We're up at 6:45 to eat breakfast and zip our bags closed. John is ready and waiting at 7:55 to drive us to the station. Train to Agen leaves at 8:20, arrives at 8:59. TGV to Paris is 9:05. We're in first-class car since 2nd class was sold out but seats at 50% of full price, thanks to Madeleine's advice to get senior pass.
Mom and I have played a game of cribbage (Mom won) and a scrabble iPad game (Mom won). We've had a small bite to eat and enjoyed the ride through the countryside...lots of colsa fields in full bloom, beautiful dark yellow interspersed with green fields of wheat. It is a cloudy day with rain predicted, but none so far.
Paris is a great city ! We had good directions to our hotel and no problems. Took a metro from the train station to within steps to the hotel. Small room but comfortable clean and seems quiet. Studied our maps awhile and then started out for thé Eiffel Tower, which is an easy 25 minute walk. What a sight ! Read it takes 60 tons of paint every seven years. Lots of people enjoying the park and lines waiting to go up the tower.
We used the iPad app HopStop to plot out our walking/metro directions. It works for Paris and map/instructions are saved so you don't need to be online after plotting them out.
We planned to eat at Chez Denise, a Bistrot we discovered here in 1989, then again in 1995? with Matt. (I think he and Lizzy have been there, too.) It's a long walk from the Eiffel Tower (2.25 miles if you don't make any mistakes or take side trips, which we did).
We walked past numerous landmarks...les Grande Palais, les Petit Palais, the Concorde, the Tulleries, the Louvre, the Crystal Palais, lots of monuments to heroes, some elaborate bridges, walked along the Seine River, and then it started to sprinkle. Luckily we had our rain slickers.
Paris is definitely an exciting city. There are so many beautiful landmarks and great looking places to live. Lots of huge windows and balconies with wrought railings. Looks so French !
We turned onto side streets looking for Rue de Prouvaires, #5, Chez Denise. And, finally after two hours of walking, it's now 7:30pm, there it is. We're both a little apprehensive and very hungry and tired and a little wet. We're a little worried that because we don't have reservations we won't be seated. Oh no! The lights are out and the door is locked and the windows are covered.
Why is it closed?? It's Saturday night! Maybe we're too early? Mom stops in a hair salon two doors away to ask what's happened...are they out of business? Has the owner died? No! They are always closed on Saturdays and Sundays! Business must be very good to close on the busiest night of the week.
Fortunately, Mom had seen another place that looked good about three blocks away., L'Auberge du Louvre. That's where we had our well-earned dinner. Shortly after we ordered a Menu Dinner, while waiting, it started to rain hard. So, we are dry and ready to eat. It worked out great even though it's not Chez Denise. Maybe we'll return on Monday for cassolet. We sat in a little alcove looking out on the street so it was great people watching.
As a final event of the day, we played a hand of Gin Rummy. Guess who won? Mom, 239 to 0! We Metro'd to the hotel avoiding most of the rain and it felt good to get our feet up.
Have a big day tomorrow and sure we won't have trouble sleeping !
Saturday, May 5, 2012
May in Paris