I have seen glimpses these last eight days of a Monumental Paris, a Sacred Paris, an Historic Paris, a Literary Paris, an Art Paris, Gardens of Paris, Foodie Paris... An exhausting eight days! So tired at night, but I still can't sleep because I don't want to miss anything. Too busy to shop for souvenirs.
Tomorrow morning, up early to pack and off to London.
Day One: Arrived at our place on I'Ille St-Louis and had a short nap before walking over to the hop on, hop off L'Open Bus Tour. The bus and boat routes were a great way to get our bearings and see all the monuments. Every turn something new and amazing. Spectacular! Such splendour! The Eiffel Tower surprised me. After seeing so many photographs I didn't think I would be so impressed, but this icon has such impact when you see it in person. Day Two: More hop on, hop off. Montmarte, Left Bank, Marais, St. Germaine. Montparnasse. Opera. We got a little off the tourist tour to check our St, Martin Canal. I love the batobus at night, the same monuments all a-glimmer. The moon is almost full, adding a special element to the night sky. Patisserie! Fromage! Vin! Crepes! The street musicians! The grafittee! Day Three: Today was my birthday, and we sat for a Gregorian Mass in Notre Dame. The voices soared in this sacred space. The service was in French, so it might as well have been in Latin. I thought of the millions of souls who have shared this space over centuries. Then off to the Sunday Bird Market for colour. Brunch of crepes and strong cider. We are still using the hop on hop off but are now calling it the "hop off, get lost" ... Luxembourg gardens... Cemetary Montparnasse Day Four: Today we started taking the Metro, off for a tour of the Opera Garnier. I have wanted to see the Chagall ceiling for years, and it did not disappoint... and there is Moon Room in the Paris Opera.... how perfect! An amazing lunch at Le Grand Cafe Capucines. Visiting Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison in Pere Lachaise. On to Sacre Couer, such a beautiful church, the light of the stain glass glowing on the stone walls. And Montparnasse, where all the artists and writers hung out in the 20's and 30's. Seeing the Eiffel on the skyline, in the distance, like a jewel. Day Five: Must have walked ten miles today! Musee D'Orsay. Rodin Musee. So many masterpieces, dizzy and overwhelmed by Rodin-Van Gogh-Renoir-Monet-Pissaro-Toulous Latrec. The Gates of Hell plaster in the D'Orsay, followed by the bronzes in the garden. Invalides. Ending the day with champagne in the Eiffel Tower, seeing the full moon in the sky. Taxi home. Day Six: Versailles. The scale of the palace was beyond my imaginings. The gardens, so vast! We rented bikes and rode past the boats in the Grand Canal to the Petit Trianon, the smell of autumn in the air. Dappled sun. Then dinner at a local restaurant, just steps from our Paris apartment. Day Seven Started with Sainte Chapelle, then the Bastille Market, walk in the Marais, tour the Louvre, take in the water lilies at the Orangerie, walk through Tulieres to Pont Neuf, dinner at home and then out to Shakespeare and Company & a walk along the Seine. Day Eight A Paris Walks tour, of Hemingway's haunts... Now I will need to re-read The Moveable Feast and Paris Wife, tackle Joyce's Ullysees and try Orwell's Down and Out in Paris. An afternoon wandering the Left Bank, the Marais again, and then checking out the Stravinsky Fountain at the Pompideau Centre. A picnic on the Seine of wine and cheese, and a night cruise to enjoy the shimmer and glimmer.
... details to come