12 Mai - We got up bright and early (around noon), actually Robb did get up around 09h30 to mail his letters, but someone to whom he spoke at the local La Poste told him he had to go to a main post office over by the Opéra, so we took off to find it. We finally got our chance to ride the 69 bus. We boarded on rue de la Roquette, riding past the Bastille down to rue de Rivoli. We rode down rue de Rivoli to the Palais Royal stop where we got off. Then we started the trek to the Opéra area. It was further than I thought and we probably should have taken the 27 bus, but we were determined and walked all the way, looking all the time for La Poste.
We stopped at several places asking directions to La Poste with no success. When we got the Opéra Garnier, we heard music but couldn't quite figure out what it was or from where it was coming. We finally saw them. We still have no idea who they were or why they were there, but there was a thirteen-member band performing in front of the Opéra. While we were watching, the white limo you can see behind them drove up. It was from Cherie.fm, one of the French radio stations to which we listen online at home.
I took the picture from the steps to the Opéra entrance. Then, I panned a bit to the left and shot this scene of the Place de la Opéra down to the Louvre.
We still had to find La Poste, so we took off again. We came to a Celio. I bought a "man-bag", a kind of purse for men that will come in handy because I like to take my camera everywhere I go but it's a bit cumbersome carrying it in the pocket of my jeans. Robb bought himself a hat. It occurred to us to ask directions to La Poste while we were there. The store clerks were very helpful, although they didn't know exactly where it was located, they gave us the general direction but told us it was probably closed today because it's a holiday. I didn't know it was a holiday and for whatever reason it never entered my head to ask which one, so I still don't know. When we got home later, I did look up French holidays on the internet but found nothing for the 12th of May.
We left the store in the general direction they had given us. We wandered around in back of the Opéra but found no post office, as I knew we wouldn't because just behind the Opéra is Galeries Lafayette. Galeries Lafayette is a huge department store comprising three seven-story buildings. There is the main store (mostly women's stuff), Lafayette Maison (the home store) and Lafayette Homme (the men's store). We entered the men's store because Robb has been trying to find shoelaces for the past few days. We have looked in just about every place we could think might have them. We found a place in Monoprix, but it was closed. Neither did we find a place in Galeries Lafayette. We wandered about for a while, during which I shot this picture from the third floor walkover. Robb bought a nice short-sleeved shirt and then we left.
I thought we might go to La Taverne on Boulevard des Italiens, have a café and then have dinner, but I didn't realize it was only 16h00 and it would have been a long, long wait for dinner, so we grabbed a taxi back to the apartment. That was probably a mistake but I did manage to get this picture of the Panthéon across the Seine.
When we got to the apartment, we were only there a short while before we realized we needed to go the store for a few items. We got some things for dinner as well as milk for the morning coffee and that was pretty much it for today.
13 Mai - The day got off to a good start for Robb. He had spoken to the concierge yesterday and she told him that he could send his letters from La Poste down the street instead of having to trek across town. So he got up around nine and went down. Then it got a little dicey because he saw a boulangerie and decided to get a couple croissants. Of course, you all know by now that his sense of direction is a bit muddled, so it caused him a few moments of consternation. But he finally figured it out and made his way back to the apartment.
In the meantime, I was trying desperately to get some sleep after having been kept up most of the night with various problems, some of which were caused by Robb and some of which were caused by the people in the apartment directly above us. I'm not sure what kind of schedule they keep, but they seem to be up all night and disappear (or sleep) during the day. At any rate, they're not quiet during the night and since I'm a very light sleeper, that makes for a long night for me. Then, around 07h30, the demolition squad starts work next door.
I finally gave up trying to get any more sleep and got out of bed around 11h30. Robb had already made the coffee and mine was in the micro-onde. Sweet Robb had bought some croissants, so we had those with coffee and that was breakfast.
We walked down, got the bus to Place Léon Blum and walked past the mairie du 11e to Picard, where we (Robb) bought a bunch of dinner stuff. Picard is a frozen food company, but don't even think of American frozen food when you think of Picard. There is no comparison. For about €25, Robb got enough for several dinners. We aren't doing much actual cooking here, because the kitchen is less than conducive to cooking. All we have is a tiny two-burner stove and a micro-onde, so it's a lot easier to buy frozen stuff or eat out.
After returning to put the frozen food in the freezer, we decided we wanted to see whether or not L'Avenue was still where we remember it being, so we caught the 61 bus to Gare d'Austerlitz where we then got the 89 Bus to Bibliotheque François Mitterand. We then walked back to L'Avenue, which as it turns out is not on Avenue de France as I thought. I forgot how the streets change names every few blocks or so. We were then confronted with what to do next. It was way too early for dinner and way too late for lunch, so we decided to sit on the café terrace and have a café.
We drank our café slowly and thought perhaps we would walk over to the MK2, which is just next door. The MK2 is a large complex containing twelve movie theaters, several cafés, at least one club (the Limelight) and a store where you can buy DVDs. The current popular movie at MK2 is Indiana Jones. But they're already excitedly advertising the showing of Sex and the City around the end of the month.
We checked out the DVDs at MK2 and walked over to the Seine to check out the new passerelle Simone de Beauvoir, built since we were last here. We couldn't come all this way and not have a walk across, We took a long last look across the passerelle and started off. I walked as slowly as i could, stopping to take a few pictures as I went. The first was this picture of the Junk, an IN jazz club mostly known to just locals. Then, I couldn't very well pass up the opportunity to get this beautiful sailing vessel. Since it was pretty much the beginning of the rush hour, I snapped this picture of the traffic on the quai, although my timing was a bit off and it doesn't look much like rush hour traffic. From the middle of the passerelle,I took this picture in which, if you look real hard, you can see the spire and towers of Notre Dame just beyond the Pont de Bercy.
We made our way back across the passerelle (so called because it's for pedestrian traffic only), caught the 89 bus back to the Jardin des Plantes, where we got the 61 bus back to the apartment.
It had been an exhausting day for me, and evidently for Robb as well, since he fell asleep on the couch just after dinner while I was writing this entry.