Monday, May 20, 2013

May 19 Off to Paris!

After a light breakfast, we paid our bill, packed the car and left the tiny village of Turenne in a fine rain at a little past 10 and headed for the A20 north to Paris. The temperature was in the high 40s and we passed from drizzle to fine rain to light mist back to drizzle with the occasional burst of heavy rain until we were well north of Orleans when the rain stopped and the temperature rose to a balmy 62.

Traffic was light pretty much the entire drive into greater Paris and our trip rather uneventful with the exception of taking the wrong version of the A6 but finding our way back (thanks to good signage) but subsequently missing our exit for the Porte d'Italie (thanks to poor signage).

We coursed our way through Chinatown in the 13th arrondissement and into the 5th and found the entrance into the Gare d'Austerlitz car return (going the wrong way on a one-way entrance but hey it's Paris).

I nosed into an Avis slot and walked to the Avis (location voiture) window to learn that the office was closed and directed all business to the Gare de Lyon on the other side of the Seine (right bank). The note also said that if you were dropping a car off (we were) then just deposit the key into the box located to the left of the door. Yeah!

But before we let go of the car key I called our host Carsten Sprotte to inform him we had arrived a bit earlier than planned. He was unable to meet us any sooner than the scheduled 1630 time so we decided to leave our bags in the car, pop upstairs to the Metro ticket office and recharge our Navigo metro passes ("one swipe and you're good to go on train or bus"). So now we're set for the next week scooting around the city on Le Metro.

We then strolled back downstairs to ground level and sat at a cafe in the station and had a coffee before grabbing a taxi, dropping the key off in the magic box and heading across the river to 22 rue Sevigne.

that's us on the 3rd (US 4th) floor
Carsten was already in the apartment when we pulled up out front. He came down to meet us and help us schlep our bags upstairs. After he showed us the various feature sof the apartment, we unpacked. OK, after Susan unpacked we strolled downstairs turned left and and the block or so over to rue Saint-Antoine where rue de Sevigne ended right at Saint-Paul.  

looking south to Saint Paul and rue Saint-Antoine

looking north to the Carnavalet Museum

across the street and into someone's life
My goal -- and a frustrated one it was as I was to learn the next day from Marie, was to find the final resting place of Father Francois de la Chaise (1624-1709), "Pere Lachaise," who was the driving force behind persuading Louis XIV to turn an old hilltop home into a retreat for the Jesuits. Following the suppression of the Jesuits in the latter part of the 18th century the land fell into disuse. But in 1804 the property would become the world's first garden or pastoral cemetery, setting the standards for cemeteries around the western world.

Sadly,  I was unable to locate the burial location of  "Father Lachaise." I would come to find out the next day from Marie, one of the leading Paris experts on  Pere-Lachaise Cemetery, that he is in fact buried beneath the church in the crypt, which is is off-limits to the public.

From Saint-Paul we walked over to the Bastille and since it was dinner time we went in search of an Asian restaurant to satiate our craving for vegetables, which had been sorely absent from our food int he south. We stopped in at "Le Sun" and both had sauteed broccoli; Susie also had riz cantonnais and I had nem. Delicious!

Afterwards we strolled back to rue Saint-Antoine and I grabbed a dessert from Lenotre and then home for bed -- 

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