Well, day 6 was a much slower day. The problem most tourists have is that they have to jump from point to point to place to place to "see all the good stuff" when in fact, they walk past most of it without even knowing it. Mike and Bill went to Chartres to see the giant cathedral there. Will and I went on a much different trek. We took the metro to Bastille where we wandered the open-air markets and shops around that part of town, and kept walking until we finally decided to go to Opera to see the Palais Garnier (The Opera House). Saw more than a few gypsies, and then wandered into the Galleries Layfayette, a massive department store of the very finest kind (check the pictures!!). Wandered back to the apartment pretty slowly, taking in the different sites, sounds, and smells. These things are what differentiates a traveler from a tourist.
I've finally got some more photos uploaded! Check the Photo Gallery to see what we've been up to.
Well, we slept in this morning until about 11ish. Well, we were only up until about 4:30 so its not like we had an excuse right? Anyway, we used the washing machine again before we went out for food and then Bill and I set off to return the car. Let me say this publically -- France, you need better street signs on your major (N and A) roads. Period. There was no sign marking where to turn and we drove for 20 minutes in the wrong direction on the A12 before we got a place to turn around. Of course, we passed through a toll-booth, at 7.30 euro. And when we turned around, another 7.30 euro. 40 minutes wasted and almost 15 euro. Thanks....
Don't know how I forgot this the first time, but yes, we did drive around the Arc De Triomphe and we survived to tell about it. Rednecks would pay money to watch the way people fight to drive around that thing. It's about 8 lanes (if there were any lanes marked) of total chaos - you just hang on and go for it. Bill's death-grip on the steering wheel has left a permanent impression I'm afraid.....lol Anyway, check the pictures!
Today started out with a Croissant and a short walk to the meeting point for our tour of the D-Day landing sites. We booked a tour with Overlord Tours and our guide, Olivier, picked us and 4 other folks from Louisiana for about a 8 hour adventure. We saw Omaha beach, Utah Beach, Pointe du Hoc, the American Cemetery, and about a million other things. After the tour was over, we high-tailed it out of Bayeux and went on toward Mont Saint-Michel. We got there about 7:30 or so and milled around for a couple hours, and got to see the sun go down over the Atlantic. Let me say that of all the things I have ever seen the lit-up fortress of Mont Saint-Michel is the most spectacular. Period. Bill thought that he wanted to rule the world from William's castle in Caen but after seeing this thing totally changed his mind. Too bad I called dibs on it first...lol. After this was a 3:30 trip back to Paris.
Started out with a trip to the police department to file a report for lost passport. Which was followed by a trip to the area near Concorde to find a photographer, then followed by a trip to the US Embassy to get a replacement. Although it went very smoothly and the embassy runs very efficiently, it is NOT an experience I can recommend.
This morning, we all got some much needed rest. We were going to get up pretty early but due to some bad alarm programming we actually slept in until about 9:30. After milling around the apartment for an hour or so, everyone else left and I got my stuff around. There's a really cool top-loading drum-style washing machine in the apartment, but no dryer. I did a load of laundry and dropped them off to dry at the local laundrymat to dry while I sat off to find lunch. After another sandwich kebab (lol) I picked up the laundry and went back to the apartment. After deciding a nap was the order of the day, I crashed for a couple of hours and then set off on my own private adventure. I took off walking, and had no real idea where I was heading except that at 4:30 I was to be at Notre Dame. Today, I became a true frenchman as I was caught up in a protest over education spending (or something like that). I came out of a street and as I attempted to pass some people I was met by about 50 others joining a crowd of thousands protesting. There were cops everywhere and Canal TV was there also.
Updated as of 00:51 14 May
and yes, I know some of the pictures are broken.
Well, we made it to Paris! The flight was about like I expected -- had the feeling of being chained to a radiator for 10 hrs. Drama on the flight -- the people sitting next to us were a gay couple who were celebrating their 30th anniversary who was throwing a fit because they wanted to be in first class. I don't know if they had booked a ticket there, or what but the flight crew was doing some serious schmoozing....idk
We landed about 9:40 local time (GMT +1) and after navigating the chaos that is Charles de Gaulle Airport we found the RER and headed into the city. This was Will and Mike's first experience with the metros. That went pretty well, but when we got into Gare du Nord to switch lines a little more explaining how the system works was in order. We had found the apartment by 11:30 (I LOVE Google Maps!!) and then set off in search for the elusive Sandwich Grec (aka Doner Kebab. Turns out, there are 3 such establishments within 5 min walk from the apartment. Whooooo!!
Well, made it to Dallas. The flight was bumpy for a bit but we finally got out of the weather. Landing on the other hand, a bit bouncy. lol. Anyway, found some internet in the airport and thought that I'd use it to upload a pic or 4 the Photo Gallery and check my email a couple more times. Will update again when we make it to Paris. A bientot!
Well, Little Rock National Airport just further solidified its place as my favorite airport in the USA. Free Wi-Fi in the terminal. whooo!! So here I am using it to update my blog...lol Anyway, I am watching my place, a CRJ-700 pull to the gate. Its American Airlines Flight 3842 to DFW, followed by American Airlines 48to CDG. Should be fun!! More to follow....