Too much to see!

Trip Start Aug 04, 2009
Trip End Aug 17, 2009

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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Saturday, August 15, 2009

Saturday, August 15th, is a religious holiday in France, The Assumption of Mary (L'Assomption), but no problem where the tourist trade is concerned. The day began hot & sunny and stayed that way.  We got breakfast again at the patisserie one street over (quiche) and bought a couple of treats for later.  We used the HOHO bus all day to get to particular sights and just see what we could see.  We caught the bus on rue St-Lazare.  Across from the stop was the Royal Trinite café, where we enjoyed a morning coffee, until the bus came. It was pricey but the ambiance was worth it!  Of course, around the corner we discovered later was a place advertising coffee for 1 euro!  Probably wouldn’t have been as good!  You just don't see many people walking around with a takeout coffee over there, people like to sit and enjoy! 

The first bus circuit of the day (the yellow circuit) took us around the Montmartre area, past Place de la Republic, Gare de L'Est then Gare du Nord, a view of the dome at Sacre Coeur, the Pigalle area and the Moulin Rouge.  We then got onto the green ciruit for a bit, going past La Madeleine and then through the Louvre complex, before crossing the Pont Neuf.  We got off the bus at Notre Dame, and spent quite a bit of time in that immediate area, taking pictures, walking along the Seine, checking out what the vendors had in their carts along the street.  The line to get into the Cathedral was long, so we passed on going in, something I regret…next time.  We also walked through Shakespeare and Company bookstore, a bit through the Latin Quarter, and picked up a few presents for people back home in some shops in that area.  The only thing I bought for myself on the trip was a sunhat, which I used that day!  We had lunch in view of Notre Dame (I had Cheese Risotto - fabulous!) at Pizza Marzano.  John had a Hamburger Pizza and liked his lunch, too.

While on the bus, we spotted the Hard Rock Café and decided we would be going there that evening.  We also decided to do a nighttime sightseeing river cruise, and checked out where to go to catch the boat, so we had our evening set. 

The afternoon we spent back on the bus, doing the blue circuit through the Bastille area, past Gare de Lyon and the National Library building, which we thought very interesting to look at, and decided to get off the bus again in the Montmartre area by the Moulin Rouge.  There was an additional circuit that we missed entirely, but we ran out of time, deciding we needed a break before going out again in the evening.  We didn't have energy to head up the hill, so we had an ice cream and headed back to the hotel.

We had a late afternoon rest before getting cleaned up and headed to the Hard Rock on Blvd Montmartre, where we had excellent service and "North American" style food (nachos, pulled pork sandwiches and ice-cream sundaes).  A memory we have is of the entire restaurant belting out 'Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen!  From there we headed to the Batobus dock, but it wasn't running, so we walked further up the river to Pont de L’Alma to catch the boat with another company, Bateaux-Mouches.  It only cost 10 euros each and we really felt it was worth it.  The cruise was about full to capacity.  We had some spectacular views of Notre Dame, Pont Alexander III, Hotel de Ville and other Palais’ and the Eiffel Tower, all lit up in the night.  Lots of people were out celebrating the holiday along the river, most people waved when the boat went under the bridges or from the banks where people congregated to drink and listen to music (and one guy mooned the boat - funny!).

After the boat cruise, we got the subway at the closest station and we were back in our hotel room for one last night.  The next day was a write off, unfortunately, in hindsight, we could have used the time more wisely, but this is how you learn to travel smartly!  We had a reservation at the Holiday Inn in Roissy for that night, as our flight home on Monday required us to get up at 4am.  As it was a Sunday, our options were rather limited that morning.  We walked all the way to Haussman in hopes the Starbucks would be open, but no luck.  We managed to find a convenience store not far from the hotel that had coffee and croissants to tide us over, and after one last walk around the neighborhood, we went back to the hotel to check out.  We could have left our bags securely at the hotel and spent another full day in Paris, but I think we were just tired and not sure what would be open on a Sunday.  We got a bus to Gare Du Nord and from there took the RER back to CDG and had some lunch.  After unsuccessfully attempting to switch our flight to a later time the next morning, we got the airport shuttle for the hotel.  To occupy some time, we checked out the village and then had a meal at the Holiday Inn.  I remember I had salmon and a really good blueberry crème brulee!  I think by this point, we really needed the down time.

4am came quickly, we got in the air, had about a 9 hour layover in Iceland, got back to Halifax, drove the 3+ hours home, and pulled into our yard at 11:11pm.  Home sweet Home!
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