The end of the road
Trip Start Jul 23, 2012
15Trip End Aug 15, 2012
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Where I stayed
Near Luxembourg Gardens
What I did
We spent our second day all over town, starting with an unproductive search for Maison Eric Kayser (an artisan bakery) during our morning jog. Dear Bakers of Paris, Why must you all close in August? Don't you know how much money we would spend on you if you were open? Oh well, we did find some pastries elsewhere (I know you were worried). Unfortunately, after a day of wearing flip-flops and not stretching pre or post running wore my legs out, and I spent the day limping/whining/complaining my way through the sites. My husband is a saint for not throwing me off the top of the Notre Dame. Which I refused to climb to because my legs hurt. Wah!!
Pere Lachaise Cemetery was our first stop. This is where a multitude of famous folks are buried, but it's probably most notable for one of its (least) talented residents, Jim Morrison. We wandered the rows and cobblestone lanes of the cemetery, finding the gravesites of Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Gertrude Stein, Georges Seurat, and Frederic Chopin. See what I mean about Jim Morrison being the least talented resident? This cemetery puts Lafayette in New Orleans to shame. The French really know how to bury people with panache! Considering it costs about 11,000 Euros to be buried at Lachaise, I'm sure modest graves simply won't do.
After spending a couple of hours amongst the dead, we hopped the world's slowest bus back toward our neck of the woods. This is where my crankiness really set in, and by the time we reached the Notre Dame, I was ready to call it quits. Luckily Mark is much, much, MUCH more resilient than I, so while I grumped my way back to the apartment to take a nap, he marched his way up to the top of the bell tower and got some stunning photos of the whole city. My little Quasimodo!
After a good rest and attitude adjustment, we went out for the evening to meet Philip, a beer geek that Mark had found through Basic Brewing Radio, a beer podcast. Yes, it's gonna get really dorky for the next paragraph
The next day (Tuesday) was my birthday! On the agenda: no morning jogging, find the perfect petit dejuener (breakfast), head to Montmartre, Eiffel Tower, and end the evening with a concert at Sainte Chapelle and a final romantic dinner. The weather was cloudy and it rained on and off for most of the morning, so we felt right at home
We took the Metro from Montmartre to the Champs du Mars, home to the Eiffel Tower. Something about that building is just so romantic so we couldn't resist a quick visit, even in the rain. Mark had smuggled a small bottle of champagne in his man purse, so we laid out a blanket on the lawn and oogled the tower while drinking right out of the bottle. The area wasn't too packed, but everyone around us was posing in front of the tower, and tons of people do this weird jumping picture. We must look really trustworthy, because a few couples asked us to take pictures for them. Another element at the Champs du Mars: gypsies! Not sure if there's a more politically correct term for these bands of roving ladies with long skirts and long hair who cluster together with fake clipboards and approach tourists with the same question: "Do you speak English?" Cut to the group swarming around people and quickly pickpocketing the life out of them
The last event in our fantastic day was a concert at Sainte-Chapelle. This stunning building has a beautiful stained glass chapel that hosts small concerts throughout the year. Before we left, we ordered tickets to see Vivaldi's Four Seasons performed by a string sextet (or septet, if you count the guy on the harpsichord). The setting was spectacular, and the music was magical. We sat right in the front, so we had great views of the enthusiastic lead violinist's energetic performance, as well as the rest of the group who perfectly followed his lead. I took a few short videos just to give you a taste of this gorgeous experience. Sorry if it's shaky/NYPD Blue camera style. :)
We ended our last evening in Paris and of our vacation with a lovely dinner at La Auberge Reine Blanche (the Inn of the White Queen?), capped off with a crazy sparkler lava cake for me with our waitress and the other (a few of the other diners) singing me "Happy Birthday" in French. Mark did good! It was the perfect end to a once-in-a-lifetime trip.
We had to leave by 7am to catch our train to the airport the next morning (yesterday, I think?), and waited in umpteen lines until we finally boarded our loooong flight home. Luckily, in our last ridiculous line, we were asked to move our seats to the emergency exit row, which we gladly did. Lots of legroom helps 10 hours on a plane not be completely miserable. But the screaming baby one row back tried his best! We touched down at SeaTac about an hour early, buzzed through customs and passport inspection without a problem, and got home to a super-needy howling cat. It's great to be home, and I apologize in advance if either of us greet you with "Bonjour!" or other French niceties. Thanks for following our happy sparkly fluffy Euro adventures!