Day 101 – Last Day in Paris and Farewell to the Kevin Kaisers

Got up and Kevin cooked a lovely breakfast for all.  We had a grand discussion while he cooked. Then we took some pictures of Kevin putting the star on their Christmas tree. Really fun to see how much Kevin enjoyed Christmas and decorating etc. Lovely really and we talked over the weekend about having Christmas in Canada one of these years.  it would be fun being down at the lake and up at the school house with Christmas trees and decorations making it all a very festive time and being with the extended family.

We then all got in the car and headed for Paris.  The Kaisers were going to see Hunger Games and then meeting up with Ian and Margie who had arrived in Paris in the morning.  We got on the bus to Charles De Gaulle airport.  We had time to get a cup of coffee and a sweet and then we headed onto the plane. It was a good flight and the plus ride back was pleasant. We both read.

It was raining when we arrived back in Galway but we walked back anyway. Right, It rains in Galway so why change our behavior. It was nice being back.  We had sandwiches in the apt for dinner and a couple of glasses of wine while watching Inspector Lewis.

Thoughts about Paris, There seems to be at strong negative attitude towards english speakers. Also driving out to the airport I saw so much garbage thrown around the roadways. it was shocking. It appears a lack of pride in their environment. Was wondering if the junk which was so much came from the Roma’s.  Yet in the downtown area it was lovely and welcoming.  I loved the architecture.  The food was good, the bread of course was yummy although I found I could not eat too much without upsetting my stomach. I want to come back and go to more of the museums. The apt we rented had great views, was inexpensive and near to subways and of course the Tour Eiffel.  Basically a great city to visit with so much to see.

PIctures of our last day in Paris and views from the bus as we went to the airport.

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Day 99 – Happy smiles, chills and yummies

Well, even with being a sleep by 10 -10:30 last night we both slept in, I think yesterday was one of those “hit the wall” days one gets when traveling.  We both were very tired.  So, again a slow kind of start to the day. I ate here but Denis had nothing left to eat so we stopped on our way to the subway and he had a very nice looking omelette and I had a croissant. Also very good. Denis is getting to like drinking Espresso and I get a larger coffee – essentially espresso with double the water in it with creme and I am back to putting sugar in my coffee.  But so far it has not made my stomach feel like someone poured acid in it like I do when I drink Starbucks Coffee.

After eating we took the subway to the Invalides and walked down the grassy approach and got some really good picture. Along the way we saw the Canadian Cultural Center and went it to see what it was about. They have a gallery and were showing photos by Serge Clement Depayse from Montreal who was born in Valleyfield.  They were interesting to see.  Then we went around the side of Les Invalides to the Rodin Museum.  I hope when Maureen was in Paris that she visited there. I so remember her getting a statue of the “Thinker” as a graduation present – either high school or college. It impressed me at the time because I had never heard of it. Later when I took Art in College I learned a lot about art.  We both really enjoyed the museum. We split up and gave ourselves two hours to go around. The outside gardens still have roses blooming even in this cold weather.  It must be gorgeous in the springtime which the rhododendrons in bloom and everything else as well.

We got the audios to listen to as we walked about. That was very helpful in really learning about his life, struggles and successes.  We both agreed it was worth the trip to see it.  We had coffee and something to eat there to keep us going.

Then we took the subway back to the Eiffel Tower and found the boat cruise that was part of our Paris Pass. So we took the hour long boat cruise and sat up top almost to the end. Coming back we were into the wind and it was much colder so finally we went in to get a little warmer. When we got off we went over to the Tower but Denis decided the lines were way to long for him to wait to go up.  It was cold and windy and he just was not sure he wanted to do this.

After the cruise we got back on the subway and went to St. Michel again. We walked around for a while and then finally picked a place to eat. It was early but we were both hungry as since breakfast we had had little snacks but not a meal. Denis had a pasta with Salmon which he liked very much. I had a starter salad which was big enough for an entire meal and a crepe with ham and cheese. It was good but way too much as well. They served it with a huge plate of french fries. Weird to my thinking, I mean in Ireland one expects that since they serve potatoes with everything but in France, really!

After eating we headed to the Shakespeare and Company Book Store again and found two more gifts for folks.  It is such a fun place and I could have brought back a library of books but one has to show some restraint at times. We walked around and finally back to the Gelato place we had seen twice and both our mouths were watering so we went in and had small cups of gelato and some coffee.

We got the subway back here and it is almost 9 pm and I think we will crash early again as tomorrow we are heading to the Kaisers and want to be awake for our visit with them. I am quite excited to see them and their home in France. They are going to decorate their Christmas tree and then Kate and Alexandre are going to sing in a concert tomorrow evening. That will be great to hear.

So, will now upload todays pictures and see how we made out. My battery seems to be dying so I can only take about 50 pictures a day before it dies on me. Good thing it is towards the end of our four months and not the beginning.

