Sights & Sounds of Paris
Trips like this one are all about experiences, immersing in the culture as much as possible, and learning much of European history. It’s not a trip to sit and read a book or lay on the beach (I guess that could change depending on where one is located on the continent). For us, it’s been an incredible cultural immersion even though almost all signage is in French (and neither of us knows the language), and the French like to hold onto their language and speak as little English as possible. But all very polite, of course.
Listening all around me, buses and trains, plus restaurants and points of interest, I think I hear some “haughty” French being spoken, and fast, like a strong Irish brogue that you can’t make out.
The past week has been fast and furious, and Ryan has been going with the pace, topping each day with thousands of steps (he’s not used to it). So we built in an “easy” Friday - sleeping in a bit, taking the day a little slower, and choosing a few places to check out before we move on to the next part of the trip; Ryan flies home tomorrow, and Bill and I train down to the South of France for the Writer’s Retreat a little outside of Marseilles.
Thankfully, we figured out the local Metro trains and rode them all day - crisscrossing all over the central part of Paris. First stop, Bill became a StepMaster by climbing 674 steps in the Eiffel Tower (the stairs were only open to the second level, and the elevators were having technical difficulties today for anyone wanting to go further). Ryan and I then walked the city streets where our first Airbnb was located and got lunch, and stopped at a chocolatier, before meeting back up with Bill.
Our second stop was the hilly area of Montmartre. Yes, we climbed the stairs to the white-domed Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur on its summit. (not up to the dome). It was packed. We didn’t stay long but enjoyed the view of Paris from the Church level. Interestingly, while Mass was going on, visitors were allowed to walk the perimeter of the entire church as long as the visitors were quiet. I took a few photos and quietly did my thing, looking in nooks and crannies before exiting to meet up with my guys.
We made the decision to get out of dodge before we got pickpocketed (crowds were thick - and those pesky pickpocketers were out in full force, and instead walked to the 5-Story Fabric store, Dreyfus, less than a 1/2 mile away. However, I did not buy anything because the fabric is heavy in the already-packed suitcase, and I couldn’t figure out the pricing in meters. Plus, I don’t need a thing; I just wanted to take a look at their offerings - from the little bit of quilting fabric to wedding dress fabrics to upholstery and window dressing fabrics, it was all there under one roof and spread over five floors. Fun for me!
The third stop was back to the Champs Elysee for a short bit. Ryan had his eye on a pen he admired but decided not to purchase. We did a little more window shopping until meeting up with Olivia & Bo at the Little Red Door Bar. Apparently, it’s one of the top 50, or, is it, 10 bars in the world. No food, just very cool drinks with an array of creative, inventively presented cocktails in an intimate and cozy setting. Olivia & Bo were not only meeting up with us at this iconic institution but were also meeting up with a work colleague and her husband.
A late dinner in the same area as the Little Red Door Bar rounded out our day.
As I type on my scratch pad, I hear some light snoring for both guys. They are some tired pups - especially Bill and all his steps for today.