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15 October 2016

Paris Field Report 10 – Day 9

Steps today: 24 069. You can infer by that number that we had great weather! It started off a little cold and foggy, but by around 10:30AM it was warm and sunny and the skies were blue. Perfect weather for our last day in Paris.

We started off the day by visiting the suburb of Vincennes. (I call it a suburb, but maybe it’s not – it’s outside of central Paris). We had breakfast in a café near the castle, then went for a walk around the grounds.

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We also explored the little town which my husband and I didn’t do the last time we visited the Chateau de Vincennes in 2014 and I think we missed out; it was really nice! We mostly just drooled all over the windows. Look at this, it’s not pastries but various fish entrées! To beautiful to eat.

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I lost my mind at the cheese shop. Just outstanding. My mom’s picture is actually better than mine because she took a picture of the entire place; I just had tunnel vision for the counter.

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Camembert in the shape of a heart!!!  That’s serious Cheese-Love.

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After this, it was back to central Paris to visit the Sewer Museum that we missed out on yesterday. It was really interesting and there is a lot to learn but it really stinks down there so it doesn’t encourage you to linger. It doesn’t smell of poo, just standing water…  like a sewer! I even saw a condom float by in one of the ‘canals’.

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The weather was warm and sunny when we emerged, so we walked to the Brasserie I wanted to try for lunch: Montparnasse 1900.

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Doesn’t look like much from the outside, but my husband and I saw a picture of it in a magazine a few years ago and we said we HAD to see it in person. The décor is really quite spectacular – not in a Train Bleu way, but in an Art Nouveau way. When we arrived they sat us in the front section which was less decorated and I regret not asking if we could sit in the back. My mom was happy with her seat so that was good, but I later went to the back to take pictures. I felt a little conspicuous, and I didn’t want to bother people while they were eating so it felt a bit like taking sneak-shots! I tried to aim toward empty sections.

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The food was delicious but like many previous lunches it filled us up so much that we skipped dinner. What you don’t see in the pictures here is all the bread I ate and a creamy bowl of mystery-pasta-something. No clue what it was, but it was delicious!!!!!

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Our next activity was one we purposely saved for the last day: The Panoramic View over Paris from the top of the Montparnasse Tower (59th floor). I wanted to go on the last day so that my mom would know what she was looking at and would be able to put it all in context. She loved it.

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We happened to arrive at the same time as a group of Chinese tourists and OMG!!! a pushier more belligerent group of people I have NEVER seen!!! Their group leader went inside to the ticket counter to buy their tickets, and they waited for him by the entrance outside like sardines effectively blocking the entrance for anyone else. When they were “let loose” and came in, one woman actually shoved me aside to get in the elevator line behind her friend. No excuse me, no smile, nothing – it was like I was an inanimate object in her way that needed to be discarded. Once upstairs, another member of the group got into a shouting match with the person who reviews those tourists pictures they make you stand for at the entrance to most attractions. I don’t know how it all started, but there was a lot of yelling and “no, you’re crazy” and “yes, go ahead and call the police” and “please leave”. Having nothing to go on other than the behaviour I witnessed downstairs, I’m on the employee’s side!!

The weather was still perfect when we left, so we walked to our next destination: The Catacombs. All week we had next to no line-ups for anything, so we had gotten used to assuming we could get into anywhere with little waiting. When we arrived, we saw a moderate line-up but said we’d see if it moves fast. Perhaps they let people in batches in which case it would not be so bad. As we got closer, we noticed the line went all the way down the street! We dropped the idea of going in there and then. We followed the line-up around the corner to see how long it was… and it was all the way around the block!!! double forget it.

We decided to get on the metro at that point and head back to the area around Notre Dame to say goodbye to Paris.

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We stopped for a drink to perk up and I needed a boozy boost to help digest lunch!

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Feeling revived, and still gushing over the perfect weather, we decided to walk back to the hotel from there via the Luxembourg Gardens. It was a TERRIFIC idea! The place was bustling with people; it was FANTASTIC!

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It was such a joyful atmosphere and such an enjoyable vibe! We both agreed that THIS type of crowd adds to the atmosphere and makes it such a fun and vibrant place to be… as opposed to the mosh-pit of elbows and knees we came upon at Sacré-Coeur on Sunday.

