Lundi - After all the cold, miserable days, we have a day that is warm and beautiful. Temp around 24C.
Friday (Vendredi), Robb got a letter from BNP Parisbas informing him that his debit card was ready for pick-up today for the acount he decided he didn'want to open. Unfortunately, he didn't get that mesage to the people in the US who were sending the necessary funds to open the account, so he reluctantly has a French bank account. Sort of. We hopped on the bus(es) and went to the bank. After several clerks, he was finally told that the card won't be ready until next week. On top of all that, he still needs to deposit another €500 into the account because by the time they got the funds and deposited them, the exchange rate had risen so it wasn't enough Are you beginning to get an idea of what it's like to deal with the French? Nothing is easy and very little is logical. I can now fully understand what he meant, when someone told me that dealing with the French when you want to get something done in a reasonable time, is absolutely frustrating. We left the bank dreading the return next week.
We tried something with the 20 bus that we had done with the 69. That is, we took it to the end of the line (Gare St-Lazare) to ride it back without getting off. It didn't work this time. Then when we were looking for the place to re-board, we couldn't find it, but in the process, Robb noted that the 26 went to Nation, so we hopped on and had a nice ride all the way across the city. Not only was it a great sightseeing tour (some of which one might not want to see), but it dropped us off at the exact location to get the next bus, from which we could see these columns, but very close-up.
While we were waiting, we decided to cross the street to several restaurants we saw. The first we tried was the Marco Polo. We were comfortably seated in a table in the corner of the café terrasse and the waiter brought the menu. Oops. Talk about expensive. I mean, okay, they had some nice decorative touches, but not enough to qualify for those prices. We had wondered why there were so few people there. We collected our things and left.
Practically next door was the Chez Prosper, which was crowded. We have to learn to start reading these signs. Crowded restaurant = good food, resonable prices; empty restaurant = food may not be too good, outrageous prices. We had a full meal of moules (mussels) and frites (fries) with une biere (a beer) for less than it would have cost for the entrée at the Marco Polo. I don't normaly eat bread with my meals, but their bread was so fresh and good, I ate several pieces. If you've never been to a French restaurant (even the cheap little local places), they always give you a basket of bread, which is usually, but not always, a sliced baguette. It will amost always be great. We stayed quite a while at the restaurant, even having another biere (if you've read my posts for any length of time, you know we rarely drink beer). We were, technically, sitting inside, but they had all the doors wide open, so it was like sitting on the terrasse with all the amenities of people watching, but without the extra cost. You do pay more if you sit on the terrasse, but it's mostly worth the extra cost. The only problem now, is that all the smokers sit there because of the new "no smoking" rules.
We left the restaurant and were going around in circles for the next hour or so. Literally, since the Place Nation is concentric circles. There is a large sculpture in the middle of the inner circle. I probably, shouldn't have done it, but I wanted to walk all the way around before getting the bus back to the apartment. It was a really nice walk and we saw a lot of neat stuff. I had forgotten to bring my camera, again, so until we get back there, I can't put up any pictures, except whatever I can find of the internet. We stopped at one wine cave where Robb asked about getting a bottle of absinthe. The owner told him that they used to carry it but it's difficult to get a good quality anymore so they stopped selling it.
We came across a Casino and followed two English speaking people, who had just left the Irish Pub, into the store. Just as they entered, the guy asked, "Do you think they sell beer?" I said, "Absolutely." They were surprised to hear someone speaking English. We saw them a while later, but they still had no beer.
We walked back to the bus stop and returned home.
Plus à venir, mes amis.