Texas! Looking forward to hearing about their adventures!
Tomorrow, look out Spain, here we come! Buon nuit all ~ Lorraine