Monday, July 21, 2008

Paris 2008 - 17-18 Juillet

Jeudi - Robb went to a funeral at Pére Lachaise today. Of course, he didn't know he was going to a funeral, he had just planned a short walk in the cimetière and came across the service. According to the information he overheard, it was a young woman of about 24 who apparently was well-liked.

Around 20h00, we walked down, settled into our seats in the very back of the 69, behind an American family of dad, mom, two daughters and one son. Judging from the conversations we couldn't help overhearing, it was their first time in Paris, except for the dad who would point out things from time to time as we rode to the Champ de Mars.

If any of you are familiar with Rick Steves, you know he always mentions rue Cler in every show he does about Paris. We have never been there. I want to rectify that today, but I wasn't really sure where to get off the bus in order to get there. As luck would have it, when we got to the area where it's located, the bus was stuck behind a garbage truck. That meant that the bus could only move forward as the truck made it's pick ups. It also meant that I had time to check the street signs. We had no sooner passed rue Cler than the bus had to stop, less than a block past it. I ran up to the driver and asked, in my best French, if he would let us off. That is usually a big no-no, as the bus only stops at designated bus stops. But the driver was very accomodating. He pulled over to the sidewalk and opened the doors. We thanked him and jumped off.

We walked back to rue Cler for our first, and most likely, last look at the street made famous by Rick Steves. It's a lot smaller in real life than it appears on his TV show and in pictures. To be fair, it was about 20h30 and the markets for which it's so famous were closed, but still there wasn't much to recommend it. On top of that, every restaurant we passed was overflowing with tourists. We had hoped to find a place on the rue in which to have dinner before attempting our primary objective of the evening. It's also supposed to be pedestrian only, but there were a lot of cars driving through.

As we continued down the rue, Robb noticed a place on one of the side streets. It too, was crowded, but mostly on the café terrasse while the interior was mostly empty. We could tell from the conversations that most of the clientele were French. So we had a blah dinner at the Bistrot. It was okay, but far from great. Our waitress was a lovely girl who, though she is French, has only been in Paris for a few months. She seems to have been just about everywhere. She told us she needed to practice her English because she was going to start a job in which she needed to speak English.

After, we walked over to the Champ de Mars for the main event of the evening, la Tour Eiffel in its new decorative coat of blue. Because France is the seat of power in the European Union for the next six months, la Tour Eiffel has been bathed in blue light, both inside and out. On the side facing the Trocadero, are the golden stars that can be found on the EU flag. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it was even more beautiful than I thought it would be.

18 Juillet (Vendredi) - Sinus headache.

Plus à venir, mes amis.

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