The flight over on Air France was on-time and amazingly quiet considering the plane was full and included 44 members of a French soccer team touring the U.S. with their families. I sat next to a young man from Dunkirk who spoke as much English as I spoke French. He loved the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and Death Valley. After dinner the window shades went down and the entire plane went silent for the rest of the 11 hour flight. Tiny movie screens over the aisles, seats so small even Howard complained, but only $600 per seat each way.
La Tour Maubourg was a quick trip by metro from L'Opera where we had been dropped off by the RoissyBus from the airport. The elevator up to the apartment was tiny — one person and one suitcase at a time. We were quickly back on Avenue de la Motte Piquet for a quick hike to Ecole Militaire and the Eiffel Tower. Next? Our first meal in Paris
As recommended by Christine Piccin in the SRJC class "Why We Love Paris" we had lunch at Le Dome because we could see the Eiffel Tower (see happy grin above). French beer tastes fruity and is infused with herbs. Howard never would get used to it, but he loved the wine!
We had watched hours of video on the Louve but our visit was so short we only saw the highlights: Venus de Milo, Winged Victory, Mona Lisa ("It's so small," Howard said). Found the huge paintings by David in the gallery behind the Mona Lisa thanks to directions from classmate Sheila Albert.
Howard was dazzled by the Louvre. I kept whispering, "This is Louis XIV's second best palace. Wait'll you see Versailles!" But we will have to wait for our next trip to see it. Howard was especially impressed with the ancient statues, both marble and bronze and the vaulted galleries, arched rooms and decorated ceilings.
Howard read "The DaVinci Code" to prepare for the trip, but the Madonna of the Rocks was in a special exhibition requiring a separate admission. We ran out of energy before we saw it.
As the afternoon wore on we got hungry and tired and had a hard time finding the #69 bus stop which was hidden behind the big double-decker tour buses. We walked over the bridge back to the Left Bank and waited in the drizzle after discovering that not all busses stopped at all bus stops. Figuring out the bus system took a few days but it was worth it. The maps at each stop became an important tool when we became "temporarily disoriented."
The long flight caught up with us and we were exhausted. The 69 bus droppped us off on Rue de Grenelle (see map) where we had a bite to eat in the middle of the afternoon then hiked up to Rue Cler as the shops were closing. The lady in the wine shop did not speak much English, asked what kind of cheese we going to get. She recommended "vache" instead of "chevre." As we left, I chuckled. American cheese from "vache" is so mild she probably wouldn't even eat it. Our apartment is at point A on the map.