(Above is the line waiting to check in the second day -- a line that I was in for more than three hours because the computer didn't register our flight. Below is the angry mob when the fight was canceled, as passengers waited to get hotel assignments.)
But finally, we were off! And some eight hours later, I could look out the window and see the French countryside.
Sandwiched between wholesale shops on a busy street these doors (and the many others like them) don't reveal the beauty that lies behind them.
The apartment was in one of the buildings opening up on this charming courtyard. This window belonged to the guardien.
It's very small, but oh, so charming with his collection of antiques and flea market finds throughout.
Above and below are the living room.
The kitchen was tiny, but with its antique egg baskets, molds, and tools (not to mention the flowers), one could learn to work with the small space!
Talk about someone with good taste and style -- it was all packed into this wonderful spot.Jerry graciously loaned me his bedroom.
From the bed, I had this rooftop view!
(The 85 steps to the fourth (or American fifth) floor were less fun!
(The good thing about this is that my pants that started out short ended up the right length when I was ready to leave, and the ones that were the right length when I started were so long I kept tripping on them, having to lift them gently like a Victorian lady lifting her skirts at the curb! I wish I could say that translated into weight loss -- my friends say it turned fat to muscle. Hey, whatever works!)
Jerry lives in an area called "The Marais" and it is convenient to many wonderful spots. So, after briefly settling in, we headed out to spots near his apartment so I could get my bearings.I would have been completely content staying in the neighborhood, though that would have been wrong! Below is the Mayor's office, the Hotel de Ville.
About six blocks away was BHV department store, which was unlike any department store I'd seen before! An art department to rival Michael's, great books and CDs and cards; electronics; appliances (like washing machines); furniture and mattresses; great clothing labels; a cafe; beautiful housewares and bath and the basement was like a mini Home Depot, with lumber sales and every tool imaginable! I was in heaven!
Then we crossed the river to the Ile de Cite and went to Notre Dame! Oh, so very beautiful!
The majesty of these churches are astounding, as is are the stone carvings on the facade. They are massive and beautiful.
When you think churches like this (and the thousands of others in Paris) were built before engineers had computers to figure out weight-bearing and cranes to lift heavy materials, they become all the more majestic. And the windows bring bright splashes of rich colors to the more somber stone interiors.
We headed over to the left bank, where book stalls line the sidewalk by the Seine, selling postcards, old books, and art. I don't know that there were great deals here, but they were fun!
Shakespeare and Company is there, too -- a bookstore that was a haunt of Hemingway, Fitzgerald and so many others. It was a must on my list and I returned there several times.
Back to the Square in front of Notre Dame, where we fed the birds -- sparrows land on your finger to snatch a bit of bread. It was then we discovered an organ concert would take place at the church that evening, and we put it on our "to do" list!
Next up, the flower market stalls -- several buildings with all sorts of fabulous flowers, seeds and garden accessories.
Jerry pointed out landmarks and we headed home, stopping (again) at one of the Paris boulangeries for bread. Oh, I loved these places! While he went to work, I took a nap! Boy, I needed it!
That evening after dinner at home, we went to the organ concert at Notre Dame. It was absolutely amazing to hear that huge organ open up anad fill the church with music. Neither of us were terribly fond of the (more contemporary) selections, so we left early (people were going in and out all the time) and walked a bit, enjoying sorbet cones and sunset on the Seine. It was a wonderful way to start the trip.
Things I have learned so far:
Every street has at least one bakery (sometimes more) per block and generally a flower shop is within striking distance.
The Parisians eat on the street -- a lot. Everyone is always munching on a chunk of bread or a croissant or roll. Fat, thin, young, old. It's what you do.
The streets are treacherous in that there are lots of cobblestones and they are very uneven. That observation was reinforced more than once as I'd step on a cobblestone and it wouldn't be flat enough so I'd either trip or fall!
(Next time: The Lady and the Unicorn and more!)