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Day 98 – Smiley, Groogy and Grouchy – all those mood in one day

Both of us woke up late, we were very tired.  Denis did not go for his run. I am sure all the walking counts for something. My stomach was not happy either so that delayed our leaving.  But finally we got moving at a time which shall not be revealed. We did a great job taking the subway to the Moule Rouge where the little open train leaves from to bring you up to Montmartre. It would have been a lovely ride on a warm sunny day. On a cloudy, damp, cold day I was so cold… But saw the area and got a feel for what it is like.  Would not like having to walk all the hills as I got older but it truly is beautiful.

We toured the two churches up top. The famous and gorgeous Sacre Coeur. and the little church up there. We met Melinda up there from Austin Texas.  She is here with her boyfriend who is working and she is sightseeing by herself every day during the week.  She seemed to be having a great time and we had a fun chat. Nice to have someone to talk to for a change, no offense Denis but the French are not interested in using their english and I don’t have enough French left at this point to put to many sentences together.  We took the Funicular down the Mont and then found the subway station.

We took the subway to St. Michel and decided it was almost 3 so we went into an italian restaurant and shared a pizza marguerita.  It was a very good version and a nice glass of red wine with it was yummy as well.  We wandered along until we found the Shakespeare and Friends Book Store. It was so good. One of those lovely ones with tons of little rooms and some up to date new books and very old books and also a library where the books are not for sale but you can pick a book, curl up in the chair and have yourself a good read.  A book lovers dream.  We found two books for gifts, one even signed by the author.

Then we wandered along for a bit more and toured around the Church of St. Severn.  They were taping music in there. It was fasinating to watch these two women singing along to kind of new age music all done electronically. I did not see any instruments. I figure it was being done in there for the acoustics.  Was fascinating to listen to and watch. The art in this old Church was amazing there are frescos on the walls that they appear to be resorting. Very old building.

We then went to find a subway as our intention was to take the boat cruise. After being on a train that we had to get off because something had happened up further on the line we found our way to the two stations we needed to use to get here and once standing by the subway I finally told Denis I could go no further. I was so cold and tired. Even the idea of food had no appeal and since we ate lunch so late I just wanted to put my head down for an hour. I woke up at 8 pm so we threw in the towel.  So here are some pictures from today and then I will say good night to everyone around the world.

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Day 97 – Notre Dame and the Louvre and acky feet… oh yeah and Creme Brule again

Getting up this morning was really difficult since we did not get to bed until after midnight due to skyping with Asta to sing her Happy Birthday. Important for three year olds.  Have not heard how she made out with the presents yet. She was not in a chatty mood anyway.

So, we dragged ourselves up and ate breakfast here. We had shopped last night for some goodies so we made out okay. We walked up to the Eiffel Tower and caught the subway there and got off at Notre Dame.  We walked over and lo and behold they had a lovely Christmas tree in front and an advent Wreath set up outside too.

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Before we toured the Cathedral we went and toured the Catacombs.  I thought that was what it was going to be but no, it was a museum about the original buildings on the Ille de Cite.  They have uncovered the moat, the baths, and many other remains of pre-christian parts of the city.  It was very interesting.

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Then we went inside. There was a Mass just starting so I thought I would participate in that and Denis went off touring. It was interesting to hear the Mass in French and realize how lost one gets when out of your own language.  But it was nice to be there with a group of people celebrating.  Then I toured around and met up with Denis.  We sat for a bit then decided there was no way I was going to climb over 422 steps up to the towers of Notre Dame. He could if he wanted to but no way was I going to do that climb. my feet already hurt and I had a lot of paintings I wanted to see.

To say Notre Dame is gorgeous is an understatement.  It was truly beautiful and considering there were four architects designed it over 200 years it is pretty amazing.

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So after than adventure we headed over to the Louvre.  We first had coffee and a roll which was nice but I really should have had more since later it really showed that I was hungry and had low blood sugar.. but what the heck.  We decided to get the audio tours and to split up for a few hours and meet again at 4:30.  I saw so much. Saw some of the biggies like the Mona LIsa, Venus de Milo, but I was really looking forward to seeing the French painters but it seems that section just kept avoiding me. I did see lots of Rubins, Van Goghs, Rembrants, many greek and roman statues, french ones as well and then I found the Royal Rooms, wow, was all I could say and whistle a bit. Such opulence. I mean really. No wonder there was a revolution with people living like that while others were starving to death. So impressed with it all. You could spend a week there and not see it all. By 6:30 I had had it so we took off towards the apartment. We found a place to eat and again the meal was so so but the Creme Brule was very good so who cares about chicken that appeared reheated. Well actually since I was very hungry it was kind of frustrating.  Then we walked back until we found a subway station and took the train back.  So here we are, 10 pm and very tired.  Still have not decided on what we will do tomorrow. Want to make sure we accomplish our top list of things. Having the pass for the transportation and admission to each venue is making this easier even if they make out on our purchase.

So here are more pictures from the Louvre… dream and then make your dreams come true.

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