Metro Expertise

Trip Start May 21, 2003
Trip End Jun 04, 2003

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Flag of France  ,
Saturday, May 24, 2003


Yesterday we went on a bike tour. It was a lot of fun. The person that guided us was really funny. There were a lot of people and we learned a lot of stuff -- like how many chops it took to take off the head of Louis the Sixteenth when they executed him. For lunch we went to a French cafe and I had this weird kind of crepe-ish pancake with sausages that I think were supposed to be hot dogs. It started at 11 and ended at 3 pm, so we were exhausted at the end. But, still, we went up the Eiffel Tower. The top of the Eiffel Tower was really fun, and the bottom was really boring because it wasn't really high. But, it was okay because there was a cafe that we DIDN'T eat at and there a show about how the Eiffel Tower started. When we got home it was about 9:45 at night and I went in the bakery and bought a baguette by myself. I said, "Bonjour. Une baguette, s'il vous plait. Merci, madam."

We also went to a museum and most of the paintings were painted by Monet. By the time we got back it was so late we just ate and went to bed.

This morning my aunt woke me up at 8:00 am and I was so tired I couldn't keep my eyes open. Then we went to the subway and I forgot my camera at the apartment. Ha! Ha! Then we went to a flea market and I bought a painting. It has two trees on it.

We were out of coloured toilet paper, so we to get more.

That's all for today. Paris rocks!

Here we are! We had a very, very full day yesterday! Early in the morning, we had a quick breakfast at our apartment and then took our first trip on Paris' subway system, the Métro. Success! It really is very easy to use. The stations are much smaller than Toronto's stations, but there are a whole lot more of them! At the stations where there are connecting lines, it can be a complete warren of tunnels. You really need to know where you're going but, with map in hand, we can go anywhere!

Our first stop was rue Cler, the area we had originally planned to stay in. The neighbourhood is newer and seems a somewhat wealthier area than ours in the Marais. We walked up the street and stopped at a bakery for a couple of croissants. Then we headed over to the Eiffel Tower. Wow, it really is huge! We wandered about and sat under the tower for a while. The gardens around the tower are filled with gorgeous roses. They're just beautiful, but they're also usually fenced off.

We were at the Tower because it is the meeting place for Mike's Bike Tours. Sure enough, they turned up and we joined about a dozen other tourists for this nifty tour. After a brief introduction at the bottom of the tower, the guide took us back to their office, a few blocks away, and we picked out our bicycles.

Let me tell you, you haven't lived until you've ridden a bicycle over cobblestones!

Our tour guide, Brian, a wild and crazy Texan, took us along quiet streets, a few wild intersections, and through a number of parks. We saw things like Les Invalides, the Louvre, Place de la Concorde, and the Tuileries Gardens. We stopped at a beautiful outdoor cafe in the Tuileries for lunch. Megan and I both had galettes -- that's wholewheat pancakes with stuff in them (cheese, sausages, mushrooms, a fried egg). There was an 11-year-old boy from India on the tour; he and Megan stayed at the front of the tour with the guide the whole trip. His mother and I referred to them as his body guards. I usually brought up the rear!

Megan enjoyed this tour so much, she's talked me into taking the night tour. We've paid in advance, so I think we're committed! Now, we just have to wait until we regain our strength for this activity.

After our bike tour, Megan and I headed to Musée Marmottan where there's a special collection of Claude Monet's paintings. After a few false starts (I'd lost my map book), we finally found the museum. It really was just wonderful. Megan and I both enjoyed the water lilies. It was amazing to see the paintings Monet continued to make, even though he was almost blind later in his life. At this museum, they even have the painting that created the name of this kind of art ... Impressionism.

After this great museum, we headed back to the Eiffel Tower and actually went up this time. All the way to the top. What views! Megan really enjoyed seeing from the air all the sights we'd biked by earlier in the day. By the time we came back to earth, it was about 8:00 pm. Where did the day go?! We headed home and had a very, very late supper of take home pizza, had baths in our pool-sized bathtub and hit the hay.

This morning, in a light rain, we headed for the subway again -- like experts. We went to the south of Paris and walked through an amazing flea market, full of collectibles and lesser antiques. It was great fun, but the prices were, I felt, unreasonably high. Nevertheless, Megan found her heart's desire ... a painting. It was marked at 13E, but the vendor took one look at her and said, "10 Euros."

After we finish this travelogue, we head out to take a tour of Chateau Malmaison, the country home of Napoleon & Josephine.

Tomorrow we head out to the theme park, Parc Astérix.
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