Monday July 9th
Leaving Amsterdam was hard on everyone, it was such a mellow, friendly, and aesthetically pleasing city. But, we all met in the lobby at 9:30 brought the keys to the front desk and walked one last time down the cobblestoned streets of Amsterdam. We call it the sound of the thundering herd, and Joel was able to capture it. The rollers of the duffle bags on the cobblestones, when everyone is quiet morning tired is quite an original sound, one that will be missed.
But, we were headed to new French sights and sounds and the Paris City Metro exit sound became our new group mantra. “Doo do da doo”
Our group had really comfortable seats together in the 90’s and 100’s on Coach 16, and used them all to sleep. I know there should be pictures uploaded, but I can’t find them…so…”Where are those pictures Joel?” is my blog mantra to a WONDERFUL male chaperone. FYI: I have finally found an excellent male figure that plays and has fun with the kids, is always watching over them, AND enjoys their daily choices. It is so nice to trust someone taking them out their outings.
The first outing we did upon arrival in Paris is to meet at the Eiffel Tower.
Then we ate baguette sandwiches and drank Orangina (in cans) under the tower on Parc du Champ de Mars.
Then the group gathered around the South West Leg of the Eiffel Tower to catch the bike tour through Paris!
The only difference from this city and the other bike tours, is that the cars WILL run over bicyclists, so I was nervous, but everyone came back, without any scrapes. Go CALI!
The travelers were able to see the exteriors of: Notre Dame,
The Arc De Triomphe, The Louvre, The Pantheon, Sainte-Chapelle, The Pompidou and the large Hotel Des Invalides. The most excited part of the trip, besides Gelato off of Pont Neuf was seeing the lock bridge over the Seine (but there are lock bridges EVERYWHERE in Paris now).
After the bike tour, everyone was able to take a Seine River cruise down and around Ile de la Cite (the island of Notre Dame) and back up the river just in time to see the sparkling Eiffel Tower.
On the walk home, everyone went back to the Eiffel Tower and met locals hanging out at the Champs de Mars.
July 10thParis Jour Deux
The next morning was spent at Versailles.
Everyone, except our two sick girls, made it to the glorious chateau. Everyone was in awe at the excessiveness and I even encouraged them to get in the row boats on the lake! Marie Antoinette’s house was also a hit for the girls.
After Versailles, groups split up after lunch of Croque Monsieurs at local corner cafes. (where’s the pictures Joel?)
Groups went to the Louvre, back to the Eiffel Tower and inside Notre Dame.
Everyone was having so much fun using the Metro. Mary’s hotel was literally on the corner of the Oberkampf Metro stop, so it was very easy to get home.
We were one stop south of the Republique Metro stop, where most trains transferred. It was so nice to watch everyone easily get around the Metro system to their focused sites of interest.
We all met back at the hotel for our group dinner, which was on the top of Sacre Coeur
The view of Paris was stunning,
but I think everyone was too hungry to eat up a view, so we headed straight through the streets of Montmartre to the quaintest Parisian restaurant with probably our best meal yet!
Le Poulbot was barely big enough to fit us all in for dinner, but we did! (where’s the pictures Joel?)
Most travelers weren’t interested in walking down Clichy to see Moulin Rouge or the s-e-x shops (thank God), so they headed home to dress up for their evening out at “the Social Club”, but Amanda and I went and got her portrait done at Place du Tertre. (This is the famous square where all of the portrait artists hang out until midnight.) Amanda looked scrupulously for her artist, found him, and sat with a smile on her face. The final black and white portrait is elegant! We then saw the evening lights of Paris and then with courage, walked down the middle of Clichy. We got our view of Folies and Moulin Rouge, then popped in a taxi for home.
We arrived back as soon as most were leaving for The Social Club, a dance club in Paris!
Paris Jour Trois
Only one traveler, Amanda, and Joel and I made it to Pere LaChaise in the morning to see Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf and Jim Morrison’s cemetery, but I thought I’d post some pics so the kids can see them. It was a 10 minute walk east from our hotel and what an amazing site!
When we arrived back at the hotel, most everyone had woken up, eaten at the corner cafe and was filling in their day with what they hadn’t done the day before, so again small groups went to the Louvre, D’Orsay, the Arc De Triomphe and inside Notre Dame. Hunter was trying to talk a group into going to Monet Gardens, only Lily and myself were takers, but the way this group works is, “I’ll go if everyone goes” and no one makes the first move, so sorry Hunter, you’ll have to come back on your honeymoon!
Our last day in Paris was mostly a last chance day. It was drizzling a rain mist over the city all day and we had to find indoor places to visit. Musee D’Orsay was a huge draw as everyone loved the Impressionist paintings of Manet, Monet and Renoir. My favorite were the postimpressionists of Toulouse-Lautrec and more of Van Gogh. I heard one travelers say, “I saw that Van Gogh painting in Amsterdam, I wonder which one is the real one” it made me smile that one of our kids can actually say that line now!!!! This trip is a success!
With feet hurting, but the female iron will to continue, Parisian shopping was beckoning the girls. We made it through Sant Denis and Sant Martin yesterday, but were headed to Hausmann Boulevard to see the seven floored Galeries LaFayette. It was the month of July, and their 50% off sale was in full bloom. More tourists were at this mall than at the Louvre, and woah Nellie, the girls were off! Faster than a Prague lightening bolt, lingerie, leather jackets, blouses, jewelry, they saw it all and enjoyed every second of it!
We all made it back to the lobby by 6:30pm to catch our 8:30 train to Barcelona.
Where there were 4 in a sleeper car. Everyone slept like a baby and woke up in Espana.