Saturday, September 10th–Paris

Breakfast in the hotel; a late start and a long walk down to and along the Seine; lunch across the street at Breakfast in America; the Open Tour's other, Marais route; pho dinner and snack shopping in the neighborhood; down the street to St Paul's church for the Alegria Orchestra performing Vivaldi, Pachelbel, Bach, Caccini, Schubert, Bizet, Gounod & Verdi

Grand Hotel Malher



I wasn't in any hurry to get started today although I did get up early enough to make it downstairs for in time breakfast.

While I was getting ready to go to bed last night after finishing my notes from yesterday I found myself very awake, at least as awake as I am on a sunny day after a good night's rest. I went out on the courtyard to get some fresh air and noticed that the guy working the night shift on the reception desk was in the lobby and watching TV so I went in to say "Hi". His name is Alex, and oddly enough he comes from Atlanta GA although I didn't ask him how the heck he wound up here working the night shift in a hotel in Paris. Mom would have, but my curiosity didn't outweigh my "none of my business" sense.

I finally fell asleep sometime around 3 AM, I think, and slept OK until I woke up shortly after 9. I threw on some clothes and took the elevator downstairs for some orange juice, tea, pain chocolat, and yogurt. I then came back up here and collapsed for a couple of hours although I'm not sure if I got back to sleep much. I didn't get around to moving again until after 11 and in fact I was still toweling off after my shower when housekeeping wanted to know if my room could be cleaned. Since I had opened the bathroom window to let some steam out I just asked out the window if they could come back.

I got out of here around 12:30 PM and still didn't feel hungry yet. I told myself that when I did I'd actually stop for lunch somewhere unlike yesterday when I didn't.

I went for a long walk, the longest I've done in a while. I had mapped out a route, which I followed for the most part, occasionally taking a different street going in the same direction. Instead of going directly from the hotel to the Seine, which is only a few blocks away, I took the long way around and went up to the Place de la Bastlille and then back down Rue Henri IV and across the Pont de Sully to L'Ile de la Cite, along the Seine instead of through the center of the isle to the Pont St Louis and across to L'Ile St Louis and Notre Dame.

I haven't mentioned this before but since I've been here in Paris I've heard more police and ambulance sirens than I even did back in London–far more than in Dublin, Galway, Glasgow & Edinburgh. When we came out the Gare du Nord on Thursday I noticed that there were armed soldiers on guard at the entrance. I think it was yesterday when I saw a whole convoy of police vehicles traveling with sirens blaring, which I usually don't see back home unless it was for a police or fire funeral at the Broward performing arts center. And there were armed soldiers at the entrance to Notre Dame as well. With the tragic and nasty terrorist attacks here in Paris since I left two years ago, I am certainly not questioning the need, I am saddened by it. Damn all who make such precautions necessary.

I didn't go into Notre Dame this time, since I come back earlier some other day and avoid the lines which weren't actually that bad when I went past. I was amused that another lone tourist asked me to take a picture on her cell phone of her in front of Notre Dame. I had noticed that I could barely see my own phone's screen in broad, very sunny daylight. (I figured out how to increase the brightness of the display later, which should help.)

I went down to the end of L'Ile St Louis to the Vedettes du Pont Neuf and the Square du Vert Galant where a medium sized group of people seemed to be having some function. I then went back up the steps to the Pont Neuf, up to Rue de Rivoli and home.

I stopped back here at my room to use my own bathroom and went back out to find somewhere to have lunch. Plan A was to find somewhere along the Rue de Rosiers, the old Jewish quarter here in the Marais which is a couple of blocks away, but there were lines at most of the falafel places and I really didn't want take away to eat back here. Plan B was to go Scottish for lunch and eat at the Auld Alliance, the Scottish pub down the street from Au Bourguignon du Marais where I had bought dinner for everyone as my Christmas present when we were here two years ago and the church of St Gervais-St Proteas where Mom & Dad renewed their wedding vows on their last trip to Paris together. (My siblings and I all have a picture taken of them standing out in front of the church's famous red doors afterwards). There was a match on the TV at the Auld Alliance, and once again I can come back when it's not as crowded.

I really hadn't seen anywhere I really felt like having lunch, so I just went across the street from the hotel to Breakfast in America, an American diner here in Paris. I had a very good cheese & mushroom omelet with fried potatoes that were quite good, too.

I knew that the Open Tour bus I was on yesterday has a route that goes through the Marais as well and up the Rue de Rivoli, the main street around the corner, and had seen a couple of buses coming back yesterday but didn't know where the stops were so I just walked on up the street. Before I found the stop I had been passed by two of their buses, which shows how often they run.

This route, their Blue line, goes through parts of Paris I'd never been to before and also goes past some places I had been interested in visiting the last time I was here. For instance, it went past the Viaduc des Arts and the Promenade Plantee on top, which I never got around to finding last time although it's not that far from here and only a few blocks past the Opera Bastille. The route also went past the Bibliotheque National de France with its four buildings designed to look like open books and the Pavillon de l'Arsenal with its architectural history museum.

When we were coming back I noticed that there is a stop on the Marais route literally around the corner from the hotel, which of course meant I hadn't needed to walk that far to catch that line which does connect with the other three. I will probably ride some tour bus route at least once more while I'm here, most likely a night route to see the city lit up after dark.

I got back here to the hotel sometime before 6 PM and stretched out for a bit before heading out at 7 to have dinner somewhere before tonight's concert at St Paul at 8:30. I might even have dozed off fairly deeply for a while, since I vaguely remember some dreams which must have been quite vivid at the time. I really wasn't that hungry so I just went to another of the small Asian restaurants in the immediate vicinity and had a good bowl of pho with wantons or some other dumplings. I finished a little while before the concert was to begin, so I stopped in the G20 small grocery/convenience store but didn't find anything I really wanted and went to the Franprix at the far corner instead and got another small watermelon/melon salad and some pretzel sticks for later.

I came back here to drop my purchases off and got across the street to St Paul about 8:20 PM. I was too late to sit closer to the front where I could have watched the performers better but that didn't matter. This was the first time I'd been in the church this trip, and had almost forgotten how wonderfully Barloque it is inside. This was the first time I've heard music there, and the acoustics are incredible although when the singer spoke without a microphone I could barely hear her.

Tonight's ensemble was the Alegria Orchestra ( which tonight consisted of a string quintet, accompanied by a lovely blonde soprano named Urszula Szoja. All I know about what I heard tonight, all of which was beautifully performed, is from the small flier I picked up: Vivaldi's "Four seasons"; Pachelbel's "Canon"; and "Ave Maria & Airs Sacre" composed by Bach, Caccini, Schubert, Bizet, Gounod & Verdi. The soprano introduced each piece before she sang it but from where I was sitting I couldn't hear her well enough when she spoke to discern the names of any of the composers.

It's now 11:45 PM. I had my watermelon/melon snack right after I got to my room. I really want to see if I can get to sleep earlier than I did last night, so I'm not even going to try and figure out where I want to go tomorrow. I think the first thing I need to do is go through the lists I already made by what's in each area and look up each place's opening days and hours but that can wait until after breakfast tomorrow.

Good night.

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