We got up early and asked the receptionist to call a taxi for us by 8am. She did and a couple minutes before our ride, Linda went to a bakery and purchased some pastries and brought them back to the hotel for us. When she was giving them to us, she noticed that the bakery had given her two of the wrong variety. The woman at the receptionist desk said no matter and ran down to the cafeteria where she selected the variety Linda had wanted and brought replacements. The taxi driver came and was very kind. "Eat your pastries. We'll go when you are ready," he said with a heavy French accent. He was a very kind gentleman with two children: a 20-year-old son and a 16-year-old daughter. His son is an auto mechanic and his daughter is planning to attend college soon.
At the airport, we received special treatment. An attendant selected us from the middle of the line checked our information and bags as though we were at the front of the line. We actually had a couple hours to wait once we got through security and the ticket line. Linda bought some more chocolate, some macaroons, water, and shopped the stores. Emily and I just smiled. Linda is really in her element.
Row 24 C, D, and H. Three center seat boarded by the aisles. Emily, Linda, Mathew with estimated time of arrival in Dallas is 3:08pm. Mom and Em had chicken curry and rice while I had the beef pie and potato.
Lala land and Moana. Linda and Emily watched something else.
We arrived home at 8:40 pm. Carly and Merv picked us up.
Museum de Orsay Van Gogh, Rotin, Monet, Renior were all fantastic. Though the museum is very large, it's all contained within one building, which used to be a train station. It was ornately decorated and became one of Paris' premier museums.
Picasso and Michelangelo...you'll just have to wait till our trip to Rome.
We are figuring out the subway, trains, and busses slowly...very slowly.
Blogs we have read and recommendations have been eat gelato and crepes every chance you get. We have tried to do that, and much to our delight, they have all been wonderful, but it is never enough.
We just had Berthillions gelato. It was better than advertised and memorable. Raspberry was to die for. We met a mother and daughter from NJ while we waited. Now we are chillin in front of Notre Dame cathedral. The bell tower just finished ringing. Soon we are heading back to the apartment, but first stopping to buy a few French treats for folks at home.
Linda's beautiful video in Paris.
If I have learned one overall lesson from our trip to Paris this year it would have to be:
Eat more gelato and crepes in life...enjoy the rapture in the small things.
Tomorrow we are headed home. Au revoir Paris. Je t'aime.
Our new lodging ... Hotel Elysees Union ... is between the Arch de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower.
This was our first day back from London. When we checked to see if the museum was open, we learned that it was closed Mondays, so we decided to stroll down Champs de Élysées. Mom and Emily shopped and enjoyed window shopping, including shopping at Zara, Dolce & Gabbana.
Once diverted onto the high end lane Avenue Montaigne, we browsed the street filled with shops Louie Vatton, Dior, Chanel, Fendi, Valentino and Ralph Lauren--definitely out of my league but perfect for Emily and Linda.
Next we had lunch at the Le Grande Corona, where I had escargot. I was hopeful but cautious. When the waitress brought my plate, beside my escargot Was a contraption that looked a bit like forceps and tweezers. I asked the waitress what they were for and she explained the the one was used to hold the shells in place. The other was used to extract their contents.everything was working fine until shell soared out of my forceps and below the chair of a man sitting beside me. Red-faced I retrieved my shell. Linda and Emily about fell out of their chairs. But that was not all. Later we were at a chocolate store and Linda and Emily were happily shopping. I was just trying to stay out of the way. Suddenly whatever I was leaning on gave way nd the chocolate boxes cm crashing down to the floor, not all of them, but two of them. Paris is normally busy and noisy, but at that moment, it was strangely silent.
We walked down to the see the flickering lights on the Eiffel Tower, which starts at 9am and lasts for five minutes on the hour until say midnight.
Exhausted, we hit the sack.
London Wax museum Changing of the guard Buckingham Palace Kensington Palace Nando's
I have actually been looking forward to writing about this day for many weeks. We had a wonderful stay in London. Today we saw the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. It was spectacular.that was one of the items hih on my priority list, so we showed up at least an hour early. It was probably more like two hours. We took in the sites and began looking for a place to stand without knowing really where the activities were going to take place. There are three gates to the front of the palace. Each time they do changing of the guard, they randomly select one of the gates which the majority of the activities take place. we were there early so we could choose from numerous open spots along the fence the surround the palace. We chose a spot to the left of the center gate next to a woman, who introduced herself as Helga from Portugal, and her mother. Soon the processional started with multiple guards and numerous routines. The cadet leading the troops carried a long sword and marched directly toward us and standing erect, and saluting right in front of us. Emily could have reached out and grabbed hand. He Then marched back to the castle and repeated. It was awesome. You know how sometimes you wish at some event the performer would stand directly in front of you? That's how this was, except indeed he was right in front of us just as though he was performing this whole event for Emily. Now cool is that? You won't believe the pictures when you see them.
