November 2, 2023
Today started with the breakfast buffet at the hotel. The buffet presentation was nicely done, with a large variety of food available. Among the items included were crepes, which were very good. We were both surprised at how good they were despite being served at a buffet. Nancy added a berry mixture to her crepes, which tasted great, and Karen went with maple syrup which she enjoyed. The hardest part of the buffet was figuring out how to work the coffee machine!
We had heard that today would be very windy in Paris. There was a huge storm hitting northern France and the winds were expected reach down to the Paris area. Most tours to Normandy were cancelled for today due to concerns about the wind. We have a tour to Normandy scheduled for tomorrow, so we hope it will still happen. When we stepped outside to begin our city tour we were “blown away” (more about that later), and very glad that our tour would be on a bus. The record winds of more than 160 kph (100mph) slammed the coast of Normandy, uprooting trees and blowing out windows from Storm Ciaran.
Paris is a beautiful city, and there is so much to see that a three-hour bus tour can’t cover it all. The sites we did see included the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triumph, the Trocadero, the Grand and Small Palais, the Pantheon, the Invalides, and the Seine river adorned with the bridges of different architectural styles that cross it. The most noteworthy and inspiring site was the Cathedral of Notre Dame. While there is still much work to be done to rebuild the cathedral after the devastating fire of 2019, the scaffolding is gone on the front of the cathedral and it looks beautiful. It has been repaired and cleaned and presents a feeling of hope that the cathedral will survive this tragedy.
Although it was still windy, after the tour we all went to a Boulangerie across the street from our hotel to grab some lunch. On the way back the wind gusted even more and knocked over one woman crossing the street, and almost knocked Denise down also, but a nice young man behind her caught her and helped her stay upright. Scary!
So, with all that wind blowing one would think that we would stay inside for a while; but no, off we went to the Louvre! After a short wait in line we got into the museum. Knowing that there was no way we could see everything in the few hours we had there, we headed toward the museum’s best-known inhabitant – Mona Lisa. During the walk to get there, we passed many other fabulous works of art. Then, we headed downstairs to see Winged Victory and Venus de Milo, again passing more fabulous statuary and stonework. And we ended with a visit to the gift shop (of course)!
Nicolle met us outside the Louvre, and we headed back to her apartment, which is also filled with beautiful pieces of art. After a delicious dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant near her apartment we walked to the Eiffel Tower to see it lit up at night. It was fantastic! While it was sad saying goodbye to Nicolle, at least we could look forward to seeing her again when we are in Paris for the 2024 Olympics!
Tomorrow - Normandy...