2 April – Saturday


Hotel Camille Paris Gare de Lyon, Tapestry Collection by Hilton

Ah, Paris. It had been 24 hours traveling and we just wanted to get to our hotel. But, the Eurostar got in to Gare du Nord...and we had to get to Gare du Lyon -- across town -- then to our hotel, not far from the Bastille. But, it was night, with another long line for very few cabs! Too far to walk. Had a heck of a time finding a Metro station, pullng our bags up and down stairs (oh, for the efficiencies and access of German train stations!), dealing with a tribe of young, sweet, helpful kids who turned out to be pickpockets, coming up from the Metro at Bastille, then finding no cab that would take us to our hotel (too short for them; a hike for us). FINALLY, the Hotel Camille, a lovely HIlton Tapestry hotel. Renovated turn of the last century place. Warmth, comfort, free breakfast, good wi-fi.

Woke to a stunning Sunday morning -- clear, sunny, but chllly. From our hotel on the right bank, we hiked down to the Seine. On our way, saw barricades and heard shouting. The Paris Marathon! We aller-aller-ed them a bit then continued to Notre Dame to check on the repairs. Can't get very close to the portal; still remarkable to experience the site.

Since we've both been to Paris a few times, we just wanted to take it easy and see some favorite things. There was a line for Ste Chappelle so we reserved tix for the afternoon. We took a tour bus around the city for a couple of hours -- so relaxing and lovely! Two thrills by bus -- driving around the Arch de Triomph and entering a narrow portal into the Louvre, going around IM Pei's pyramid and out again.

At the bus stop across from Notre Dame, we went into the first brasserie we came to, right at the corner, and were ushered into a table with a stunning view of the church. Perfect tourist thrill. And, the food, wine and service were surprisingly good, too.

Of course, we had to visit a place connected with St Vincent. Though it's a lovely church with and impressive organ, no remnants of the saint are here. Believe they're part of the Notre Dame collection. Our choir director said that there was a disagreement in the past with the Vincentians and the church was placed in diocesan care.

This used to be one of my favorite places on earth, so we had to return to St Louis' glory of a chapel. Though professional hushers or recordings tried to reduce the chattering, the crowds prevented having as contemplative an experience as I've had in the past. Still, that glorious medieval stained glass. So few sites from that era remain in post-Revolution France.

The fun thing to discover after painfully climbing Montmartre to Sacre Couer is, voila, there is an elevator! Wonderful views of the city here, of course. Had a lovely meal in the artists' area and village behind the church. I think it was the same place my cousin and I went to years ago, La Mere Catherine. Great mussels!