Paris...what a way to end!!
Trip Start Nov 21, 2007
158Trip End Oct 01, 2008
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We could not check in at 9:45 am or so when we finally made it to the hotel. So, we left our bags and headed off to a "free" walking tour of Paris. We have found this to be a great way to orient ourselves with the city and find out a few facts too! It lasted about 4 hours and covered lots of ground. After the tour, we went and took a nap in our "category 7" room before enjoying our gourmet meal of tuna sandwiches
The next day, we walked from our hotel up the Champs Elysees to end at the Arc De Triumphe. This is fun because the Tour de France ends here and we have enjoyed watching the race over the history of our relationship (even thought Jana is sick of people doping and THRILLED that Lance is coming back)! We then walked to the Eiffel tour, which was very cool. We took the stairs to the second level and then took an elevator to the top. Pretty high...ok, very high! The view was nice of Paris, and it is hard to realized that we really have been on the Eiffel Tower. Sounds strange because we have been to so many places but it really is surreal to be on things like the Great Wall of China, see the Taj Mahal...and the Eiffel Tower had the same effect. We took some time to lounge in the Parc du Champs de Mars too because we had walked a ton!
That evening, we were to meet Cyril Duault's sister, Laure, at Cafe de Flore so she could show us to her flat. Cyril had arranged for us to stay at her flat for the weekend so we could be in a great location of Paris. We were in Saint Germain de Pres area which has a reputation of being Paris's "intellectual" district. Laure had no problem finding us, and her flat was next door to the cafe! It was great. Getting to the actual flat was a bit of an interesting maze with about four doors to pass through and three different staircases to ascend. Once you get there, it is totally worth it thought. The views from the flat were great and wonderful location! We had dinner with Laure and her boyfriend, Mattias. Both spoke great English which made the night even better to have a fun conversation over great Italian food!
Saturday morning, we toured the Louvre which was HUGE! We hit all the highlights on the brochure which we were pretty proud of....yes, we are a bit burned out with art and sculptures, but we knew we had to go to the Louvre. So glad we did too...totally worth it. Then, we walked to Notre Dame to see this amazing church. Even though it is free to enter, there was a que to stand in for about 10 minutes. The church is quite a structure and such a beautiful and important part of Paris's history.
Now, this is probably our favorite part of our trip to Paris...seeing the Duault family
After the girls went to bed, Cyril STUFFED us with an amazing French meal. We had shrimp bisque (not really French but a Cyril specialty), escargot (yes, snails), beef with foie gras and mushrooms, cheeses and poached pears. All of it was YUMMY! Cyril is a great cook and we enjoyed the different courses while we had some great conversations. Dinner lasted a bit long, so Cyril had to drive us to the subway because the train had stopped running for the night.
Sunday was a LAZY day for us. We slept in and then walked to a great place for breakfast. It was called AMERICAN CAFE and the food was awesome...eggs, bacon and toast was just what we wanted
Monday, we took a tour to Normandy to see the beaches where WW II was fought. We used Fat Tire Bikes to set up our day. THIS IS A BIG PLUG. If you go to Paris, Berlin, Prague or Amsterdam, use FAT TIRE BIKES! This company is Aggie owned and Jana went to A&M with the owner...don't miss this great experience.
The day was packed. We took a 2.5 hour train ride to then be picked up by the tour company. We then went to the Germany cemetery, Pointe de Hoc, Omaha beach, American cemetery, and a museum. Don't worry, we then got back on the train to go back to Paris. We would recommend anyone to go on this tour. It is surreal that we are walking on the ground where 60 years ago were in utter chaos
Our last day of traveling was a little crazy....we were so excited to be going home, but we were trying to enjoy our last day of an amazing trip too. The weather was not that great. It was kind of rainy, windy and cold...but we made it to Versailles to see the castle and grounds. We also got to eat some crepes (savory and sweet) too. We then went to our "home" and organized our stuff before going to the Duault's for dinner and goodbyes.
Paris has lots to offer. We were not sure what to expect because you always hear that French people are rude and unfriendly. We had a great experience though...thanks for a great time Duault family! We loved getting to see you!
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