We were still in a hurry and as we made our wyh to the exit, we found our Big Bus and were boarding when Mom told us that she had bought tickets to the Madam Tussaud's Wax Museum. The tickets she bought allowed us to enter through door 2 without having to wait. Good idea. Great move Mom. So we hopped on the bus at the Buckingham Palace and jumped off at the museum. The good deal at door number 2 had attracted a lot more customers, so the line was long. We wondered if there would be time to do this and still catch out 4:31 train. We decided to wait it out and indeed, we madeit into the museum enforce too long. We got some great pics, and as we left the building, a taxi was waiting for a red light. We flagged him down and asked him to take us to our apartment and then to bus station. He did and we got to the train station an amazing one hour early. As we were waiting in line for our Paris train, an attendant asked o er the loudspeaker if their was anyone in line for the Paris train. She then escorted us to the front of the line to expedite our entry. We boarded our coach and the train attendant asked to see our boarding passes...it took special authority to enter first class. He welcomed us aboard and showed us to our seats. First class was something new for me, but the best part was seeing my wife and daughter caulded. Our we'd seats were sported by a table,which all came in handy as they served us lunch. Personal USB connectors allowed cellphone and iPad charging. Linda and Emily deserved it all the way. It was fun to see them pampered. Two more days in Paris. Can't get any better than this. Or can it?
Now we are sitting on a train to London. We missed the train I had booked back in the US. Those seats were first class. But we were able to secure some others and are on our way to Commercial House. I am sitting next to a young lady, Gwen, who is from the UK but was visiting her father in France.
This train goes under the English Channel and reaches speeds in incessant of 334.7 km/hr onboardeurostar.com 75m the deepest part of the tunnel. We have left France and are actually traveling under the English channel right now. ( picture taken from my phone) as we we traveling, we sat in the very last row of the car. A family sitting nearby pulled out their lunch. Each had a big chunk of bread. Then they started playing cards. Two boys with their parents.
Ask a local, not your phone Google Maps
We bought the Big Bus London pass and took the bus to see London today, including WestminsterAbby, London bridge, London Eye, Big Ben, and Queens palace. We went to Mondis for dinner recommended by Nile from One Direction
Watched some movie clips before bed. I want to snore in peace.
Train to the suburb of Versailles - we navigated the metro with the intent of getting the train to Versailles. Everything went well on our trip to the palace. We got aboard and made it to our destination without incident.
Once we pulled in Versailles, we took a right upon exiting the train and walked a little ways before an abrupt left. Ahead u in the distance was the Palace of Versailles. One could see the golden gate that greeted visitors and anticipated a great experience. The line was long as we entered, so we took our place in it. There were children, groups, and what appeared to be school classes in addition to all the tourists from every country imaginable. The line moved quickly and soon were entering the Palace of Versailles. Every room was opulent an luxurious. The gardens were massive. Videos were shown full size on many walls help you become familiar with the grounds and many rooms and buildings. Opulence, luxury, self aggrandizement, and riches were displayed everywhere.
After the tour, linda made a phone call and we learned the LDS Paris temple was not far away, so we walked there. The temple was not open but preparing for the open house to begin shortly. It was a press day. We explained who we were and where we had come from to see the temple, and they allowed us to walk around the grounds and take pictures. A kind sister took our pictures and told us about the temple construction. As we were leaving the temple brethren gave us some mementos...cards of the Paris France temple. When complete we returned to the train with our next event in store.
River cruise floated down the Seine river and circled around the Notre Dame cathedral. It was massive and ornate. We waved at the boat that sauntered by. It felt like we walked 600 miles's or something.
We stopped for lunch and later had dinner of crepes and gelato. It was all marvelous.
It's 8:30, and we just returned to our apartment. The sun is setting on our third day in Paris. And what a day it was.
We slept in this morning and got a late start, but that hardly slowed us down. Our first stop was a little bakery on our way to the Arch de Triomphe. We each picked out a pastry of our choice, and we devoured them as we sat at the tables on the side walk. We caught the bus to the Louvre and saw the most famous peace of art in the world, the Mona Lisa. Then we were off to the Eiffel Tower and took the stairs to the second level ... 700 stairs up, but who's counting. Then we continued to the monument in the center of the city of lights. We caught the Big Bus tour to the Notre Dame Cathedral. Where we investigated this spectacular cathedral in the center of the city. All of us ate lunch while sitting on a bench in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral and then went to the see the Saint Chapelle stain glass church ... more stairs but phenomenal. There was not quite that many stairs at the Arch de Triomphe, but we went up all of them to go see the views. Finally, when we got back to our apartment it was 8:30. We were exhausted from all the walking. Good thing that dinner was only a rock throw from Mercicca's.
