sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

November 9, 2008

paris, day 4
posted by soe 6:58 pm

So… before I launch into today’s adventures, I’m soliciting opinions. Our original plan has us departing Paris early Tuesday morning and returning Friday afternoon/evening before our Saturday flight home. Tuesday afternoon through Friday morning was supposed to be spent in Provence. As our time here dwindles and I realize how little we’ve managed to squeeze in, I’m wondering if we ought to change our plans and stay here. Will we regret changing the plans? Will we be glad to have had more time in one place? What do you think?

That thought shared, today was an adventure indeed. Remember how our plans called for a jam-packed day of a trip to Versailles followed by the Eiffel Tower and a boat ride along the Seine? Ummm, yeah… about that:

a) It helps if you pay attention when getting on a train out of town. If you have doubts or wonder how you know if you’re getting on the correct train…

b) pay attention. Make sure that the stops are ones you’re expecting. If you aren’t expecting any particular stops for a while…

c) make sure that the train is, for instance, going in the direction you expect. A train traveling northeast of your location is unlikely to be heading to a city southeast of it. Oops. But our travels to some northern suburbs of Paris did afford us a very nice view of a windmill on a hill in the distance…

Versailles’ loss was the Musee d’Orsay’s gain. We spent several hours wandering one of Paris’ former train stations — now home to the semi-Modern art museum covering the years from 1850 to 1915 (or so…). I always enjoy a nice Monet and do not particularly care for opulence, so this was probably a good turn of events…. Plus we got to have a drink in the cafe where we sat in front of a giant clock that reminded me of the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban movie. The only thing that confused me was why Mary Cassatt wasn’t included amongst the artists. I mean, I know she was technically American, but her work was all done from France, so generally that’s how she’s classified.

It was kind of chilly this evening with a brisk breeze, so we decided to postpone the boat ride until tomorrow, giving me a chance to procure a pashmina-style shawl to wear over my corduroy jacket. Thank goodness we made that decision because the crowds at the Eiffel Tower would never have permitted us to make the ride. The winds were bitter, particularly up on the top observation deck, but I’m so glad we went up to see the view. Really, really impressive. (I could do without the Eiffel Sparkle, though. It’s gorgeous from the ground, but kind of nauseating from up in the air.)

Tomorrow’s plans? Provided we have better luck following through on them, we’ll be heading to L’Arc de Triomphe and les Champs Elysses and Sacre Couer. And that bateau mouche ride, of course…

PS: Jenn, I ate that pain au chocolat for you today. We bought them at the farmers’ market at the Metro station, so I don’t think it could get much more authentic…

Category: travel. There is/are 4 Comments.

Are you able to stay an extra day in your hotel? I think if you have a chance to see Provence, you should go. Otherwise you only visited Paris. See some more of France. Would you have been happy if you only got to see London as opposed to the other parts of the country?

Comment by DOD 11.09.08 @ 8:19 pm

Whatever decision you make will be the right one – really, how can you go wrong – no matter where you are/go. And now I see Dad’s – hmmmm – are we at odds? Don’t know, but there’s always the opportunity of another trip around the corner!!!! List the things you still want to see in Paris and and weigh them against a list from outside Paris. Again, there will be no wrong decision. Only a second trip – ah, quel dommage!

Comment by Mum 11.09.08 @ 8:32 pm

Yummm!! I bet the pain au chocolat was as tasty as I imagine a real one to be! YUM!!!

Ack! Sorry about the train mixup, but it sounds like a good day, nonetheless!

Personally, I’d go onto Provence, but that’s me!

Comment by Jenn 11.09.08 @ 8:33 pm

Thanks for all the feedback. We’re going, although we came home later tonight than planned, so it will not be the earliest start we were hoping for…

Dad: I tried to think of it like that, but the best bits of the England trip were the parts we didn’t plan… so it’s hard to say. You are right, though, in that it’s good not to judge an entire country on one city (or area). I hope the Provencal people live up to the Parisians.

Mum: That’s the whole Catch-22 with travelling, isn’t it? You end up with so many places you want to go back to, plus the places you haven’t been yet… Are you sure there’s no long-lost rich aunt who’d like to endow my world jaunts?

Jenn: Today’s pain au chocolat, from an actual patisserie, was even better. You could taste the butter. Plus there were other tasty mousse-filled goodies… I’m so going to need to start working out when I get home….

Comment by soe 11.10.08 @ 8:57 pm