Behind-the-Scenes: Paris Day 7
Today is day seven.
We spent our last day in Paris doing nothing that was listed on our lovely schedule. We woke up and said, “Forget it!” and finally made it out at 9:00 am. It was an overcast, but warm morning when we crossed the street and walked onto the square to catch an Open Top bus. Our schedule said “Eiffel Tower,” but since we had spent so much time there the previous day, and Ruth had decided that she didn’t feel like she HAD to go up and would prefer to save her money, I was easy to please. I’ve been up several times and the view is so much better when you can see the Eiffel Tower from the Montparnasse Tower observation deck, so we decided to rearrange our entire day and so something completely different. Our legs were tired from a week of walking and the idea of riding the bus around the city again was rather appealing, so that’s what we did. This time we didn’t take Big Bus and went with the more popular company, Open Top Bus Tours. These busses have a well-marked stop right next to Notre Dame Cathedral so we bought our tickets on the bus and spent the next couple hours riding around the very familiar sites and being lazy. Instead of walking up the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, we rode up it twice, while listening to the audio tour get stuck on a French classic, “Les Champs-Élysées,” sung by Joe Dassin. We stayed on for a couple loops, so this song has now officially become part of our brain’s DNA…so much so, that I got home and promptly bought it on iTunes because I know it’s going to come in handy when I want to mess with Ruth’s head.
Our bus took us to Montmartre Village, a new part of the city and we decided to get off – it’s up the hill from the famous Moulin Rouge. Next time I’m in Paris, I’m going to stay in Montmartre because it’s so beautiful. I love the Latin Quarter, but this is where the artists have their studios and hang out painting in the square all day. It has a completely different feel to the rest of Paris and I want to explore it more. At the very top of the steep hill, sits the Basilique Sacra-Coeur (the Basilica of the Sacred Heart). “…the basilica is located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city. Sacra-Coeur is a double monument, political and cultural, both a national penance for the defeat of France in the 1871 Franco-Prussian War and the socialist Paris Commune of 1871.” – Wikipedia
After walking around looking at the beautiful paintings in Place du Tertre, we walked back down towards our bus stop, and stopped to do some shopping on the way. Along with picking up a fresh baguette with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and egg, we had a hard time resisting the many fruit stands filled with some of the most delicious-looking peaches, grapes, and strawberries.
After getting back on the bus, we rode to the Eiffel Tower and got off and walked a couple blocks to a place we have both wanted to visit since 1997. The gold Flamme de la Liberte Monument became a shrine to Princess Diana, after her tragic death in the tunnel below where the flame sits. We had arrived in Paris on the 17th anniversary of her death and so it was even more surreal to visit on the day that had been her funeral in 1997. I grew up during the height of “Dianamania” and saw her once when I was a six year-old kid living in London. We hadn’t planned to end our day on such a somber note, but it seemed a fitting way to end our week in Paris, paying our respects to a woman we both loved.
Since we hadn’t had much to eat all day, we were starving when we got home. Clearly, we had to go back to Rim Cafe for one last meal! This time we went all wild and crazy and both got pizza! 🙂 It was really good and, sadly, we can’t fit our favorite restaurant in our suitcases. Another thing we had to do tonight was say good bye to the mangey, stuffed donkey with the severe hair loss, and get a crepe from a street vendor, so we found a vendor not far from home and soon wished we had gone somewhere else. Strawberry jam and whipped cream folded side a massive crepe is more than a little overwhelming and sickly. Next time… no whipped cream or strawberry jam.
Our evening has been spent cleaning our rental apartment and repacking our bags. Tomorrow we have a 7:00 am train to get us to the airport in time for our flight to Venice, Italy where we are going to spend the next three days. I’m dying for Ruth to see Italy. She’s been so enamored by France for so many years and can’t possibly imagine anything better, but I have a feeling she’s going to fall madly in love with the Mediterranean and Italian gelato…
My bags are stuffed with dirty clothes, my head with incredible memories, and my camera’s Compact Flash Card is, currently, priceless. I’ve had an incredible time in France and look forward to coming back (as always), but I’m ready to go South and eat more pizza…and take more pictures. Until tomorrow…
Bonne nuit from Paris!
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