Of course, I had to take some flower pictures!

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We had our final goodbye-toast to Paris at a café around the corner from our hotel (Kir aux Pêches with extra Pêches for me AGAAAAIN) – we wanted to make it an earlier night since we have to pack so we were home by about 7PM.

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My mom is all packed, I haven’t started yet… but it goes SO FAST when packing to go back home! I have lots to just throw away, and the rest is laundry. I didn’t do any shopping so I predict it will take me about 15 minutes.

We had a terrific vacation, my mom says she had the time of her life! I think our respective Fairy Godmothers were looking out for us; I don’t think it could have gone any better!

14 October 2016

Paris Field Report 9 – Day 8

Steps today: 18 393. We didn’t quite make it today because it rained in the afternoon and so we took the metro to places we would normally have walked to. If the sun would have been out, we would have easily hit 20K.

Breakfast today was along the Champs-Elysées. How great it that?

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We knew that it would start raining in the afternoon, so we went for a long walk to soak up the outside-time as much as possible. We saw the Palais Elysée (official residence of the French President):

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Then walked along Rue St Honoré again but a different section than the one we explored on Wednesday morning. It just amazes me what the cost is for super-mega-high-end things. Take this skirt for example, it’s a bunch of different coloured pieces of felt (or what looked like felt to me) sewn together with a jagged-edge design. 900€!

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We continued to Place the la Concorde, then back up Champs-Élysées to the Grand Palais, then across Alexandre III Bridge to Les Invalides and went to visit Napoleon’s Tomb. The walk and many many many stops to gawk at the window displays took us about an hour.

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I could not get enough of these… bushes?… topiaries? around the building. They look so neat!

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After the Tomb, it still wasn’t raining so we walked along the Seine to the Alma Bridge to go to the Paris Sewer Museum… but we didn’t do our homework first because when we got there we discovered it’s closed on Thursdays and Fridays.

Next on our agenda was the Musée d'Orsay so we decide to head back towards it and have lunch in the area. I promised myself I was NOT going to have foie gras and beef tartare AGAIN! I am annoyed with my repetitive choices… yes I love them, but enough is enough! There are other delicacies to be savoured!

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(My mom however ordered a salad that came with foie gras and she could not finish it. I mean, I couldn’t just leave it there!!! I had to help her – in fact, she insisted! that’s not my fault right?)

The D’Orsay Museum was very nice, we spent just enough time to see what we wanted to see and browse a little of the rest – it’s a challenge to soak it all in without getting tired! Walking slowly and standing around is a killer. Half of it was closed anyway for some reason, I didn’t look up why.

We stayed for about an hour and a half, including a coffee break.

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By the time we were done it had started raining but not that bad, again it was more drizzle than rain and like the previous 2 showers the hoods on our jackets were sufficient.

We missed the Archeological Museum yesterday because it was closed, so we decided since we had the time (having missed out on the Sewer Museum in the morning) we’d give it a shot. I really enjoyed it! It was WAY more interesting than I thought it would be; I would like to visit it again on another trip to really read and learn more about the exhibits.

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After the museum, we walked around the Latin Quarter for a while, where my mom got most of the souvenirs she wanted.

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We decided since lunch was not as gargantuan as on previous days we’d have a small supper and a night cap then call it a day. We walked to a café we saw on Monday near Sainte-Chapelle for our supper-snack. Camembert Sandwich…. MMMMM

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When we left, the rain had picked up a bit more so we took the metro instead of walking to Café des Flores for a nightcap. Sauternes for me again! (and I am cheating with this picture, it was taken on Sunday morning when it was nice and sunny!)

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It was great of course, I LOVE Sauternes, but the one I had yesterday at Les Deux Magots looked prettier don’t you think? The colouring in this image makes it look so pale….

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There is no rain in the forecast for tomorrow, so it means we got rained on a total of 3 times this vacation but only in the late PM and never hard enough to breakout the umbrellas. I would love to have nice blue skies tomorrow to end the vacation on a high-weather note, but we’ve been so incredibly fortunate up until now that I don’t want to be ungrateful and press my luck!

Still…  my fingers are crossed behind my back Winking smile  Fingers crossed Sun