39000 feet above the Atlantic, I try to remember all the great moments in our trip. We calculated Leon drove over 6000 km through France, Belgium, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands before returning the car to Charles de Gaulle airport for our last 3 days of touring Paris. The plan was to use only public transit and avoid the stress of city driving.
These are the times I am happy we travel light. Walking through airports, trains stations and up and down subway and hotel stairs is exercise enough without giving ourselves a hernia! As it was, we actually trimmed down our load by discarding some of our more worn clothes and shoes at the hotel the night before we turned in the rental car. I even left behind the half bottle of Calvados. It never did agree with me anyway.
Our hotel in Paris was located in a terrific neighbourhood! We were literally at the metro stop. The streets where filled with great bistros, which we happily discovered each evening after a long day of walking and touring the city.
Dinners were usually accompanied by a nice rosé for me and a Côtes -du-Rhône for Leon. Bistro dinners were usually steak and frites for Leon, tuna done in different ways for me. Lots of bread was consumed by my dinner partner. And the odd yummy dessert was found that I could enjoy. The financier aux pistaches (marzipan pistachio square) was a great example of this. It’s a good thing we were only in Paris for 3 days!
When we weren’t eating or drinking wine, we would take the metro to a part of the city we wanted to visit and walk till we couldn’t. Then we hopped on a tour bus and rode around for an hour or more, just resting our feet and listening to the commentary.
We toured or walked around the major sights – Sacré Cœur, Le Louvre (which requires much more than a few hours, but I was overwhelmed with all there was to see inside, including the palace itself) where we saw the Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa, Les Tuileries, Les Champs Élysées, l’Arch de Triomphe, numerous monuments and buildings commissioned by kings and emperors, Notre Dame cathedral (too busy to enter but we got a good carillon as mass ended), Les Invalides, Le Champs de Mars (which was mostly closed for the Parisienne marathon), and finally, the Eiffel Tower. We walked leisurely along the left bank, stopping for an ice cream and just to admire the sights on the canal.
Our last day was sunny and hot, the evening was warm. We sat outside a local bistro, enjoyed a great meal and all the humanity around us, locals for the most part, just enjoying a Sunday night in September.
As much as we didn’t want the night to end, we were ready to get back to Canada where the very long and exciting roadtrip continues. Next up, the 3 weeks that lead up to my daughter’s wedding.