8 Octobre (Vendredi) - Another beautiful sunny and warm day after a terrible night.
Robb apparently has a condition called diverticulitis, which flares up occasionally and when it does, he has to be careful what he eats. Obviously, dinner last night was not a good idea and we will be back to eating soup for a few days or a week.
He says he feels okay now and we're going to try to ride over to BNP Paribas, Robb's bank, on Boulevard des Italiens. To do that, we caught the 43 Bus to Gare Saint-Lazarre where we got the 20 Bus to the Opéra. Boulevard des Italiens is only a few blocks from there. We were early enough that we stopped at Librairie del Duca and I bought a couple of CD packages. Four CDs for €12. I got Stéphane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt. Robb bought Stan Getz. While at the librairie (oh, in France, a librairie is a book store), I noticed the store that used to be FNAC is now a Monoprix. Right after I noticed that, I noticed that this has now become this. You can't see it in the picture, but the whole place is gutted. It must have been quite a fire.
Robb completed his business at the bank and we were off to Italie2 so we could go to Tati to get the pictures we need for our Navigo passes. We walked down to rue du 4 Septembre and hopped on the 20 Bus to Gare de Lyon. We were going to take the 57 Bus to Place d'Italie, but it was taking forever to arrive and more and more people were qeueing up, so we walked over to Gare de Lyon and caught a taxi. On our way to the taxi stand, we saw a gréve (strike) taking place in front of the train station. It was somewhat small as gréves go, only a handful of people were taking part.
Here's some advice about taxis during rush hour: DON'T. The taxis don't charge by the eighth of a mile like they used to, they charge by time, so while you're sitting at a traffic light in very heavy traffic, the meter is ticking happily. What should have been about a €4 or €5 ride, cost us €11.
We got our pictures at Tati and wandered around the mall for a while. We came across Jules, another of our favorite stores. Robb bought a couple pairs of jeans and a shirt. I bought rien (nothing). I think we'll be buying another suitcase.
It was after 19h00, so we decided to take the métro back to Charles de Gaulle-Étoile. I thought we could take the Champs-Elysées exit and use the escalator, but somehow we took the wrong exit and there was no escalator. At least, it was downhill to the apartment.
9 Octobre (Samedi) - Today, while standing on our balcon (which you can see is only big enough to stand), I saw the primary reason that parking on the corners should be illegal and result in a very heavy fine. Two pompier trucks came down the street. One appeared to be a regular fire truck, but the other was an emergency vehicle. They couldn't get past the cornerbecause a guy was parked there. They had to wait until he came back and moved his car. Now suppose there had been a real emergency with someone's life at stake? It's great that the French feel the world is theirs to do with as they please, but even the dullest fool can see that blocking the street is just wrong.
At the bank yesterday, I saw another Parisian first. The receptionist was chewing gum.
Today, we spent the day doing mostly nothing but walking around. We started with a walk down Avenue des Ternes, stopping at every bank we passed, in which Robb would try to change his large notes for smaller ones. He was turned down at every bank, including a branch of BNP, his bank.
During our walk, we came across an interesting church, Saint Ferdinand. We went inside to have a look. It was very nice. On the way back to the apartment, we stopped at Monoprix to get some wine and more soup.
I decided to go to G-20 to get batteries for my camera because they were just trop cher (too expensive) at Monoprix. The wine was way over-priced at Monoprix also. Speaking of batteries, has anyone used those rechargeable batteries? Are they worth the cost?
After getting the batteries and leaving G-20, we walked up to Place Charles de Gaulle-Étoile. We hung out for awhile, then I got brave. I decided we could walk all the way around the Place. Now, to those of you for whom walking is easy, let me tell you, that's quite a long walk for me. It took some time, but we made it all the way around to the Champs-Elysées. Just in time for a parade that an elderly Frenchman informed us, takes place every evening. I'm sorry I didn't have my camera with me, but it was an impromptu trip.
10 Octobre (Dimanche) - Sunny, bright but much cooler. The good news is that the afternoon sun warms the apartment for a few hours. The bad news is that shortly after the sun disappears, it gets cold rapidly.
We almost made it here. We started by walking to the 31 Bus stop Saw this version of Paris Post-Its. Caught the bus to Étoile. Before, we got off the bus, I saw the MacMahon Cinema was doing a tribute to Tony Curtis. Walked over and waited for the 73 Bus which would drop us at the Champs-Elysées Clemenceau stop, which is a few feet from the Grand Palais. We waited few minutes, then I checked the Time of Arrival screen. Pas de Service (no bus today). I cussed a lot as we walked to the métro station.
Note to the Mayor of Paris: If you hope to eliminate automobile traffic in your city, you need to have a RELIABLE alternative!
We rode to the Champs-Elysées Clemenceau station, took the escalator, and upon exiting, discovered our previous mistake. To see the Monet show, you don't enter through the main entrance in the front, you go to the back.
There were a couple of security people directing traffic. If you were one of the smart ones, and had bought your ticket online, you go right in. If you're not-so-smart (us) you go this way, where you stand in line for hours for the privilege of buying your ticket. We waited, in the cold of the shade, until we realized that the place would close before we even got to the ticket window. Gadzooks, foiled again!
Well, at least we got out of the apartment for a few hours. Ours is the second from the top.
You can see all the Paris pictures here: Paris 2010