Subject: Day 2 of my Paris journal
Monday, July 19 Paris City Tour

It is before 6 a.m., and I#ve been awake since 5 a.m.! I got to bed last night at 10:30, but spent about 20 minutes getting up and down for various things, so I#ve only had about 6 hours of sleep. I couldn#t get back to sleep, so I decided to get up and do something before calling my kids, Greg and Michelle. If I call at 8 a.m., it will be 11 p.m., Sunday night there. After phoning, I went down to the included buffet breakfast. The croissant and slice of ham I took were delicious. I had forgotten how good French food is.

I went on the Paris city tour, but I felt it was rushed, and the bus didn#t even stop for photo opportunities of the very interesting and beautiful sights. I saw old Roman ruins, the Sorbonne, Ecole Militaire, the Eiffel Tower (did get a photo stop there), city hall, Hotel de Ville, Champs Elysees, the obelisk Napoleon brought back from Egypt, the Invalides (where Napoleon is buried), etc. I saw Pont Neuf and the Seine again (from last year before I broke my leg). I even saw the Hotel du Louvre where my daughter and I stayed last year (me for one night!) and where the accident occurred. We drove into the grounds of the Louvre through a small archway across from the hotel, but not even a photo stop there.

I saw lots of beautiful and unique statues, some gilded in gold leaf, on the tour; there was even one of George Washington on a horse!

The one place where they did stop for a while was at Notre Dame on Ile de la Cite. We actually went inside, and I took lots of photos -- outside and inside. I want to get a photo of the cathedral at a distance, though.

It was as we were leaving Notre Dame and crossing a street that I did it again I fell! I guess I can#t come to Paris without falling on the first morning! It happened as I took too big a step from the street onto the curb, trying to get across some water. I jumped when I saw I would end up stepping in the water otherwise. I landed off-balance and fell forward, head first, onto the sidewalk. Again I bent the right side of my glasses, and I also broke my sunglasses. I had also dropped my digital camera in the water, and I could only get it to work off and on for the rest of the tour. It was okay later in the day, thank goodness. Luckily, I had my backup Advantix camera with me and used that the rest of the day. I ended up with a large bruise on the right side of my forehead and an abrasion by my right eye. Also, bruises on both knees and the right side of my hand and abrasions where I tried to catch myself.

Everyone in the group was very concerned about me, but I said I was okay, and we continued on. We stopped at a souvenir shop while walking back to the bus, and I bought some post cards, a magnet, and 3 hair clips handmade in France with paintings of Paris scenes.

After I got back to the hotel, I rested a little bit and arranged a tour for tomorrow. Champagne has definitely been cancelled, so I booked an afternoon tour to Chartres with Cityrama. I have to go to their office across from the Louvre, so I#ll take a taxi there.

About 4 p.m. I walked over to the Monoprix to get some things. I wasn#t impressed with it at all, though Michelle had raved about her Monoprix near the Opera from last year. I thought it was worse than WalMart, which is pretty bad . Everything was haphazard, dusty, and low quality. I found sunglasses, but not the clip-on kind to fit over my glasses. The regular ones are expensive (27.50 euros for the cheapest!), so I#ll look around tomorrow.

I couldn#t find regular cups, so I got some sturdy paper ones for cold liquids, and then a large measuring cup with lid for making tea (I brought one of those immersion coil things for heating water). I found the Kleenex and then a Miss Helen nightie for Michelle (she had bought one last year and asked me to pick up another one for her).

After I paid for everything, I went upstairs to the grocery store. It#s really interesting compared to ours. I got a container of fresh cherries, a bag of dried apricots, a carton of mandarin orange/raspberry juice, a box of 4 little caramel flans, Boursin cheese spread, and crackers. It came to about 11 euros for everything. Luckily, the room has a little refrigerator so I don#t have to eat out for all my meals.

On the way out of Monoprix, I bought a baguette sandwich with not very good chicken, lettuce, tomato, and mayo. I ate part of it in my room and had a glass of the juice. In a few minutes, I#m going to take a walk in the neighborhood, as I#m afraid I#ll fall asleep if I stay in the room. I need the exercise anyway.

--------------------------- I took a longer walk than I had intended. I first stopped at Tati (shabby) to see of they had any clip-on lunettes de soleil -- no -- so then went across the street to Monoprix to buy one of those expensive pairs to wear over my glasses after breaking off the nose piece. They didn#t work too well, though, as they affected my depth perception.

Then I decided to walk toward Les Halles, taking Turbigo to cut across to the back. I didn#t go in, but decided to continue on and find the Seine. I walked across the park on top of Forum des Halles and then down rue Louvre. It was a long walk, and I couldn#t get across the street to the quai to see the river, so I continued on to the Samaritaine dept. store, but it was closed for the night. I passed Pont Neuf and the café where Michelle and I had dinner on our first night in Paris last year.

I then turned up a street where I saw a sign for Les Halles, crossed the park again, found Turbigo and then Reamur. There, I turned left when I should have turned right to Sebastopol and had to stop a Frenchman to ask for directions.

While I was resting on a bench in the Les Halles park on the way back, it started to rain, but I didn#t get up, as I was so tired. It continued to rain all the way back to the hotel, but it wasn#t too bad, and it felt good against my skin, as the weather was warm. It reminded me of the light showers in the Hawaiian islands. However, after I got to my room, it poured for a little while.

Diana San Diego, California