Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Our final 48 hours in Paris

We’re back in Michigan where the colors are starting to change, the nights are quite cool (in the high 40s F.) and the days sunny.

We miss Paris but it is good to be home again.

Our last 48 hours in Paris were wonderful: the days were sunny and warm but not hot, the evenings pleasant and slightly cool. We had no real objective in mind other than to wander the streets, soaking up the feel of the city, and just savoring being there.

Susie showed me the new Les Halles development project (they’re at it again apparently) and it certainly looks impressive. Whether the city will ever get this space right remains to be seen. Perhaps it’s all those ghosts from those bodies that rested deep on the same land for so many centuries in Saint-Innocents cemetery that won’t let go or maybe it’s just been poor planning that has prevented the space from being truly useful and enjoyable.

October 2 was a Sunday but not just any Sunday - it was museum day. The third Sunday of every month is when all state museums are open free to any and all. And believe me, I think pretty much everyone within 100 miles of Paris was in line at the Louvre. I had such hopes to see Théodore Géricault’s Raft of the Medusa but that wasn’t going to happen this trip. I also wanted to see the French Sculpture Room which houses, among many other things, tombstones from the late Middle Ages. You know me and Paris Cemeteries — that’s on the list for next time as well.

So we strolled through the Tuileries, browsed through W. H. Smith bookstore and made our way home. That night we dined at the Royal Fata restaurant in our neighborhood near the Place Gambetta. Good food and quirky but friendly service.

Monday, our penultimate day in Paris, we both headed out mid-morning - Susan to visit the new Le Cordon Bleu school where she enjoyed a brief tour of the facility and me to the old cemetery Neuilly-sur-Seine--- right off of the Metro line 1 -- to do a bit of grave sleuthing. I had been emailing back-and-forth with a fellow in California who was looking for a particular family that he believed to be buried somewhere in Paris. So far I had not been able to find them at any of the major cemeteries (Père-Lachaise, Montparnasse or Montmartre) and thought I would try Neuilly since the family had apparently lived there. (No luck there either.)

Susie and I met up early afternoon and after a disappointing lunch at an old favorite Cuisine de Bar we made our way to the Jardin du Luxembourg one last time. It's such a wonderful place to walk, or just hang out. We watched several large groups of petanque players in one part of the garden before settling down to soak up the shade while many others opted for the sun.

That night, our last in Paris for 2016 we returned to rue Sainte-Anne and ate supper at Sapporro. The street is home to quite a large number of Asian restaurants, many of them noodle bars or sushi joints and almost all of them packed.

After our last meal we scrambled to get to the Trocadero just in time to see the lights twinkle on at the Eiffel Tower. We noticed that the city has cut back the twinkle session, though, from 10 minutes every hour to just five minutes.

As we neared the end of our stay I had arranged for a Paris Blue Van shuttle to pick us up and take us to CDG airport. Apparently my mind was elsewhere when I scheduled the pickup online because early Monday morning I received an email from our shuttle service saying the driver had waited as long as he could and was now gone. A day before we were to leave!

I called them straightaway. Within a few minutes we straightened out the mixup — we were leaving the next morning, Tuesday not Monday. But since it was client error we would have to pay an additional fee, of course. That was close.

Before we knew it our time in Paris had run out.

Our shuttle picked us up, we breezed through security (we pretty much breezed through security everywhere except London, going out and coming back), and now all we had to do was wait. Our flights were on time, uneventful and after spending the night in Boston right near the airport, we finished our final legs of the journey. Susie’s mom picked us up at the airport and before long we were home.

Librairie Gourmande: one of Susie's favorite spots, a bookstore devoted just to cooking and baking

open air market near Saint-Eustache in the Les Halles neighborhood

The planned jardin at Les Halles (will they get it right this time?) - a work in progress

the huge new shopping concourse

Lines for free museum day were waaaay too long for us

oh and here's our apartment

The Hungarian Institute of Paris on rue Bonaparte

boules playing in the Jardin du Luxembourg

Jardin du Luxembourg

A bientôt, Paris! Wish you were there. . . life is short.

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