Sunday, August 7, 2011

Paris - Days Six and Seven

Day Six - We got up early again which with jet lag still lingering was just barely tolerable to the Roommate and headed to Giverny to see Monet's home and famous gardens. You have to take a train and then either a shuttle bus, taxi, or bike the rest of the way. I was hoping to bike through the countryside but the Roommate had twisted her knee early in the week (we suspect on the stairs up Notre Dame) and was in no condition to bike. The shuttle bus got us there faster and without the possibility of getting lost. We wandered around the small town, had some coffee and a snack before heading to the main attraction. What to say about Monet's garden other than it was one of the absolute highlights of the trip. We had seen the paintings in Paris and seeing its inspiration was amazing. I'm not sure which is more beautiful.

After crowding on a train full of like minded tourists we took a nap at the hotel before heading out for the night. We took in dinner, dessert, and the view of Paris atop Montmartre. Then we wandered around and down through Pigalle to see the Moulin Rouge. We finished the night off with drinks at the bar next door to the hotel. I'm missing those photos since they were on the Roommate's camera and she has yet to give me her pictures, being a perfectionist and going through them all and "fixing" them in Photoshop. She's much more artsy than me - hence the many many art museums we visited.

At Monet's home in Giverny





And masterpiece

Day Seven - Our last day in Paris we took a train to Chartres. I even managed to buy the train tickets in French, well except for the number 28. For the life of me I couldn't come up with the right word and it came up twice in the conversation. My French is almost non-existent these days. Sad since I was getting fairly proficient in 2005 when I spent almost a year in Burgundy. Oh well, Japanese and Spanish are crowding it out. I hope to come back to it one day.

It was spitting rain when we arrived in Chartres but we didn't let it get us down. We visited the famous gothic cathedral, had a delicious lunch, and wandered around the medieval town. We got lost several times but at least once it worked out in that we stopped at a shop selling nothing but macaroons. There are no pictures because we ate them too quickly and we were very sad to have discovered them our last day in Paris. I've since discovered the one and only bakery in Cincinnati where you can buy them - not quite as good but the best I can do without buying a plane ticket to France.

Back from Chartres we finished up our trip with a night bike tour. We started at the Eiffel Tower and rode all through Paris, stopping for gelato near Notre Dame, pedaling past L'Academie Francaise and the Louvre, before catching a cruise down the Seine. We biked back to the Eiffel Tower just in time to watch it sparkle.

Chartres was built in 30 years amazing quick for the time period so it's a pretty pure example of Gothic architecture.


The veil of Mary. This relic has made this a pilgrimage site for hundreds of years.

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I was most excited to see the Labyrinth on the cathedral floor - only to find it covered up by chairs!

Outside the cathedral.

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Around the medival part of town.


On the bike tour.

Behind Notre Dame

A new tradition is to come to this bridge near Notre Dame with your lover, lock a lock on the bridge, and throw the key into the Seine.

Sunset at the Louvre

Getting artsy on our river cruise

And that was our trip. Absolutely exhausting, filled a little too much with art and not enough wine in my opinion, but I got my fill of espresso and French food, and a great time with my best friend. Now I just have to convince her to go to Japan with me next spring.

Goodbye Paris!

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