Left JFK on 8:30 TW A flight. Harriet offered a ride to the airport -- I should have known better. She was a 1/2-hour late. Not calming, but no big deal in the end. Flight not too crowded. I swapped seats to get 1) two seats for me, and 2) to let California couple sit together. Paid off. in spades. After nice 5-hour nap and flight, they taxied me into Paris and saved that whole hassle. Day hazy and raining. Went by Eiffel Tower and found (after brief panic) hotel. Felt. raunchy -- TIRED and queasy -- so crashed for the afternoon... Crawled out in a fog to meet Ray Calame, wife Paula, sister-in-law and husband at Harry's Bar. Drinking under Ivy League -- and Wellesley -- banners. Great idea. Then fun, laughing. dinner across the street. Nice intra. It would have been hard to go out alone tonight. Instead I. had lots of fun. Crashing now. On the move in the am I hope. Paris, je t'aime..
Walk through St. Germain to Square St. Michel -- shades of last year. Then to Notre Dame. This time up to see the gargoyles and watch the sun come out. Checked out Bourbon Bell (BIG) in south tower. Then inside for mass. Je suis le chemin, la verite, et la vie. Sounds impressive in French too. Over to Sainte Chapelle. What a jewel. No one prepared me for the glow -- the decorated pillars et al AND the windows. Magical. Tramped back along left bank then for view and over to the Ile St. Louis. Finally grabbed lunch in a tearoom. Between time zones and shyness, meals are the worst of traveling. Then back to La Cite with sun beaming. Ran into Win Sheffield -- surprise -- and confirmed dinner plans. Then down on the quay. Under water last year. Tried to walk to Luxembourg Gardens, but got caught by rain right at the gates. Holed up under arcade of the Odeon, then back to hotel to crash. Called Jim. Plans up in the air as usual. Collected Win for nice dinner on Rue Nazarine, then home to recoup from too much wine..
Gray day but no rain TG. First metro to Place de Vosges. Neat 57th St type stores in the arcades.. Then to Pompidou Center. What a trip! It's as good as Riverside complete with a Red Grooms. sort of fountain. Lunched there, but exhibits did nada for me, so popped to Louvre. Saw highlights only -- plenty -- Winged Victory, Venus de Milo, Psyche and Cupid, Goya, Mona. Lisa, de la Tour. Quite content. Still gray so did not stop in Tuilleries but went to WH Smith for. books instead. Just like Regent Street, but prices in ff's. Home, pooped, for a brief rest, then. dinner (I'm getting better) at bistro on Rue St. Andre des Arts. Good food. Tres gai waiters,. straight customers. Just like home. Praying for sun tomorrow..
I didn't realize how my (public) virtue had been so well protected last year. Last night I wore my red pants and red jacket and drew stares EVERYWHERE. And God knows what comments. Today I was in khaki and red and the answer was the same. Toujours la France...Spent the day at Versailles, my poor aching feet. Train out, then the palace. Interior as I. remembered and aside from La Salle de Glace, not a candle to the Hermitage or the Summer Palace. But the size and the grounds!!! I hoofed down the Grand Canal, then to the Grand Trianon. Skipped interiors. (Petit as well, since enough is enough after the main chapel, apartments, and opera house.) Found Petit Trianon and -- Disneyland -- l'Hameau. Wonderful, but stage-set. Back to palace seemed like forever. Weather gray with bits of sun then showers. Trees green, lit from within like some orderly forest primeval. Endless. I never realized how vast -- yes, that's the word -- Versailles' grounds are. And this is just a remnant... Train back, then dinner at Polidor in St. Germain. Ended up with French oil engineer, very. pleasant and relatively unpressured. Beat eating alone. No that's not fair. he was very pleasant, I just got a wee bit tense. Is everyone on the make, or am I paranoid? Anyway, lots of. wine so I'll sleep well tonight. Yesterday I prayed for sun. Tonight I'm more practical: let's try. for temperatures over 60 degrees..
Beautiful day. Sun shining. Did a lot of hoofing -- first to St. Martin's Canal which is just a bit off the beaten track. Then to see a truly active canal with locks, etc. right in the middle of Paris. Then up to Sacre Coeur. What a gray dump of a church. Inside. Outside weird, but spectacular. Had a sandwich on the steps before walking through Montmartre. Swarms of tourists. Then out. Metro'd to Left Bank and located the Arene de Lutece. Fun but a pity it's been restored so it looks like not much. Then a stroll through the Botanical Gardens. Loved the greenhouse, but would have preferred flowers to plants. When are the flowers out?? . ? . Strolled back along the quay feeling tired and lonely. Also hit Notre Dame. Back to hotel for a nap.(some help) then pizza and beer for dinner (more help). After, took vedetta tour from Pont Neuf. which was tourist tacky fun. I think doing at night helps loads. Returned to find Jim had called.("M. Glenn") so day ended very up..
Agonized over having to change hotel, but now know I've got something better at 1/2 the price. The Hotel St. Thomas Aquin on Rue Pre des Clercs. Started to tour by mid morning, but threatening after breakfast so went to Jeu de Paume. Packed but fun. Impressionists not my era..(Too much scenery?) Walked to Opera (nothing doing) and on -- in rain -- to Galeries Lafayette. And Lafayette I am here! Found a (French) Cabbage Patch doll for Laura, so my trip is made. Now for Brian. After lunch went to Guimet Museum which is gorgeous: quiet, serene, and Asian. Chinese porcelains were fabulous. Thai (Khmer) sculpture fine Afghani carvings Tibet impressive, but not as, uh, artistic. What a place though. Walked home via Trocadero and Tour Eiffel (base), then metro...Lovely dinner at Le Boeuf a Table on Rue Jacob. Weather warm and the waiter (young) was pleasant and friendly..
Weary, dreary day. Shopped Galeries Lafayette and Printemps and found car: red Jaguar for. Brian. But boring. In am had gone to Madeleine and Opera -- frustration! Just beyond the roped off area, I could hear a ballet class in progress. OOH!! I wish I'd found a way to sneak in!.. Afternoon washed hair and moped waiting for a call to/from Jim. Planes screwed up. Holiday.. Maybe he'll come on Sunday. Feeling very low. Dinner (under protest!) at crepe place, then. crashed..
Better now. Relocated courtesy of old hotel to Hotel Danube around the corner. Hit Cluny.Museum (Gothic) first, then Rodin. Got Jim and confirmed he'll be here tonight. TG. Then to. Luxembourg Gardens and Notre Dame. Ah! Hit the rosary (1 think) and then high mass with. organ. Waiting, most un-Catholicly for tonight..
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