Saturday, 11 July 2015

June 30, 2015- Last Full Day in Paris, Sainte-Chapelle, Shopping, Fancy Dinner, Goodbye Montmartre

We Overdo it on our Last Day in Paris, Breakfast at Home, An Unlimited Metro Pass Because We Meant Business, Sainte-Chapelle Church, Pantheon Under Construction, Yet More Depot-Ventes, A Proper French Lunch, More Depot-Ventes, A Used Scottish Sweater is Not a Proper Souvenir, Hermes is Always the Answer, Sardine Tin Subway, A Fancy Dinner in Montmartre, Last Visit to Sacre-Coeur

Today was our final full day in Paris. We had breakfast at home and then went to the metro. We bought the unlimited one day pass for today, because we knew we'd be swiping more than four times (the magic number where it makes sense instead of buying a value pack of 10 tickets as we had been before).

First, we took the metro down to Ile de la Cite and joined the lineup for Sainte-Chapelle church. The church is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture and has one of the largest and oldest collections of original stained glass windows in the world. April though she had been to Paris a few times before had never been inside. Bill and April were blown away by the church once inside and agreed that it was more beautiful than larger Notre Dame or the perhaps more impressive Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca. The light filtering through the magnificent stained glass windows was ethereal.

We left the church and walked over the bridge and towards the Pantheon. It was under construction and closed, so we just walked around it.

We caught the metro to near to the Bois de Boulogne again to look in a few different Depot-Ventes for a unique French souvenir (in case you can't tell April loves vintage). We found a wonderful lunch at Le Francois Coppee. April had grilled chicken and fries. Bill had a steak and fries. For dessert, April had an apple tarte which tasted like a combination of apple pie and apple sauce, amazing (especially when vanilla ice cream was added at her request). Bill had sorbet. It actually tasted like the fruit that it was advertised to be. Why is it in Canada we have lost the ability to produce real fruit flavours and instead when you order say strawberry, it tastes like what someone who has never tasted a strawberry would think that strawberry tastes like based on looking at a photo of a strawberry and hearing other people's descriptions of what a strawberry actually tastes like?

We then took the metro to another area of town where there was a Depot-Vente that had seven different stores in the same street, Reciproque. Neither of us found anything other than the yellow cashmere sweater in like new condition that was from Scotland originally that April found. It didn't really scream French souvenir. Disappointed we went home. Bill saw that April needed a true French souvenir and roused her from the couch and out the door into the sweaty and super hot day again and back onto the metro.

On the metro there was some weird delay to do with one of the stations and it was impacting all the other ones (we could only hear part of the rapid French announcement as it was very crowded and loud in the metro). We eventually were able to get onto the train, but it was completely packed. April and Bill became separated and April, who was right against a central pole, became completely crushed and lodged against it after a few stops of a sea of more and more people fighting their way onto the train. All semblance of order and French politeness suddenly vanished in the panic for commuters to get home. Women were screaming for people to stop coming onto the train, everyone was sweating profusely, and April and Bill were very happy to emerge unscathed later near Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore.

Bill dragged April at high speed down the packed street, becoming lost only once, and then right into the flagship store of Hermes. They looked at a few things in the three story high store that was just closing. Mostly, the spectacle lay in the tourists who were dropping Euros like the world was ending (95% Chinese we'd say).  Finally, we viewed all of the gorgeous scarves and not being able to decide between a scarf that looked almost Moroccan and a little twilly scarf with a pattern and colour scheme that looked very 1970s, Bill bought both of them for April and whisked her out of the side door and back into the blazing day.

Unfortunately, the weird metro problem was still happening and we were crushed back onto the metro, this time with Bill making sure he was right by April. There could not have been even one more person on that train back to our apartment. You didn't even have to hold onto a pole because you were wedged in so tightly that you could not have fallen over even if you had tried. It was far more packed and chaotic than anything we experienced in Japan. This was the seventh and final time we swiped our metro card that day.

At the apartment we had a cool shower to erase the sweaty metro embraces we had just experienced, packed, and then dressed in fancy clothes to go out to a nice restaurant recommended by our host, Eric. The place appealed to us right away because it specializes in seafood, La Mascotte (it's been around since the 1870s). We climbed the hill halfway up Montmartre to the restaurant in suit and silk gown and had a lovely dinner of duck pate with toast, escargot, mussels, fries, fish and chips, and molten chocolate cake with vanilla cream sauce. We reflected how the Impressionists that we had observed in the galleries might have been sitting around that same restaurant living it up back in the day (the successful ones at least).

We left the restaurant and walked up Montmartre further to Sacre-Coeur where we overlooked Paris at night, straining our necks for a view of the lit up Eiffel Tower (while avoiding the African merchants who were now shoving beer in our faces instead of miniature Eiffel Towers).  We saw the searchlight on top of the Eiffel Tower shining out over the night and all of the many lights of marvelous Paris twinkling. We returned home to sleep our last night in the City of Lights.

13.14 km walked today.
Sainte-Chapelle Cathedral


Outside Hermes' flagship store in Paris

The Moulin Rouge in Montmartre

Our fancy dinner called for fancy clothes

Oh look in the mirror behind April

Farewell Sacre-Coeur

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