Monday, June 16, 2014

France 2014 - Part 8

April 20 – Easter Sunday

After breakfast, which we enjoyed with Kathy from our tour group, we headed for the small church around the corner for Easter Mass in French.
The service was supposed to start at 9:30, but it began a few minutes late. We felt right at home. Even though this wasn’t as large as the major cathedrals we’d seen, it was still quite a bit larger than our little church at home.
The large medieval nave was filled with wooden chairs, but only about sixty folks filled them—about the same number as we normally have for our first service.
I had hoped for inspiring organ and choir music, but there was no choir and a wheezy old pipe organ. However, we have been badly spoiled by our organist at home. I’m quite certain she could have made the instrument sing. Unfortunately, the one who played this day didn’t have the same skill.
There were two priests, one of whom acted as a sort of cantor.
I was able to figure out about 10% of the words, but did recognize the tunes of “Amazing Grace” and “Thine Be the Glory” as well as The Lord’s Prayer and The Apostles’ Creed. After our amazing service on Mont Saint-Michel, however, we had already experienced Easter.
When we got back to our room, I Googled to see what would be open on Easter Sunday. I discovered that Musee d’Orsay would be closed on Monday when we had planned to use our tickets. Since we were leaving on Tuesday morning, we were only left with Sunday afternoon.
So we got ready and headed out. We were becoming very comfortable taking the Metro. We received extra tickets from some of the folks who left early and couldn’t use them, so we had enough to get around.
We arrived outside the museum about noon, but even though we already had reserved tickets, we still had to wait in a long line to get inside. Over an hour later, we finally made it in the door.
Since we had already seen the artwork on the main floor and the impressionists on the top floor, our goal for the day was to see the special Van Gogh exhibit. Of course, we found another line to get into the exhibit. However, once we entered, we found fewer crowds than we had encountered at Versailles and the Louvre.
The exhibit was worth seeing. Several familiar paintings were included, but the most familiar (Starry Night and Irises, for example) were missing.
By the time we finished, it was about 3:00, and we were ready for lunch. We decided to go to the museum restaurant since we could sit down there. Again we found a line, but this one went quickly.
What a gorgeous space! Ornate chandeliers hung from the ornately painted and gilded ceiling.
We each ordered a half-size chicken Caesar salads. Served with a delicious roll, it made for a perfect late lunch.
When we left the museum, we walked down the street to check a few small shops and do a bit more shopping.
Back to the Metro station and back in our hotel room by about 5:00.
I had picked up a banana at breakfast but hadn’t eaten it. So we shared it. Then I caught up with email, Facebook and this journal.
We watched a little TV and then turned the lights out.

April 21 – Monday

Woke with the alarm at 7:00 a.m., showered, washed and dried my hair, and dressed for breakfast. When we got there a little after 8:00, Sharon and Chuck from our tour group were just finishing before checking out. Had a few minutes with them before they left.
Kathy joined us just as Chuck left. Caught up with her while we ate.
Updated my journal, answered email, and reviewed Facebook. We ate the banana and apple we’d brought back from breakfast.
Because it was our last day in Paris, we decided to head back over to the street near the Musée d'Orsay to do some last-minute shopping since we’d seen some nice things the day before. Also, most of the museums as well as lots of restaurants were closed due to a bank holiday.
We’d been going everywhere by Metro and felt very comfortable getting around the city. Larry said it was like using public transportation in Osaka, but I reminded him we could actually read the signs in Paris (even though Larry couldn’t pronounce them).
When we got out at the museum stop, it was drizzling. The museum itself was closed, and the huge crowd of the day before was gone.
We found everything we wanted easily and at reasonable prices.
Back to the hotel to repack our luggage. I was happy I’d brought an extra nylon bag we could check since we had so many gift items. We had also abandoned some clothing, including shoes and pants, along the way, so we had more room in our suitcases going home.
Since by then, it was about 4:00, we decided to go out to the neighborhood for an early dinner. On our way out, we arranged for the airport shuttle at 8:15 the next morning.
We headed in a different direction than we’d gone before, but most of the restaurants and cafes were closed. Still, we enjoyed the walk.
On the way back, we stopped by the patisserie and bought some macarons to take home. This time, they only had three flavors, but we knew all of them were delicious.
Les Petites Canailles, the restaurant next to the hotel, was open, so we went back there again. The same young lady we had seen before was working. We were glad to see her again, and she recognized us. Larry ordered the plat du jour—veal in a savory sauce with carrots and beans served with a tiny salad and about half a cup of rice. I had the Caesar salad with chicken.
After we ordered, we spotted Linda and Sheri from our group passing by. I ran out to see them because we’d given them the extra set of tickets for the Orsay and wanted to make sure they knew it was closed on Mondays. The tickets were good until Wednesday, and they weren’t leaving until Thursday. Larry gave them our last Metro ticket since we wouldn’t use it before we left. They were on their way to do laundry, so I gave them the primer on how to work the machines.
By the time we said goodbye, our meal was nearly ready.
Our food was very good. We decided on one last dessert in Paris, and the waiter who had taken over for our young friend suggested a sampler with coffee. The plate arrived with three tiny cups, each with a different dessert: blancmange with a delicious raspberry sauce, chocolate mousse, and crème brûlée. Each was about three bites and just enough. These were served with a cup of ‘American’ coffee. Yet another delicious meal.
When we returned, we charged all the electronics. Larry listened to my iPod while it was charging, and I worked on Facebook, email, and my journal.
We will cherish all the memories of this fabulous trip for the rest of our lives.
And we are about ready to head home.

To be completed...

No comments:

Post a Comment