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Sunday in Paris
Saturday, September 09, 2000; posted by Lisa

Four days after our return from the States, we got an opportunity to go to Paris! Paris, the son/husband/son-in-law/brother/brother-in-law, etc., will heretofore be referred to as "P," so as to avoid any confusion. P was invited to attend a business meeting being held at the company's offices there. Although he would not be free to tour the city with me during the day, he asked if I wanted to come along. What, are you kidding me? Pass up the chance to see Paris? I am ON the train, buddy. So, from Sunday through most of Wednesday, I got to visit one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I did not know what to expect. I had heard all wonderful things about the city itself and terrible things about the natives. While the city lived-up to its reputation and beyond, the natives were, as with most human groups, a mix of the unfriendly stereotype and perfectly nice and helpful. While the guide at Versailles dared to cluck his tongue at me and shoo me out the door, the attendant at the train station was patient and gave good instructions. P, colleague/friend Susanne, and I took the 3 hour train Sunday morning, dropped our stuff at the hotel, and proceeded to explore the city: Notre Dame, the outside of The Louvre, Sacre Coeur, the Latin Quarter, and many streets in-between. Though rainy and grey most of the day, we had a wonderful time. Monday through Wednesday, I was on my own. Paris is very easy to navigate by metro and, since I had perfect weather each day, lovely to travel by foot. Walking from The Louvre to the Eiffel Tower one day, I didn't even need a map most of the time because it can be seen for great distances. So, I just kept aiming towards it. Paris is filled with shady, tree-lined walkways, magnificent vistas, and elaborate, glorious architecture. But rarely is a building so high that it blocks the sky, leaving the sun, sky, and clouds to create that magical French blue. Spent 4 hours at the Louvre, exploring just one of the three sections, went to the Eiffel Tower, Versailles, and Rodin Museum, in addition to all of the things we saw on Sunday. It was nice to be by myself (slightly less conspicuous as a tourist) and not have to negotiate every decision of the day. However, it would have also been nice to share the city with P, the husband. The city truly is breathtaking and delicious; I recommend it to all!

Happy tourists, rainy Sunday, in front of The Louvre. Again, photo courtesy of Susanne.

Susanne and I in a cafe, en route to Notre Dame. Waiter was annoyed with our mispronunciation and corrected everything we said, but, the food was very good.

P and I at a tourist cafe just outside of the Sacre Coeur, in Montmarte. Each beverage cost about 8 dollars US.

Narrow street in the Montmartre section of Paris.

Amongst a mob of tourists in front of the Notre Dame on the only rainy day of our four-day visit. Unfortunately, it was also the only day P could be a tourist during the daytime hours. Photo courtesy of friend, Susanne, who also knew some French and could help out during encounters with waiters, etc.

Detail of the Basilique du Sacre Coeur, built in the late 19th century. Dark inside, belly full of scaffolding illuminated only by red prayer candles and a light shining on the heart of Jesus on the far wall. No need for the signs that tell you to be quiet. Confession was being heard in one, very unprivate corner, clergy hurrying to and fro, and the crypt was filled with the faithful. Nice to see a church in operation and not just filled with tourists.

A view of the Basilique and the hill on which it sits.

View of the city from the Sacre Coeur. Misty Sunday afternoon, rather warm and sticky, but the view was well worth the climb.