Yes, we’re still here. Yes, I’m still tired. But I’m typing anyways.
We visited the Opera House (Palais Garnier) our first morning here (which made my inner phantom fan leap for joy.) On the Blvd. Haussmann behind the Opera was a department store with stained-glass dome roof and a spot for people to walk around . (On the roof, not the glass dome.) On that roof we ate the smoked salmon sandwiches we had packed with us and picked out all the taller sights of Paris that we could see (Eiffel Tower…Arc…Notre Dame…Sacre Coeur…) We looked at our map and Notre Dame was not too far away (just a mile and a half or so.) So we went back to ground level and headed off in that direction.
It was a really interesting walk. On the way there we found a back door to a church open and went on in; in turned out to be the St. Eustace Cathedral which, on that particular day, was having its floors cleaned. It was rather strange to hear the hum of the electric machinery echoing off the walls of such ancient architecture.
(Jeremy asked me to point out that I am sitting here typing next to a baguette and a big hunk of real butter in a wooden tub. Every sentence or so I stop typing and take a bite. I hope you are suitably envious.)
(I just took a bite right there. If we were speaking to each other, you would have to ask me to repeat myself, since my mouth is full and therefore incomprehensible.)
We sat a philosophized a bit about the state of the church in europe, then moved on, walking through alleys crowded with restaurants (the number of tibetan restaurants is astounding.) and whole stores selling nothing but old postcards.
We arrived at Notre Dame and went inside. I signed the guest book to prove we’d been there. We walked along the Seine looking at all the old books and lithographs for sale (and some original art.) I bought some chocolate ice cream that tasted exactly like brownie batter. Jeremy tasted it and made a face.
It was now mid- to late-afternoon. We stopped next to the Seine to look at our map and see how far away ‘home’ was. Turns out it was only a little further that the distance we had walked from the Opera to Notre Dame. So we decided to walk home.
We were doing well until we got outside Paris (Our hosts’ home is not in Paris proper.) and therefore could no longer use our map. We knew the general area it was in (but not exactly) and had forgotten the street name. We knew it was near smallish train station which, in, turn, was near the big train station, so when we found the larger one we knew we had to be close.
I did stop and try to ask someone where the smaller station was. This was unfruitful.
We remembered then that we had a card with our host’s address on it. So I asked someone else if they knew where that was. She didn’t.
But she took me down the street to a cafe and asked for me there (since my french was not so great) and, when the owner didn’t know, walked with us down to some sort of agency, turning to tell me that “surely they would know” before going on her way.
The lady and two men working there were very pleasant and set right away about finding our street on the map they had on the wall. One older man spoke a little broken English and, as I found out when he kept saying igual instead of same, spoke some Spanish too. So between my broken French and his broken English and Spanish we got our directions (turns out we were walking in the wrong direction.) and were home in less than ten minutes.