Saturday, September 7, 2019

London & Paris 2019 - Day 5 (9/5/2019) - Paris sightseeing

A good chunk of the itinerary today was planned sightseeing included with the tour.  The breakfast at the hotel was another buffet, with a spread that rivaled (or perhaps exceeded) that of the Park Plaza in London; my mom preferred this breakfast to that one.  The tour group meeting time was 8:45am, and we left a little later than that (there was a little confusion when Doug counted the guests after boarding the coach and found 2 missing).

The morning began with a driving around Paris, covering some of the same ground as the night before, but with with sunlight out.  A couple more differences were that Anna was doing the narration this time, and there was significantly more road traffic.  These factors all combined to make me struggle to stay awake during some of the drive, and I indeed partially drifted off at times.  The drive ended at the river side, where we boarded a boat for a 1 hour cruise on the Seine.  As in London, this was a good way to see the city, though perhaps slightly less so.  The tour started adjacent to the Eiffel Tower, headed east and around the City Island, and then returned to the dock of origin.


After the cruise we dropped Anna off on our way to Montmartre.  There we boarded the "Little Train" and took that up the hill to the parking lot of the Sacré-Cœur Basilica.  While this cheesy mode of transport is not something that I would normally consider, it was not a bad way to get the "experienced" demographic on the tour up the hill along narrow roads where the coach couldn't go.  Up at the top Doug told us a bit about the church and then led us on a short walk to the restaurant where we would have a light lunch (La Bonne Franquette).  I was stuck with onion soup as he veg-friendly choice, but my mom switched to the soup from the quiche lorraine after seeing the soup come out.  This soup didn't disappoint her, as it had a healthy serving of cheese on top, along with good broth and robust bread dipped in.  The chocolate crepe that followed, however, was not nearly as tasty.


After lunch we had about an hour of free time, as we passed on the optional walking tour with Doug.  We took this time to do a little souvenir shopping and check out the inside of he basilica.  We were early to meet up with the rest of the group before the designated 3:10pm time for a return ride down the hill on the "train".  From there we took the bus back to the hotel.

We didn't spend too much time at the hotel before deciding to head out to the flagship Louis Vuitton store on the Champs-Élysées.  On the short walk to the Saint-Sébastien - Froissart Metro station we encountered Keith and Tammy, a couple from Atlanta (and the only other two black people on the tour), and invited them along with us.  The four of us descended into the station and (with some help from a clerk on duty) bought a 10-pack of tickets (which was actually a little cheaper than buying 8 individual single-ride tickets.  We took the 8 train to Bastile and then transferred to the 1 to George V, coming up right across the street from the store.  After a brief wait in line (yes, the store normally has a line to enter), we entered the store, and then Mom and Tammy led us around.  In the end I bought my mom a purse.  Oh, and while you wait for them to prepare your purchased items they offer you a drink - Mom took Champagne and I took an orange juice.

After the LV store we all decided to get dinner, and found an Italian restaurant nearby named Caffe' Italiano.  I had a 3-course combo with a surprisingly basic "bruschetta" and a cheese pizza that they marketed as "margherita"; though that's not to say that the food was bad.  The chocolate cake dessert was the least basic of the 3 items, but it wasn't really any better; again, it wasn't bad food.  After dinner we reversed our subway route on the way back to the hotel.  I should give props to my mom for handling the stairs in the subway stations like a champ despite her knee giving her pain when she walked down them.

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Pictures: https://photos.app.goo.gl/hk6N4X5QW6gkSLxP9

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