|Subject: Paris - London travelogue days 8-9 (long)|
While some in our tour started their vacations early, we decided to add another day in Paris and then return to London for two days on our own before returning home. This folks was absolutely inspired! We had an introduction to each city and knew our way about and what we wanted to see or visit again. Perfect!
The tour group is mostly gone today. We still see a family of four that stayed behind for a couple of days in Paris, they continue their trip next week in Rome. We have breakfast and plan our day. Originally we thought to go to Euro Disney for the day, thinking that we would be tired of museums. Boy, were we wrong!. Happily we did not have tickets or anything and we quickly decided there was just too much still left to do in Paris.
Armed with comfortable shoes, we took off on our walking adventure. Although the bus tours were comprehensive, we like to walk and absorb. We left the Hotel at 10AM and walked down the Rue Royale passing the cristalleries: Baccarat & Lalique. Had to tear George away or we had been shopping all day. Stopped at the Place de la Concorde for some pictures and watched the preparations for Bastille Day. We crossed one of the many bridges and went to Les Invalides on the Left Bank for the museum and Church. We were amazed by the amount of arms, banners, uniforms and other memorabilia dating back to the 1700's. We also visited Napoleons Tomb. The Mahogany monster housing seven caskets! A big deal for a short man. I guess he made up in other ways what he lacked in stature.
A short walk away is the Rodin Museum. They have a lovely café in the gardens where we bought our lunch and then ate it while we enjoyed the beauty of the Gardens. Armed with a rented translator, we toured both inside and out. The Gates of Hell is amazing and so is his obsession with hands.(they are all larger than they should be in all his sculptures)
From here we walked to the Musée D'Orsay, which takes up in art where the Louvre leaves off. The museum was opened in December 1986 and was dedicated to all artistic production from 1848 to 1914. They have paintings, pastels, sculptures, furniture and also photography. I loved the Renoir and other impressionists.
Back across the Right Bank to the Louvre. Its said you can spend weeks in the Museum and still not see it all. We did not try but we did help their economy at the museum shops downstairs. We dined at the Café before attempting the walk back to the hotel. We arrived back exhausted at 10:30PM but delighted with our last `tango' with Paris.
We had a day of leisure today. No rush to do anything. We even buy some French wine, pate and cheese to bring back to London to enjoy. We arrive at the Gare du Nord after a 5 mile, 45 minute taxi ride for our train ride back to London. It was a little confusing at the station and it took a few minutes to find the Eurostar ticketing on the second floor; but once that was sorted out, we got our 1st class tickets for the trip back. French catering is superb! Champagne to drink, ham with ratatouille, salmon with dill and an apricot mousse is not too shabby for lunch on the train.
Arrived back at the Langham mid-afternoon and retrieved our stored luggage. Then while George spoke with the concierge, I unpacked everything we had brought with us and repacked everything except what we needed for the next two days. I happily discovered enough room for some last minute souvenirs.
We wanted some down time and took the rest of the day off. We walked along Regent Street and found Carnaby Street where we spent a couple of wonderful hours looking at all the shops and sipping coffee. Back to the hotel for our impromptu picnic and an early night. Tomorrow is our last day in London before the return home and we have a full day planned.
`til then Marta & George Tamarac FL