Fréjus, France

Fréjus, France
Aqueduc Romain

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Back to Paris/New Experiences

Our trip to Paris was a 3-day cyclone of activity. Since we were taking Brenda (and Terri who had been before) for her first visit to this fabulous city, there were obviously repeats such as the Tour Eiffel, Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe, etc., but we also were able to experience some new things. This started with getting on the train at 8:30 pm for an 11-hour night journey. Lisa and I both traveled at night on trains back in college, but this was our first time this year to do this, let alone with a kid, too much luggage (what's new?), and two extra adults relying on us. While the train was nice enough, the seats reclined but did not go flat, and the lights stayed on all night (we still can't figure that one out, we even asked...), so none of us except Irie slept worth a damn. We pulled into the Gare de Lyon in Paris at 7:30 am, piled all our stuff on to the Metro, and made our way to the Les Argonautes Hotel. We had been told we could leave our luggage, but the rooms wouldn't be ready until early afternoon. The rooms were actually available so we all took power naps until about 10 am, then started our day. We love this little hotel in the Latin Quarter! Small, personable, friendly, cheap, and ideally located, but yes it can be loud at night with the bar scene in the alley. It was raining so we walked across the river to Notre Dame. Then the girls wanted to shop on the Ile St. Louis, after which we had a fabulous lunch.

The next day we went to the Catacombs, which was on our list of things to do last summer, but somehow had not happened. It was really a trip! You walk down through these narrow passageways of what used to be the city's quarry mines, past amateur sculptures , and finally into the actual tombs where they moved 6-7 million of Paris' dead in the late18th-early 19th centuries. They were moved under cover of night by priests because cemetaries had filled up and poor burying practices were resulting in disease. The bones and skulls are stacked incredibly orderly, sometimes with a bit of artistic flair like skulls in the shape of a heart or a cross (see photo gallery).

After the Catacombs, the sun was finally starting to peak out from the clouds so we headed over to the Eiffel Tower and took the elevators to the top. Always a spectacular view! Then on to the Arc de Triomphe, and a walk down the jam-packed sidewalks of the Champs-Élysées. Speaking of new experiences, I certainly would never have stopped for a drink in this incredibly pink brasserie if I hadn't been with 4 women!

Later this night, Brenda realizes her Passport is missing. Being a Sunday night there is nothing to be done about it until the next morning at which point Lisa and she head off to the U.S. Embassy to get a new one. It turns out to be a very easy process, but the unknown of "where is it?" is unsettling. We got home to Frejus to find her original sitting on the table, so at least it wasn't stolen, and Lisa got another new experience. Meanwhile, I took Terri and Irie on a leisurely stroll along the Seine River, over the Pont Neuf into the Louvre courtyard and the Tuileries Gardens where we met up with Lisa and Brenda.

After lunch in the Gardens, Lisa and I got away for a little alone time strolling the Luxembourg Gardens (Lisa's #1 garden in the world) while the ladies and Irie went shopping again. Later that evening, we took them all to St. Chappelle for a stringed performance of Vivaldi's "Four Seasons." While this was something Lisa and I had done on a date last summer, it was well worth the repeat - a different sextet, front row seats, and afterwards the ladies got to meet the "hot' lead vioinist, buy the cd, and get his autograph.

We then hit a fun Latin-themed bar in our hotel alley where we scored some Havana hats , and did a little dancing before heading to a Moroccan restaurant that was excellent.
Lisa, Brenda and I even headed out to catch the midnight dazzle of the Eiffel sparkling on the hour. All in all, a fun-filled three-day tornado of sights, sounds, tastes and activities that left us all feeling the length of this post can attest!


Michelle et Abigail said...

Super cool...what a whirlwind!

William said...

Love Les Argonuates too. The gardens, Eiffle, etc. Brings our days in Paris back.

Anonymous said...

It looks like much fun has been had!!! Aside from sleep deprivation...luckily that passes:). Love you all-Irie, your hair (and smile) looks great!!! Still no High School Musical to be had...what's up with that?