Today was my first full day in Paris since `85 or ’86 and what a wonderful day it was.
We started off with a very nice breakfast at our hotel http://www.hoteldupantheon.com/ which is within spitting distance of the Pantheon and quite lovely. We booked several months ago and were able to pay much less than the rack-rate. We are sharing a bed but Esme doesn’t kick so we’re ok there. I think the bathroom is almost as big as the bedroom! Service has been excellent and most major sites are within 15 minutes walking-can’t beat that.
After about 30 minutes trying to find the place to pick up our ‘Paris Pass’ we were able to really start our day and headed directly to the Louvre. I am pretty amazed by how much Esme knows about Egyptian art and history. The ‘Paris Pass’ http://www.parispass.com/ which provides entrance to most museums here as well as tons of other stuff, allowed me to say ‘ok’ when Esme was ready to leave after about 1.5 hours–we’ll go back another day and see more.
The ‘rouge bus’ was waiting for us (part of the pass) near the Louvre and we hopped on for a visual of the city. It was convenient but stopped a lot for extended periods, I don’t know if we’ll take advantage of it tomorrow although it was nice to be able to see where we really were and how far apart things are here plus we enjoyed the little tid bits of history for instance; Paris has 36 bridges over the Seine and one of them is made up of bricks from the Bastille–so the French people could ‘walk on injustice’ and never forget what happened there.
When we finally arrived at the Tour d’Eiffel we hopped off to stand in line for tickets. Just my luck as soon as we were close to the window the authorities shut it down because some yahoos (I believe that is a french word) left their bags unattended. Really? In this day and age, come on folks!!! Not knowing when they were going to open again we decided to head off and find lunch.
Typical for the Cottingham family, we had waited until we were far to hungry to really care. Thus ended up paying 5.6 euros for a coke lite and a ridiculous sum for what really amounts to (drum roll…) cheese toast. Made me realize, again, how lucky we as Americans are with cheap food and gas prices. My cafe au lait was exceptional though….
Next stop the hotel for a pit stop including a different pair of shoes. Which reminds me, Europeans have the coolest shoes. Esme is tired of me pointing out really cool foot wear but I just can’t help it!! I’ve only seen a few pair of sport wear shoes–on very sensible looking older women :). I am not wearing sensible shoes.
I managed to drag Esme out one more time this evening. We put on our walking shoes and pointed them toward Notre Dame Cathedral. Since we left the hotel at 6:15 I imagined that the cathedral would be closed by the time we arrived, amazingly we managed to arrive just in time. A service was beginning and even though I didn’t understand a word, the person singing hymns was incredible–probably a job you really have to fight for.
Sadly we were eventually shooed out and had to spend out remaining time walking around taking in the sights and buying a few glitzy souvenirs. Tomorrow we’ll head out for more and the weather is supposed to be lovely!!