Friday, September 23rd–Paris

A trip to Vaux le Vicomte and Fontainebleau?; back to sleep; breakfast at Breakfast in America; a short nap; a long afternoon walk down to and along the Seine; a Seine-side bagpiper; another pint at the Auld Alliance; another snack run to FranPrix; dinner at the Café des Phares; what else is going on this weekend?

Grand Hotel Malher



I had a change of plans this morning but still had a very pleasant day. When my alarm woke me up at 7:30 AM to give me plenty of time to shower, dress & walk down to the departure point for the trip to Vaux le Vicomte and Fontainebleau I wasn't feeling very well–nothing at all serious, just a mildly stuffy head and a mild sinus headache. I, however, was not feeling at all well rested. It took me about half an hour to decide that I didn't want to be up that early and could probably go back to sleep and that I really didn't want to spend almost three hours today on a tour bus with no facilities. While I was making my mind up I checked Google Maps for the distances–over an hour from Paris to Vaux le Vicomte, at least half an hour from there to Fontainbleau, and then at least an hour from there back to Paris. No matter how beautiful the two stops are, I didn't want to spend that amount of time on a bus.

I went back to bed just around 8 AM and finished watching one of my streaming programs on Netflix. When that was done I rolled over and that was it. The next time I looked at the clock it was after 10:30 so apparently my body decided I really did need more sleep. After I shaved, showered and dressed I went across the street to Breakfast in America and actually had breakfast this time–scrambled eggs with sausages and their very good home fried potatoes. Dad would have approved of them.

On my way out I had let the younger manager (here's a difference between Mom and myself–although I remember meeting his dad who was working here with him when I was here over two years ago I haven't asked the son about his dad. Mom would have no hesitation about doing so, and somehow would make the son very pleased that she had remembered his dad and also asked about him. Me, I can't get past the "None of my business, really" threshold as easily as Mom could) know I was gong out so housekeeping could clean my room while I was gone, and I was pleased to see when I got back they had already done so. I knew I wouldn't be interrupted and still felt like I could probably doze off again if I took another nap and that's what I did. It's now 11:30 PM and I don't feel like the amount of sleep I got earlier today is going to stop me from sleeping well tonight.

I hung out here in my room, reading a bit, watching a streaming program or two, and dozing for a bit until about 4 PM when I went out for a long walk. I went down Rue de Rivoli to Place de la Bastille, then down Boulevard Henri IV with a stop at the very pretty little Square Henri Galli before continuing across the Seine on the Pont de Sully to the tip of Ile Saint Louis. I went into the also very pretty little Square Barye on the very tip of the Ile with its wonderful view down river before continuing across on the other part of the Pont de Sully to the Left Bank.

I didn't go down to the water level but stayed up on the sidewalk by the street and walked all the way down to the Pont Neuf. I stopped along the way to buy another inexpensive Paris shopping bag from one of the bouquinistes for my friend and former supervisor Krystyna who was going to be the backup person looking after my house and collecting my mail while I was gone if my neighbor and primary person went out of town.

While I was walking along the Seine I was pretty sure that I heard, of all things, someone playing bagpipes. Sure enough, when I got to one of the bridges there was indeed a piper. I dropped a couple of Euros into his collection and managed to find a place next to a lamp post a bit out of the traffic at the very busy intersection and listened for a few tunes. I was going to talk to him when he stopped playing but he did so just as the traffic light changed and a whole crowd of people came rushing across the street and by the time I could get through them he had picked up his bagpipe's box and left.

The rest of the walk was along familiar territory by now, down along the Seine to the Pont Neuf, across to the tip of Ile de la Cite by the Square du Vert Galantwhich I didn't go into this time, across the Pont on the other side and on up the street to the Rue de Rivoli and back down towards Saint Paul. I didn't feel like having dinner yet, although it was now after 6 PM by now, so I stopped in at the Auld Alliance for a pint then went to Franprix for some chocolate milk, some mojito mix (which is just as good plain as it is with a shot of rum) and a small bag of pretzel sticks before dropping them off here in my room.

I still wasn't very hungry yet and kind of wandered around for a bit. There's another Scottish pub not far from the hotel in the other direction from the Auld Alliance but I don't always remember where it is and haven't been there yet. I went past it this evening but didn't see any small tables free so continued down to the area near the Place de la Bastille. I enjoyed the Hippopotamus there when I was here last but this trip I haven't been able to find anything on their menu I really wanted. Instead I went to the very nice Café des Phares (they don't seem to have their own Web site) for a very good risotto with ham, and creme brulee.

Tomorrow and Sunday are my last two days here in Paris. I'll be very sorry to leave and could stay several weeks more here and still not go everywhere and see everything I want to but I'll be glad to get home. I miss my house, with my own bedrooms, bathrooms, showers, laundry room and patio. I miss hanging out on my patio with the ducks and squirrels and think it will probably take at least a couple of days before I see any ducks again. I'm sure I'll see some squirrels within minutes of putting food out.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do this weekend. While I was wandering around I saw advertisements for three things going on this weekend which might be interesting and fun. One is the Journee sans voitures, or Day without cars where some streets somewhere will be closed to cars and trucks and only open to roller bladers and skaters from 11 AM to 6 PM. I'm sure I'll probably see that somewhere during the day.

Another is Technoparade. I do like a fair amount of techno and other electronic and ambient music. My French isn't quite adequate to figure out from the Web site if there really is a parade somewhere although I did see a list of stages and various venues. Alex from Georgia was working the reception desk when I came back after dinner and he took a look as well and he couldn't see anything that looked like it had any information about a parade route either so at least it wasn't just my bad French.

The third thing going on this weekend is the Culture au Quai where throughout the weekend various cultural groups and providers will be providing short presentations about themselves, their sites and organizations. This one seems to be happening nowhere in my local area so I'll probably skip it entirely.

Tomorrow I have to pick up my last load of laundry by 7:30 PM. Sunday night I have my last concert at 5 PM at the Eglise des Billettes, about a ten minute walk from here. Then I need to pack everything except what I'll need before I leave Monday morning.

My plans for the rest of the weekend so far only include going back to the Louvre for the Richelieu wing, the last of the three I haven't visited. I also want to go back to the Musee d'Orsay and the Museum of the Legion of Honor next door. If I get moving early enough I might go to all three tomorrow. That would give me time Sunday to go to at least a couple of the places I haven't been to yet and still have time for the concert and dinner somewhere on the way back to the hotel.

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