We only just arrived back from a Jewish place where I was the only man not wearing a Kipa (cap like a small black dome worn on the back of the head by Jewish men), such as it was. We were starving, and the food tasted heavenly.
Now we are back at the apartment and Mom is figuring out how we are going to get to Versailles tomorrow. We may be walking... I better save my energy.
When we arrived at the airport, we made our way to the taxis and exchanged $100 into euros. For some reason, the ATM didn't work for us, so we went to the exchange window along with everyone else. For some reason, I was reminded of the money changers in the temple. It was a racket. 76 euros was our lot. Now we could find a taxi. Mercicca had told us to expect to pay around &50, so when a taxi driver suggested $85, we declined. We found another who said he would take us for $60. I thought that sounded good, so we chose him. He was gracious and took all our bags and placed them in the van. We took our seats and began our trip to our first apartment in Paris.
The cabby was a man named Syl from Cameroon, Africa. He has lived in France for 17 years and has an 8-year-old son with his girlfriend. He said that he plays soccer with his son just for fun. Good man. I hope we can reconnect with him next week when we are going back to the airport on our way home. He was an excellent driver and took us right to our apartment door. We hadn't made specific plans on how to connect with our landlord Mercicca, so we just knocked on the door when we arrived. The was an access keypad but no real door bell. There was no response, so we went across the street to a park and sat down on a bench to think what we should do. Soon Linda saw someone by the door we knocked on and thought it may be our landlord. I went to investigate. It turns out this man knew our landlord and had the access#, so he let us in and ushered us to Mercicca's apartment. I don't know his name, but he was a guardian angel in a situation where we were really unprepared and out of options. Ii met Mercicca and his wife before this man left. I will have to ask Mercicca about him.
Mercicca introduced himself and i went to get Linda and Emily from the park across the street. He then spent some time orienting us to the apartment (so cool) and the map of Paris. He had prepared his own little directions on a map with restaurant, cares, stores, pubs, and sites of interest our area. He gave us directions for finding the location to pickup our Paris Pass, issued us keys, and answered our myriad of questions. We got the details to the wifi and once again were connected to the world. Beautiful apartment with antiques and everything one could possibly need.
So back to the events of this day... We walked to the subway station and bought tickets. We found a nice woman who showed us the ropes for the subway stops and traveled to Sertie, where we were supposed to disembark to find the people where we could pick up our Paris Pass. After a short walk, we found the place, got our passes, and asked for directions to the Big Bus. She handed us a map to it's office and we started the not so short walk to this place. Strolling through the neighborhoods of Paris is probably my favorite part of the trip so far. So many beautiful people and beautiful sites. When we found the Bi Bus office, the attendant informed us that we could not activate our pass and still use it the following day until after 4. It was 2,so we said we would go get some lunch and return after 4.
We went to a lunch spot called Ilys recommended to us by the attendant at Big Bus we all ordered something different to experience the cuisine of France. Emily got a sandwich combo. Linda got a pasta combo, as did I. They were all delicious. We couldn't finish all the desserts so we got a box and took them home. The Big Bus tour would let us see Paris close up, and we would use it for our way back to the apartment. The pass also provides a metro pass for our other transportation needs.
So once we got back to the apartment, our exhaustion kind of took over and we took a nap. I just freshened up with our waterfall shower, which is another bonus to this great apartment. The views across the garden street are spectacular. In addition to the double bed for Linda and I, Mercicca situated another bed in the apartments or Emily in addition to the usual sofa sleeper for our convenience.
It's late now and I am just wrapping up the events of the day before I hit the sack. Tomorrow is another active day to see Paris. We are planning to do Versailles on Friday. I better get to bed so we can get an early start.
Mercicca's recommended the following restaurant:
Name of restaurant: Le trois quart
Melanie came and picked us up this morning around 9:30. We climbed in her car and were chauffeured to the airport. It turns out the British Airways is operated by American Airlines. We flew first to Dallas and changed planes there. Our seats were all together, though the aisle separated Linda and I. In addition to refreshments, we were served dinner and breakfast during our transatlantic flight. Each of us had individual screens, movies, games, and other technology for our disposal. This helped pass the time during our 10-hour flight. The airplane we took across the Atlantic was large and convenient. We traveled 8000 miles at the speed of sound to our destination.