|Subject: London-Paris travelogue day 5-6 (long)|
Greetings and now onwards to Paris,
Breakfast at the unheard of 6:30AM so we could all get to the train station and get our boarding passes. When all was said and done, we barely had 5 minutes to spare before we had to board the Eurostar for the 9:09 departure to Paris.
First class seats had us smoothly on our way. They serve a meal and this early it was brunch with a choice of wines for the different courses. Being on a French catered train has its privileges. And 2½ hours' later####voila..Paris, Gare du Nord.
Kelly, our guide put us on our new bus and we met our French guide for a two-hour drive around Paris. Kelly went on to take care of our luggage and room assignments. We later went back to our hotel to find our luggage already delivered to our rooms.
During our drive we saw the Champs Elysees, Les Invalides, Les Tuilliries, Place de la Concorde (preparing for Bastille Day on 7/14) Trocadero, L'Opera, Notre Dame, Latin Quarter, St Germain du Pres, Rue Ste Honore: A really great introduction to the layout of the city of Paris. We learned about their architecture and symmetry andI'm happy to see that the French take their Paris very seriously.
No tall buildings, no tearing down older buildings with iron railings, etc. We made only one stop, at the Eiffel Tower for a photo opportunity and they chose a wonderful location a block or so away.
We checked in at the Sofitel Astor, (8th arrondisement) A small boutique hotel on a quiet side street. The bus actually had to drop us off about 2 blocks away due to the streets being so narrow. We had a couple of hours off to off we went to walk about and discover The Monoprix, Nicolas liquor store and the Baccarat store. We laid in some supplies from all three stores and went back to get ready for dinner.
Dinner at the Ciel de Paris, on the 56th floor of the Monteparnasse Tower. A delightful dinner of Foie gras with mango chutney; a local fish with lobster sauce and a fruit meringue for me. Salmon, Veal with veggies and crème brulee for George. Choice of various wines with the different courses. Dinner was good, but what made it was the view!! Large glass windows overlook the Eiffel Tower. And while the restaurant had twinkling lights on its ceiling, the twinkling lights on the Eiffel Tower at dusk was superb.
After a wonderfully different French breakfast, with the fruit and croissants ( they had eggs and bacon for those who so chose) we chose to go on the Versailles tour. Our guide this time, gave us so much information that the cadence of her speech made many on the bus go to sleep (George for one) But, it was sunny and warm (75 degrees) and once we were actually in Versailles, we were happy of all that knowledge of minutia.
The group was split up in two and off we went to the rooms on view. Some of it is in the process of renovation but they have short films showing you what they normally would look like. Once we had our fill, we went through to the gardens. WOW! Amazing that any one person laid out those gardens. They have these old horse drawn coaches slowly making their way around which you can ride: Very old world.
Return to the Hotel for a late afternoon snack and time to explore some of the stores.
We make arrangements with 6 other tour folks to go to the Moulin Rouge for dinner and the show. It was expensive but very memorable. We had transportation to and from the place as we heard it was not in a very good neighborhood, the table was really close to the stage and dinner was an acceptable steak, pomme frittes, crème brulee and champagne (but of course!)
The show! Over 2 hours of 31 girls, Python snakes in a water pool that raised from the stage, 6 Shetland ponies, acrobats and a wonderful ventriloquist with his talking `live' terrier dog. Still dont know how he did that! We returned to the hotel past midnight for a nightcap and bed.
Tomorrow is our last day on the tour and it's a full day! See you then
Marta & George Tamarac FL